Michigan State University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D., named former University of Virginia president and MSU alumna Teresa A. Sullivan as interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs while the university embarks on a national search for a permanent candidate.
Sullivan, who retired as the eighth and first female president of the University of Virginia in July 2018, served as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of Michigan from 2006-2010 until she went to UVA. As provost, she oversaw the University of Michigan’s 19 schools and colleges as well as numerous interdisciplinary institutes and centers.
“Terry has a wealth of experience as a provost and previous university president and will help us tremendously as we weather through our changes at Michigan State as well as our search for a new provost,” Stanley said. “Her experience is hard to beat, as is her love and dedication to her alma mater. We are grateful to her for stepping into this role. Her external view point, combined with the understanding of faculty and governance structures, is invaluable.”
Stanley said the university will be selecting members for a search committee and seeking a search firm to hire a new provost. Further announcements on the search will be shared in the coming weeks. Sullivan will begin her interim position on Oct. 1, serving through the end of the academic year.
“I love MSU, and I’m committed to helping where I can,” Sullivan said. “I intend to work with the faculty, staff and students to further the university’s academic and research mission. Supporting the success of the faculty and the students is the most important focus of the provost, and I’ve made it my life’s work and mission to achieve these goals at all universities I’ve had the honor to serve.”
In 2018, Sullivan was selected as adviser to the MSU Board of Trustees and presidential search committee during the process of selecting MSU’s next president. Since she retired as president at UVA, she rejoined the faculty as university professor.
Prior to graduating from the first class of the James Madison College in 1970, Sullivan was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Mortarboard and Tower Guard. She also served as one of the first presidential fellows for President Emeritus Clifton R. Wharton, Jr.
Following her time at MSU, Sullivan received a doctorate from the University of Chicago then joined the faculty at the University of Texas as a sociology instructor. While in Texas, she held a variety of academic and administrative posts including chair of the sociology department, vice provost, vice president and dean of graduate studies, and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs.
A demographer by training, Sullivan is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She received an honorary Doctor of Law degree from MSU in 2014.
Sullivan has been married for 48 years to Douglas Laycock, whom she met when they were both on the MSU Debate Team. A constitutional scholar and 1970 graduate of the MSU College of Communication Arts and Sciences, Laycock is the Robert E. Scott Distinguished Professor of Law at UVA and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He also serves on the MSU College of Law Board of Trustees. They have two adult sons.