Welcoming a president
What does the University have in store for Teresa Sullivanís inauguration?
Although Teresa A. Sullivan has been in office since August, the University community will wait until April 15 to officially inaugurate her as the University's eighth president. The inauguration will include a five-day, community-wide celebration, inviting students, faculty and staff to gather at the Lawn and ground themselves in the founding values of the University while looking forward to the mission foreseen by the institution's newest leader.
A week-long celebration\nIn addition to the actual ceremony, University officials also have planned a week of events in honor of the inauguration.
More than a month before the celebration begins, University students and educators have the opportunity to enter the Pan-University Research Poster Competition, which was designed for faculty, post-doctoral students, graduate students and undergraduate students to "highlight high-impact and innovative growth areas for UVa research," according to the University website. The content will span across seven different academic disciplines.
"The idea was to try and highlight some of the scholarship of the University and showcase its top research projects," said Cheryl Wagner, executive coordinator to the vice president for research.\nSubmissions are due by March 1 and will become part of an online exhibit. Thirty-five finalists - five selected from each of the seven academic categories - will be eligible for one of seven $500 prizes. Their work will be on display throughout the first five days of inauguration celebrations, beginning April 11.
In an effort to improve upon the University's task of teaching, research and public service, officials also have planned an academic symposium on April 14, which aims to engage all members of the community in discussion centered around the theme of "Using Evidence to Improve Teaching and Learning in Higher Education."
Lee S. Shulman, renowned educational researcher and current president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, will begin the symposium as keynote speaker. The intent of this forum, developed by Sullivan, is to bring together students and faculty to present innovative approaches to improving teaching and learning.
Sullivan spoke with Robert Pianta, dean of the Curry School of Education and chair of the Committee on the Inaugural Academic Conference, about ways in which evidence from observations of teaching and assessment of student learning could be used to improve the quality of teaching.
"We hope that this symposium showcases the University's commitment both to teaching and to research and demonstrates our leadership in this area," Pianta said.
About 60 presentations, led by more than 120 faculty members, will cover topics such as teaching with technology, assessment of student learning, using data to improve teaching quality, coursework innovations, teaching about difference and diversity and reaching beyond the walls of the University, among others.
"It is a very rich range of topics and presentations," Pianta said. "We have organized the conference into sessions in which a diverse set of schools and faculty are included in order to maximize the cross-fertilization and sharing of ideas."
Students also were invited to submit proposals on the use of studies in the advancement of higher education, and about a half-dozen presentations will be student-led.
"We plan to build upon the symposium presentations to continue sharing different methods for teaching, and how to improve it," Pianta said. "We expect a number of new ideas and novel approaches to flow from the day and the follow-up."
≠Cavaliers Care, a worldwide service initiative for University alumni, joined Madison House to plan the Day of Service, April 16, to provide a variety of volunteer services in and around Charlottesville, including the College at Wise. Students, faculty, staff, parents and alumni are invited to participate in conjunction with community members.
The last day of inauguration week holds a "unique twist that adds a neat touch," University historian Alexander Gilliam said, There will be a volksmarsch, or "people's march," starting at The Park near the law school, winding around Grounds, into town and elsewhere, including scenic and historic sites. Anyone is welcome to join, and there will be two courses laid out - a 5K and 10K. The 10K participants will traverse through the Academical Village with views of the Rotunda, the Pavilion Gardens, the Serpentine Walls, the historic Chapel, Lambeth Field and Colonnade, the University Art Museum and the Confederate and University cemeteries.
Indeed, Sullivan wants to use the inauguration as an opportunity to celebrate the University, rather than her own personal achievements, University spokesperson Carol Wood said.\n"My hope is that the range of activities will encourage broad participation in the inauguration," Sullivan said. "I know everyone here works hard on behalf of the University. April 15 should be a day on which we celebrate together our daily achievements and our future aspirations."
Most of the funding for the five-day affair will come from local and private sources, including the Board of Trustees, Director of Major Events Pamela Higgins said. The budget has not been finalized, and Higgins said it is unclear how the costs compare to past inaugurations.
"The biggest challenge for us is trying to do this in the middle of the academic year," Higgins said. "It is not like graduation when no one is there when we are trying to setup."
Inaugurations past and present\nPresidential inaugurations have taken place at the University since the office was established in 1904 and first held by Edwin A. Alderman. The first inauguration involved participants in academic regalia and a procession down the Lawn with ceremonies held in Cabell Hall and a dinner in the Rotunda, which then functioned as a library.\n"They had people crammed in on the floor, tables set up on all the balconies. They had a big crowd," Gilliam said.
After Alderman passed away in 1931, Prof. John Lloyd Newcomb became acting president and was inaugurated during graduation weekend in 1934. The University's third president, Colgate W. Darden, Jr., celebrated his inauguration in the fall of 1947. His wife, a musician and music lover, had the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra perform at the ceremony. Darden's successor was Edgar F. Shannon, Jr. His 1959 inauguration, which occurred during the escalation of the Cold War, featured the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra from Budapest, a symphony orchestra that rose from the short-lived 1956 overthrow of communist Hungary. Frank L. Hereford, Jr., followed Shannon in 1974, more than a year after Shannon announced his resignation. Robert M. O'Neil and John T. Casteen III† preceded Sullivan.
Casteen's inauguration occurred in October 1990 in conjunction with the Fall Convocation. Activities included an exhibition in the Special Collections Library and symposia on the future of the University and the kinds of scholarship it supports. Speakers from both outside and within the University came, including Gov. Douglas Wilder. There was a formal dinner in the Rotunda and a larger meal for the entire university in Memorial Gym. Walter Ross composed symphonic music for the occasion that was performed prior to the convocation.
"Inaugurations generally assess the current state of the University and the future imagined by the new president," Casteen said. "The purpose is to locate the University in real time and then to project its development over a decade or so."
Such events permit the president to declare purposes and allegiances while students, faculty, alumni and state officials declare their own commitments.
Following custom, the University hopes to host Gov. Bob McDonnell as the ceremony's principal speaker. John Wynne, rector from the Board of Visitors, will make a short address formally awarding the office of the president to Sullivan, who will then make her own address.
Traditionally, a procession of guests from sister universities is held in the order of their founding. The representatives march down the Lawn in their garnished academic gowns and hoods. At Shannon's inauguration, Oxford, Harvard, William & Mary, Yale and others were represented, Gilliam said.
"They are colorful ceremonies because at the inauguration of any college president, you have official representatives, learned organizations, and sister universities," Gilliam said. Expected guests include representatives from the Library of Congress, the American Philosophical Society, members of Congress and the General Assembly and presidents from other universities.