Provost Sullivan seeks University of Vermont presidency

He stepped down as senior vice president for academic affairs and provost in February.

by Jill Jensen

Thomas Sullivan, the University of MinnesotaâÄôs outgoing senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, is in the running to become president at the University of Vermont.

Sullivan was named one of five finalists for the presidency earlier this month and will visit Vermont on Wednesday to speak at an open forum and meet with the schoolâÄôs leadership.

The University of Vermont launched its presidential search in April 2011 after former President Daniel Fogel announced his resignation and stepped down in July. The schoolâÄôs Board of Trustees appointed an interim president to serve until July 2012, when the next president will take over.

The school will make a final choice in February or March, according to school spokesman Enrique Corredera.

Sullivan announced he would step down as University of Minnesota provost in February 2011, with plans to return to the Law School.

In a cover letter dated Oct. 25 to the University of Vermont, Sullivan wrote he had âÄúa special interest in the [school].âÄù He noted that his wife and several of her family members are alumni.

He also wrote he was attracted to the University of Vermont because of its âÄústrong focus on being a student-centered small, premier research university.âÄù He said he wants to further the universityâÄôs âÄúimportant uniqueness.âÄù

About 13,500 students are enrolled at the University of Vermont âÄî roughly a quarter the size of the University of MinnesotaâÄôs enrollment. In fall 2011, more than 16,500 were enrolled in the College of Liberal Arts alone.

Executive search firm Issacson, Miller was contracted to assist with the process âÄî the same firm heading the search for the University of MinnesotaâÄôs School of Dentistry dean.

Chris Cramer, who worked closely with Sullivan in his capacity as Senate and Faculty Consultative Committee Chair for two years, said nobody was surprised to learn Sullivan would seek the presidency at the University of Vermont.

âÄúOnce youâÄôve been provost for awhile, thatâÄôs the next step,âÄù he said.

Cramer said Sullivan accomplished many things during his time as provost at the University of Minnesota, like getting the Board of Regents to adopt a statement on academic freedom and the increasing quality of applicants to the University.

Sullivan began as provost in 2004 and previously served as dean of the UniversityâÄôs law school from 1995 to 2002. Karen Hanson will take over as provost Feb. 1.