Board of Visitors, President Ryan Agree on Three-Year Contract Extension

President Ryan sitting on steps on Grounds

Ryan said he is “excited to continue to move forward on the strategic plan and to work alongside some of the most talented leaders and scholars in all of higher education.” (Photo by KK Ottesen)

The University of Virginia Board of Visitors voted unanimously Friday to extend President Jim Ryan’s contract through July 31, 2028, adding three years to his agreement with UVA.

“Jim Ryan has been a strong and focused leader for this community under extraordinary circumstances,” University Rector Whitt Clement said. “We are pleased that he has agreed to this extension and look forward to what the institution will accomplish under his leadership in the coming years.”

Since he was selected by the board as UVA’s ninth president in August 2018, Ryan has made significant progress on a number of important University initiatives. Shortly after he took office, he launched the 2030 Plan, a strategic plan for the University built around making the University both great and good in all of its work. Since the board’s approval, Ryan and his team have made significant progress implementing the plan.

Ryan and his team also kicked off Honor the Future, a $5 billion capital campaign to support the 2030 Plan and the core academic, research and patient care objectives of the institution. To date, the campaign has raised $3.9 billion of its $5 billion goal.

During his tenure, Ryan has recruited executive leaders, including outgoing Provost Liz Magill, Chief Operating Officer J.J. Davis and Dr. Craig Kent, CEO of UVA Health and executive vice president of Health Affairs. Ryan has overseen the hiring of eight school deans and many other University leaders in key positions as well. He and his executive team also instituted the University’s first living wage for all University employees and contractors.

Ryan has overseen the launch of a range of programs at UVA, including the founding of the School of Data Science, an expansion of the University’s presence in Northern Virginia through UVA|NOVA, the Karsh Institute of Democracy, and many others. He and his team advanced a long-term plan for a redeveloped Emmet-Ivy Corridor, which will house the School of Data Science and the Karsh Institute, as well as a new hotel and conference center. He has also made building bridges within the University community and in the Charlottesville/Albemarle region a priority.

Much of this progress was achieved as the University was forced to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic over the past two years. Ryan oversaw a pan-university effort to quickly transition to online learning in the spring of 2020, and then develop the health and educational resources necessary to bring students back successfully in August of 2020. As a result, the University has been able to continue its core mission while keeping students, faculty, staff and community members healthy and safe.

“Even as they guided this University successfully through a global pandemic, Jim Ryan and his team have remained focused on UVA’s core academic, research and patient care missions, on implementing the University’s strategic plan, and on raising the funds necessary to support these important priorities,” Clement said.

A first-generation college student who earned his law degree at UVA and taught as a School of Law faculty member, Ryan, during his presidency, has emphasized access, affordability and value as cornerstones of the modern UVA. First-generation and underrepresented student enrollment have increased significantly during his initial years at the helm. Ryan also introduced important enhancements to the AccessUVA financial aid program.

“I’m grateful to the board for their trust, and I’m excited to continue to move forward on the strategic plan and to work alongside some of the most talented leaders and scholars in all of higher education,” Ryan said. “Thanks to the hard work of so many across Grounds – and the critical support of the board – we’ve made great strides on core priorities even amidst some formidable challenges. There’s more to do, and as we return to more normal operations, I’m optimistic that UVA will emerge stronger than ever and well prepared to serve the commonwealth, our nation and the world.”

As it voted to extend Ryan’s contract, which maintains his current total annual compensation, the Board of Visitors also approved the selection of Ian Baucom, previously dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, to become the University’s next provost, and voted to extend University COO Davis’ contract through July 31, 2028.

Both Davis and Baucom have played central roles in the University’s response to the pandemic. Davis has overseen the ongoing transformation of the University’s financial systems and authorized a major sale of University bonds, seizing an opportunity to fund critical projects at historically low interest rates.

In evaluating these personnel actions, the board sought to ensure continuity and stability in the University’s senior leadership team in light of Magill’s recent departure to serve as president of the University of Pennsylvania. Under Ryan’s leadership, Baucom and Davis serve alongside Kent, who joined the institution in December of 2019 and has guided UVA Health amid the ongoing pandemic.

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