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UVa Provost Magill leaving to lead University of Pennsylvania

University of Virginia Provost Liz Magill will leave the university to take the reins of the University of Pennsylvania as that school’s president, officials announced Thursday.

Magill has served as UVA’s chief academic officer and executive vice president and since August 2019, the first woman to hold the position. She was on the UVa School of Law faculty for 15 years, including a stint as vice dean, before serving as the dean of Stanford University Law School.

She will take over the job at Penn on July 1.

“I am tremendously excited and humbled to help write the next chapter at the University of Pennsylvania,” Magill said in a statement. “At the same time, I am grateful for my time at UVa, a place and community that have truly changed my life.”

UVa President Jim Ryan on Thursday named Ian Baucom, the dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences as Magill’s successor. Baucom has served as dean since 2014.

David Hill, a psychology professor and former department chair and associate dean, will serve as interim dean of the arts and sciences college.

As provost, Magill’s job was to advance UVa’s academics and research efforts as well as strengthen ties to the Charlottesville area community. She also led UVa’s scholastic response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including 2020’s quick pivot to virtual classes, something which until the virus struck only existed in a handful of courses.

UVa moved an estimated 4,000 classes from in-person to remote and officials credited Magill for helping keep UVa’s extensive research effort on track while balancing the needs of the university and community.

“Her wise and decisive actions have ensured the safe continuation of UVa’s teaching and research mission and she has been an incredible partner to me, to our faculty and deans, and to the university’s leadership team,” said Ryan, who served with Magill on the law school faculty.

“Liz is incredibly smart but also a very good listener,” said Dr. Mitch Rosner, chair of the department of medicine. “She can very quickly assess these complicated challenges and has a true ability to ask just the right questions to help bring clarity to an oftentimes confusing situation. We’ve been very lucky to have her on our team and our side during this ongoing pandemic.”

Magill said the pandemic forced often insular departments at the school to leave silos and join ranks.

“This pandemic has changed almost everything about running a university, but not all of those changes have been negative,” Magill said. “The pandemic forced us to strengthen the muscle of collaboration as we made dozens of sweeping decisions that schools and university units would have never made together otherwise.”

Magill said her experiences as a faculty member and provost will influence her decisions as Penn president. At the same time, she said she’ll miss the community and the school that she leaves behind, a place she and her family feel at home.

“I’ll miss Bodo’s, for sure, the egg bagel on sesame with cheddar, in particular. I will miss the beauty of Grounds, the Rotunda and the Pratt Ginkgo. I love the Pratt Ginkgo,” she said. “But the thing I’ll miss most is the people, the talented and dedicated and selfless people I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work.”

Ryan said the university will also miss Magill.

“Although she’ll be greatly missed here on Grounds, it’s heartening that she will bring her considerable talents to Penn, which I know will flourish under her leadership,” Ryan said. “I’m deeply grateful for Liz’s service and her friendship. I know she’ll always be a Hoo at heart.”


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