Ryan to succeed Sullivan as UVA President


The dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, James E. Ryan, is expected to be the next president of the University, as first The Daily Progress Friday morning.

Ryan, dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, will succeed UVA President Teresa Sullivan, who announced in January that she meant to retire. He was the School of Law's academic associate dean from 2005-2009 and founded and directed the school's Program in Law and Public Service.

Ryan grew up in Midland Park, N.J. He is married to Katie Homer Ryan, also a U.Va. Law graduate, who is a staff attorney for the Education Law Clinic and Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative at Harvard Law School and an adjunct lecturer in education.

Sullivan announced in January her intention to retire as president, and requested the Board of Visitors at that time to begin the search process. But he also said it would be "foolish and disrespectful" to spell out priorities without seeking input from the entire university community.

Ryan, 50, is no stranger to UVa. After graduating from law school, Jim clerked for United States Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and worked as a public interest lawyer before returning to Charlottesville to join the Virginia faculty.

Another former student, Hayward Majors, co-founder of University Bridge, an global pathways program in Charlottesville and California, said he was in awe of Ryan's legal knowledge when he was in the School of Law in the '90s.

Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust said UVA was fortunate to have Ryan rejoining its community, this time as a leader for the third century. She will remain at UVA as a professor.

Some say they are looking forward to a change in leadership. He wrote "Five Miles Away, A World Apart", a book that examines how law has shaped educational opportunities, using two Richmond-area schools to illustrate the story. "I think they're trying to face up to it and reconcile that part of the history that hasn't previously been addressed". With today's announcement, the work of this search committee is now concluded.

Elizabeth Magill went to law school with Ryan, and is now dean of the Stanford Law School.

Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer took one of Ryan's classes, on schools, race and money, when he was in law school.

In addition to working on education law and policy, Ryan has taught and written about constitutional law, local government law and U.S. Supreme Court litigation. "I'm delighted that he will be representing UVA and leading this great university to even bigger and better things for the future". The Ryans have four children: Will, age 20; Sam, 18; Ben, 16; and Phebe, 11. He is also speedy - completing the Boston Marathon in under three hours as he "runs for teachers" each year.