Casteen to retire

cover_largeLast summer, the Hook examined the secret of UVA President John Casteen longevity, but today Casteen announced his retirement.

UVA President John Casteen today announced his retirement from the university he's headed since 1990. At a meeting of the Board of Visitors, Casteen announced his plans to step down on August 1, 2010.

"These years have been all but magical for my family and me," Casteen said in an official release. "We have had the pleasure of living and working among students, staff members, faculty members, alumni, other backers of the University, and the women and men of a community that we see as America's best. These have been years of working with legislators, board members, and others who care about the roles of universities in promoting and sustaining the common good, and of imagining with them how to cultivate a University capable of making Virginia's and the Republic's future worthy of their past."

Rarely smiling and attired in an orange tie in the Dome Room of the Rotunda, Casteen received a standing ovation from the Board of Visitors and those gathered there for the announcement.

During his tenure, Casteen has increased the university's endowment and its diversity, and he cites AccessUVA, the financial aid program that assures low-income students the means to attend the university without having to take out loans, as one of the accomplishments of which he's most proud.

Presidents of the top 50 schools hold their jobs on average six years. Casteen, 65, has spent most of his adult life at the University of Virginia, starting with his enrollment there in 1961 as a 17-year old.

casteen-press2Casteen talks to the press after his announcement, and says he has no regrets about the amount of time he spent fundraising.

"John Casteen will be remembered as the person who understood Jefferson's vision of this place and catapulted it into the 21st century. He will leave an indelible mark and will be remembered as the father of our modern University," said University Rector W. Heywood Fralin.

Fralin said that a "community-wide commemorative celebration" is being planned for Casteen to recognize his accomplishments. Fralin also said that Casteen will serve as a consultant for a year for the new president, and then return as a faculty member after a sabbatical leave once he steps down next August, when he becomes president emeritus. Fralin says the search for a new president will begin in late July.

Updated 5:05pm

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Casteen will be remembered by the public as the most aggressive fund raiser in UVA history. Ironic that 1.2 billion has gone up in smoke.

IMHO..... that's kinda unusual, Enrique. I dealt with him on a business matter not long ago, and it was just as if I was talking with my next door neighbor or a sailing buddy. He never for one second displayed any sort of "holier than thou" attitude with me.

Megan, don't believe the rumors you will now hear. If he was being asked to leave, his retirement would take place much sooner than August of 2010.

Ding dong the witch is dead!!! Hope Ed Howell is next!

To the UVA Alumnus: LGBT issues are in the Cav Daily on a regular basis. The focus of the Women's Center is LGBT. NOW and all the other feminist organizations on base are gay oriented.

Maybe, just maybe, if y'all cared about your "straight" sisters, your movement would go forward. You have alienated everyone because you want them to think that your orientation is the most important issue on campus. It is not. Ms Kaplan does not focus her efforts on sexual assault or the campus would be free of assault - sexual and hate crime related. Sitting and whining, having dessert parties and movie nights, does not make a movement work. As a matter of fact, the sexual assault policy at UVA has not been changed since 2005 - and it took a dedicated news reporter, a Mom and 2 brave rape survivors to make THAT happen.

So, if you want change, you have to look at the big picture. The focus of the article was Casteen and people wrote about HIM. You wrote about YOU. There is your problem. your issue is bigger than you. Campus rape is bigger than me. And unfortunately, Casteen is made of teflon and the issues never stick to him.

Want to make UVA a progressive place? Retire the current administration - specifically Casteen, Lampkin, Sandridge, and Gibson -- and you might be able to get a fresh and honest approach to the business of education.

Jeez, Susan R, lay off the LGBT community, will ya? build some bridges for crying out loud.

Rape is a felony crime that occurs on Casteen's campus. That's not whining, that's a fact.
What have you done to support sexual assault awareness? just make smart ass comments?

Would love to see The University return to the good all days of education first for it's president and fund raising a distant second.
Ayers would certainly be a good choice.

" Rarely smiling " I think you caught the back story to this announcement--heard he didn't chose this moment but it was chosen for him.

I bet that Ed Ayers will be one of the top contenders to replace Casteen. However, being affiliated with Richmond I sure hope that he stays. In the couple years that he has been at Richmond, he has already done a remarkable job of raising the prestige of the school, fundraising, and interacting with the students. Dr. Ayers is truly a phenomanal person.

Academic budget shrinks for the first time

Heaven help us if they forced out Casteen because he wasn't raising enough money --whose next Bernie Madoff

I have zero respect for a man who couldn't care less about his students, especially those that were victims of campus crime during his reign. He might be remembered as a saavy fundraiser, but I will remember him as a cold, uncaring president when my daughter was raped on campus. He covered up the university mishandling of the investigation, lied to the Dept of Education during their review of campus policies, and mislead the media with his well crafted press releases. (

Under Casteen's leadership the Honor System suffered and softened.

The City of Charlottesville and the students will be better off with this man gone. UVA can get back to the business of Education.

in my two short interactions with the guy, i found him incredibly smug. Im sure his is also talented and its clear he did many, many good things at UVa, but he came off as condescending to those who were not his bosses or his fundraising targets.

Dear Sick of the Local Rambos, the clue to the reason he acted like your buddy is probably because you were discussing business. Why don't you ask him about the rising rape statistics on his campus and see how his demeanor turns. he has ignored every communication and refused to address the problem. being a University President means you have to deal with and resolve every campus issue, not just the ones that involve money deals.

But then, most of the perps on campus have rich daddies and a small donation buys their way out of a jam. Just ask the dad of the kid who raped my daughter - he raped 2 undergraduate girls; his dad must have deep donation pockets.

"Behind every great fortune, there is a crime"

wah, wah, wah.

i have no issues if benefits are extended to same sex partners and legally adopted children. that really is a financial decision; the co i work for has offered that since the early 90s.

sexual orientation otherwise should play no role; i have no interest in you proclaiming you orientation at work, regardless of what it is.

That was really mean of someone else to muscle in on your whinefest Susan R. You got there first after all!

Despite what one commentator stated in your article,
based on the measure of civil society that Thomas Jefferson provides in his First Inaugural Address, it is not true that the University has "catapulted into the 21st century". Such an impressive claim is not substantiated when considering the Founder's own measurement that a "minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression": along with other poorly treated communities, lgbt (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) are especially poorly treated at the University.

Based on widely accepted standards of academic excellence, through much of the world and among the University's peer institutions, failure to respect the issues and contributions of lgbt, denies the ability of the University to make such grand claims.

For example:

The University Police has suspended investigation of a anti-gay aggravated assault of a University student and a community member in April, despite a nationwide rise in hate crimes, with anti-gay assaults at the leading edge of this rise. A detailed analysis of the University’s response to a hate crime just several years ago shows a stark difference: in response to a hate crime against a University student in 2003, thousands of dollars of reward monies were offered, the FBI was involved in the investigation, and the Board of Visitors became powerfully engaged.

The Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service publicizes its extensive staff of experts in public policy, demographics, politics, workforce and other issues, but a search of its website under the terms ââ?¬Ë?gay’, ââ?¬Ë?lesbian’ and ââ?¬Ë?transgender’ produce not one single report, study, article, or item. How can this be, when considering the contemporary importance of social, political and economic discussions of same-sex marriage, diversity and discrimination, and human rights. In contemporary society, having nothing to say about lgbt populations and issues is similar to saying that the world is flat. When concerned members of the University community offered to provide a bibliography of research reports, demographic studies, policy analyses, and other resources describing lgbt in the US and in the Virginia the Center declined interest. But when we found hundreds of pages of links to homophobic, transphobic and other pornography at the Center’s website, and reported this problem to the Center, they did remove those hateful and harmful pages. For a while lgbt existed as pornography, but we still do not exist as real people, real families, and real communities. And, the world is still flat for some people.

Many studies, including studies regarding lgbt Virginians, report that gay and lesbian respondents suffer many forms of discrimination in society, in education, in health care, and in the workplace. LGBT suffer significant and harmful wage inequities and benefit inequities when compared to heterosexuals in the workplace, for no other purpose than to sustain bias and discrimination rooted in prejudice and stigma. This is certainly true at the University: e.g. gay and lesbian employees with a partner and/or children in the household do not receive the same benefits as married employees, which causes significant risk and harm to employees, to partners, and to children. Furthermore lgbt employees are disrespectfully disallowed by the University’s Integrated System database to acknowledge their sexual orientation or transgender status, and have no respectful way to acknowledge a same-sex union, partnership or marriage.

When asked to have a conversation about lgbt and other diversity issues at the University, the employee council system has been unresponsive, including officially declining to receive data, information, or reports, or to welcome presentations volunteered by concerned members of the University community.

With regard to lgbt diversity, the University might be living in the 20th century, and is certainly not living in the 21st. We must acknowledge that this is not entirely within the control of the University, and is a problem of Virginia as a whole. For example, the state's homophobic Constitutional Amendment codifies ignorant and harmful bias, stigma and discrimination. And, neither the General Assembly, nor Executive branch, have undertaken an impact assessment of the Amendment to discover how it has affected lgbt in Virginia, or the Commonwealth as a whole. Anecdotally, lgbt individuals and families in Virginia are much worse off than before the Amendment, even as an increasing number of US states and countries are welcoming their lgbt residents and citizens to equal respect, equal standing, and equal rights and responsibilities. Beyond anecdotes, Data exist to prove this point: a recent study by economists at Emory University report that in states with these Constitutional Amendments, a rise in incidence of HIV infections (4 per 100, 000 population) may be associates with having such an amendment.

But, we don't need scientific studies to tell us that bias, stigma, discrimination and hate are deadly? Didn't you already know that?