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President Sullivan to hold town hall meeting on March 7 at UVa-Wise

Teresa Sullivan, President of the University of Virginia, will hold a town hall meeting on March 7 in the UVa-Wise Convocation Center at 1 p.m. to discuss the search for a chancellor for the University’s only branch college.

President Sullivan also will discuss the leadership of UVa-Wise until a new chancellor is in place. Chancellor David J. Prior passed away suddenly last month. He held the position for nearly seven years.

The public is invited to attend the town hall meeting.

“I write to express my deep appreciation to the University’s College at Wise faculty, staff, and students who have responded with compassion and commitment following David Prior’s unexpected death,” President Sullivan writes in a letter to the campus community. “You have shown strong personal support for David’s family and for each other, as well as extraordinary commitment to the College during these difficult days. Those of us in Charlottesville share in your grief and dismay, as we continue to struggle with the sudden loss of such a respected and cherished leader.”

President Sullivan said the University’s Board of Visitors approved a resolution recognizing Chancellor Prior’s lasting contributions to UVa-Wise. During the same meeting, the Board approved designs for the new library and the new health and wellness center at Wise. These buildings will further enliven and enrich the student experience at the College, and will stand as legacies of Chancellor Prior’s leadership, Sullivan writes in the letter.

“As difficult as it may be for us to see past our sorrow over David’s death, we must move forward with the search for a new chancellor,” she writes. “Finding a capable successor for an exemplary leader like David will be a tall task. David transformed the position and expanded its sphere of influence in Southwest Virginia and across the Commonwealth, and we know that it will be important for us to find the right person to succeed him.”

President Sullivan has appointed College at Wise Board Chair Marcia Gilliam to head a search committee. The campus community is invited to submit nominations, including self-nominations, for membership on the committee. Faculty, staff, and student representatives, as well as representatives from the alumni, parents, and community will be tapped to serve. Nominations may by submitted by Friday, March 16, to Marcia Gilliam at chancellorsearch@uvawise.edu. President Sullivan will review Gilliam's recommendations for the search committee.

“This will be a national search, and the committee will be assisted by a professional search firm,” Sullivan writes. “Once the search committee begins its work, they will also welcome your nominations of candidates for chancellor, who may come either from within the College community or elsewhere. We will launch the search as quickly as practical so as to secure a new chancellor as soon as we can.” 

President Sullivan concluded the letter by expressing gratitude to the campus for its resilience and compassion it has shown in trying days.

“As we continue to grieve the loss of David Prior, we open our hearts to David’s wife, Merry Lu, and their children, Andrea and Christopher, and their families,” President Sullivan writes.