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Sorensen Institute gets new director

Veteran Virginia political and legal adviser Larry Roberts has been named director of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia, officials announced Tuesday.

Roberts is the institute’s fifth director.

“Larry Roberts brings a long record of broad and principled involvement in the civic, legal and political life of the commonwealth,” said Larry Terry, executive director of the Weldon Cooper Center, of which the institute is a part.

The Sorensen Institute was founded as the Virginia Institute of Political Leadership in 1993 by Leigh Middleditch and Michael Bills, a pair of area business leaders with strong ties to UVa. In 1997, the organization took the name of benefactor Thomas C. Sorensen.

The institute operates five distinct programs for aspiring leaders, from those in high school to those looking to develop and run a political campaign.

Among the 2,200 alumni of Sorensen programs are 27 members of the Virginia General Assembly, the current governor, two former members of Congress, as well as dozens of state and local government leaders and staff who work in public service across Virginia.

In addition to working in government and politics, Roberts was a private practice lawyer for more than two decades, serving as a partner with the Skadden Arps and Davis Wright Tremaine international law firms. He most recently was a partner with Venable LLP.

He was president of the Federal Communications Bar Association and served as a counselor to then-Gov. Tim Kaine and chief of staff for Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax.

Roberts is expected to assume his new responsibilities Monday.


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