Robert H. Atwell Plenary Session

UVA President Teresa Sullivan to Keynote ACE2017 Atwell Plenary

Teresa A. Sullivan, president of the University of Virginia (UVA), will keynote the Robert H. Atwell Plenary at ACE2017, titled “When the Middle Ground is the High Ground: Free Speech and the University”.

Sullivan will deliver the Atwell address, named by the ACE Board of Directors for the former ACE president who served from 1984 to 1996, on Sunday, March 12, from 5-6 pm. A sociologist and nationally recognized higher education leader, Sullivan became UVA’s first female president when she took office in August 2010.

Since taking office, Sullivan has steered UVA through a period of significant progress. With her leadership team, Sullivan has prepared the university to tackle the serious challenges in higher education related to cost-containment, affordability, student-debt reduction, faculty compensation and the emergence of online education.

In spring 2013, President Sullivan led UVA to completion of its $3-billion capital campaign, and quickly announced plans to raise financial support for three strategic priorities: retaining and recruiting top faculty; restoring the university’s Jeffersonian Grounds; and providing scholarships to students in need. She is now leading preparations for the celebration of UVA’s bicentennial beginning in October 2017, and as part of this effort has launched the President’s Commission on Slavery and the University to explore and report on UVA’s historical relationship with slavery.

Also a respected scholar in labor force demography, Sullivan’s most recent research has focused on measuring productivity in higher education.

Last year’s Atwell address was delivered by Brice W. Harris, then chancellor of the California Community Colleges, who discussed higher education access and accountability.

The Atwell Plenary focuses on the theme of higher education leadership, generously sponsored by Fidelity Investments. Other ACE2017 plenaries will examine themes surrounding equity and social justice; innovation; and leadership in a changing world. ACE2017 sessions also will explore a variety of important higher education issues, such as advocacy and public policy, higher education governance and student access, success and learning.

ACE2017 is the most country’s distinguished higher education event, convening nearly 2,000 leaders from deans to presidents and chancellors.

It will enable institutional leaders to generate fresh perspectives for practical solutions, network with top leaders across all higher education sectors, and bring data-driven insights back to campus. This spring will be a particularly valuable time to be in Washington for an informed look at the future of higher education, shortly after a new president is sworn into office and a new Congress convenes.

Watch Teresa Sullivan’s keynote speech at the Atwell plenary session.