University of Vermont

Vermont Quarterly

President's Perspective

UVM President Tom Sullivan
photograph by Sally McCay


I am delighted to join the University of Vermont as your next president. I want to extend my appreciation to former President Dan Fogel for his visionary leadership over nearly a decade, and to interim President John Bramley for his exceptional stewardship of the University during the last year. Because of the vision of these two individuals and their loyalty to UVM, the University that I join is very strong and positioned positively for great advances at the present and in the future. 

I also want to extend my deep appreciation to Robert Cioffi ’90, chair of the Board of Trustees and chair of the Presidential Search Committee, for his dedicated leadership to the University throughout his many years of service, and especially during the presidential search and the transition period. Chair Cioffi and the entire Board of Trustees, as well as the Presidential Search Committee, have contributed an enormous amount of their time and dedication to the University. 

As I noted in my introductory remarks during the announcement of my selection at a campus gathering on February 22, I am very excited both personally and professionally about this tremendous opportunity to join the University of Vermont community. My wife, Leslie, an alumna of the Class of 1977, joins me in that enthusiasm as well. I noted on that occasion that the University is at a very important juncture in its history, and that it has enormous potential for advancing its culture of excellence. Its foundation is strong and its aspirations and expectations are high. I look forward to all of the opportunities to work closely with faculty, staff, students, and alumni, as we, together, move forward in maintaining and enhancing an outstanding University.

My own goals for the University, I believe shared by many, are: to increase the quality and experience in the teaching and learning environment of the University that will advance each student’s total academic, cultural, and social experience; to expand important breakthrough research, and scholarly and creative accomplishments of the faculty; and to continue to engage and promote the civic life and outreach throughout Vermont and beyond.

I am confident that through a strong partnership with the political leadership of the state, all the citizens of Vermont and the generations of Vermonters to come will benefit by the accomplishments of those within our University of Vermont community.

As your new president, I will champion at every opportunity the principles and values that underlie the rich history of this unique land grant, public research university. Our priorities will be:

1) to promote financial access and affordability for our students by ensuring that our tuition remains reasonable and competitive, while being mindful of any debt that our students may incur as they complete their studies within four years;

2) to ensure that the University has a rich curriculum that balances a first-rate educational experience for all of our students from the theoretical to the practical application of new discoveries and ideas;

3) to support a research infrastructure and facilities that will enable our great faculty and researchers to discover and transmit new knowledge for the betterment of society and resolution of difficult societal problems; and finally,

4) to promote economic development and to support workforce needs throughout Vermont, working closely with political and business leaders to ensure that  the University of Vermont is the economic engine of the state. We also will embrace the internationalization and diversification of the University, while at the same time encouraging administrative efficiencies in every task, so that the resources of the University will be aligned closely with UVM’s highest priorities and goals. No university or institution can advance excellence unless it continues to make wise and important investments that are strategically consistent with its mission and goals. Cost-cutting alone will not bring innovation, creativity, and imagination. There must be important new investments that will take us to an even greater level and intensity in promoting innovation, research, and excellence in teaching and learning. The result will be a greater academic distinctiveness and reputation.

In closing, let me extend my appreciation to all members of the UVM community for this marvelous opportunity to join you as your twenty-sixth president and colleague. We are excited to move to Vermont and to share with each of you our vision and enthusiasm for the very bright future ahead for the University of Vermont.

Tom Sullivan


Contact UVM © 2019 The University of Vermont - Burlington, VT 05405 - (802) 656-3131