The call summoning Teresa Sullivan arrives at 3:30 p.m. June 18, as she lingers on the edge of the Lawn at the University of Virginia, thousands of supporters massed between her and the Rotunda, the Washington Post reports. Inside, the university’s board awaits her farewell address.
Her husband and elder son trailing, the outgoing U-Va. president wades through the hordes on the sloping green, her steps slowed by outstretched hands.
“U-V-A! U-V-A!” they chant, the din so thunderous Sullivan can barely make out the shouted greetings.
Stay strong, they tell her. Fight back. We’re behind you. The noise bleeds through the Rotunda walls and into the chamber of the Board of Visitors, where the woman engineering Sullivan’s ouster, Rector Helen Dragas, presides at a crowded oval table. Sullivan is fortified by the outpouring. Yet she believes, as she takes a seat opposite Dragas, that her tenure is over. Now is the moment to answer detractors and proclaim what she stands for. Now is the moment to say farewell. What Teresa Sullivan fails to understand at that moment is that her revival as U-Va.’s leader has begun…