Letter from Carl Zeithaml upon his election as interim president
As you probably know, yesterday I was asked by the Board of Visitors to serve as Interim President of the University, effective August 16. I accepted this daunting responsibility because, at this time of turmoil and uncertainty, we need all members of the UVA community to step forward and ensure that the mission of our great University is fulfilled. When it became clear to me that the decision which created this situation would not be reversed, I agreed to join with many colleagues across the University who recognize that we need to reestablish a clear and positive momentum. We cannot, even for a moment, abandon our immediate and exceptional commitment to our students, our patients, learning and knowledge creation, community and professional service, and, very simply, to each other. We may not agree with the recent decision involving President Sullivan or the process, but, rather than walk away, it is up to us, faculty, staff, students, and alumni, to continue to forge UVA as a preeminent global university. Everyone, from Mr. Jefferson to our entering students, should expect no less.
Some people disagree with my decision to serve in this role, and I understand their reasons. After profound deliberation, however, I felt that I had no choice. I am sorry if you disagree with my decision, but please join me in my efforts to move the University forward. I intend to rely on the same formula for success that we use in the McIntire School: a shared understanding and commitment to an ambitious strategy, an unselfish and dedicated community, and a phenomenal team effort. I will need each of you to help me in this new role, and the School will need you. I hope you will understand my reasons for making this very difficult decision.
Because I am temporarily leaving the job that I truly love, I have asked Senior Associate Dean Rick Netemeyer to serve as the Interim Dean of the McIntire School until I return. He agreed with his usual thoughtful and humble dedication to the School. Rick is an extraordinary scholar, teacher, and academic leader, and I know he will work closely with the rest of our terrific leadership team to continue our tradition of excellence, innovation, and community. As always, it will be an exciting and challenging year, and please provide Rick and the rest of our School leaders with the extraordinary and generous support that I enjoyed for the past 15 years.
I look forward to seeing you in my travels and on Grounds, to your essential engagement in the School and University, and to your overall great support. The McIntire School has a strong foundation built on its people, and I know that we will excel through this time. Thank you very much for everything, and I hope to see you soon.
–June 20, 2012