University makes it official
Tom Sullivan installed as 26th UVM president
Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 22:10
The band was playing, the choir was singing and flowers lined the stage.
President E. Thomas Sullivan stood in the midst of it all with flowing black robes, an 84-year-old mace and a fist-sized silver medallion engraved with the University seal.
So was the spectacle of Sullivan’s official installation ceremony at a fully packed Ira Allen Chapel, Oct. 5.
The afternoon’s speakers paid homage to Sullivan’s past accomplishments and said they were enthusiastic for the future of UVM under his direction.
“I’ve now seen him in action and he’s better than advertised,” Board of Trustees Chair Robert Cioffi said.
In his address, Sullivan called on members of the University community to further improve the quality and standing of UVM.
“Together, we can all raise our expectations and aspirations to create an academic experience of the highest quality,” Sullivan said.
His address to the crowd highlighted the four primary pathways that will guide his administration, all of which, he said, have to do with investing in people: affordability, priorities, facilities and the community.
Central to these priorities is the hope that the UVM experience will inspire students into a lifetime of achievement and contribution, Sullivan said.
“A large part of our responsibility is to encourage students to stretch their imaginations and push their curiosity beyond how things are to raise expectations and aspirations, and to dream the big dream,” he said.
Sullivan’s speech was occasionally interrupted by periods of applause, and attendees gave an extended standing ovation at the conclusion of his address.
Sen. Bernie Sanders said Sullivan understands that education is a prerequisite for tackling the challenges of the state and nation.
“We need every faculty member to do the important work to make sure that the graduates of this school are prepared to critically think about the issues facing our great and troubled democracy,” Sanders said.
Also showing support for Sullivan was Gov. Peter Shumlin.
“What President Sullivan understands is that there are firm and tough things that we need to do to make UVM even better,” Shumlin said. “And he does it with tremendous grace.”
Former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale said that Sullivan’s achievements at the University of Minnesota have proven that he has what it takes to lead UVM to prosperity.
“He had a vision and he had the confidence of the entire campus,” he said. “And everyone believes that the results were transformative.”
Speaking to reporters at the Marriot Courtyard Hotel, Mondale, a longtime friend of Sullivan’s, opened up about his personal qualities.
“He’s a very bright, very nice human being,” Mondale said. “I’m sure UVM will be very happy with Tom.”