UVM President Tom Sullivan to Step Down Next Summer | Off Message

UVM President Tom Sullivan to Step Down Next Summer


  • File: Oliver Parini
  • Tom Sullivan
University of Vermont president Tom Sullivan announced Monday that he will step down next summer after seven years in the top job at the Burlington campus.

Sullivan will take time off to write a book, and then will return to UVM as a full-time faculty member. The president, who earned $438,000 last year, is 69.

With fundraising efforts going better than anticipated, Sullivan decided he was ready to leave the president's office in the Waterman building, he said in a press release and a letter to his colleagues. He wrote:

When the Board of Trustees extended an offer to serve as UVM’s president in February 2012, I was asked the length of time I could envision for this presidency. I knew the University was planning a major comprehensive fundraising campaign and the Board wanted its next president to lead a successful campaign. Now with the University’s comprehensive campaign crossing over its campaign goal of $500 million, one year ahead of schedule, UVM is poised for its next era of reaching even greater academic expectations and aspirations. The time is right!
The search for Sullivan's replacement will begin immediately with the goal of hiring a new president by March, Board of Trustees chair David Daigle said in a press release Monday.

Daigle thanked Sullivan for "selfless service."

"Tom has led with a passion for students and higher education, with reasoned and thoughtful decision-making, and with unwavering integrity," Daigle said in the press release. "Our university is unequivocally stronger as a result of his efforts and accomplishments."

During Sullivan's tenure, UVM made huge investments in buildings and programs for science, technology, engineering and math. UVM also pushed to recruit more international students, to reduce the demographic challenge of a dwindling number of college-age students in the Northeast.

This past school year was perhaps the most challenging of Sullivan's service, as he faced a wave of anti-racism protests. A staffer went on a hunger strike and student demonstrators flooded the president's office as well as portions of Burlington's Main Street. Demands included revamping campus diversity classes and recruiting more faculty of color.