Joel Cunningham announces plans to retire in 2010

Joel Cunningham

Vice Chancellor Joel Cunningham has announced his plans to retire in June 2010.

Cunningham’s administration has been characterized by fiscal discipline and a commitment to strategic planning, which have allowed campus construction and renovation projects that have modernized Sewanee’s learning and living environment. His financial stewardship has helped the University remain fiscally sound despite the current worldwide economic crisis.

During Cunningham’s tenure, Sewanee has enjoyed record applications to the College, growth in the influence and reach of the School of Theology, and increasing recognition as a leading national liberal arts university. Under his leadership, The Sewanee Call fundraising campaign came to a record-breaking conclusion last June with over $205.7 million in gifts and commitments. The campaign was marked by increased resources for scholarships, extensive facility construction, and the addition of 3,000 acres in Lost Cove to the University’s landholdings.

“Joel Cunningham has served with great distinction as Sewanee’s 15th Vice Chancellor,” said the Rt. Rev. Henry N. Parsley, Jr., Bishop of Alabama and Chancellor of the University. “We are deeply thankful for the extraordinary gifts and leadership of Joel and his wife Trudy, and we look forward to their remaining in Sewanee and continuing to teach in the College.”

Cunningham’s announcement now of his retirement next year will allow an orderly transition of leadership for the University. A nationwide search will be conducted for a new Vice Chancellor under the direction of a Search Committee chaired by Joel A. Smith, C’67, Bishop Parsley said. Members of the Search Committee will be named soon.

A few Sewanee highlights, 2000-2009:

  • A record of financial stewardship that has allowed Sewanee to weather the current economic crisis, including hiring new faculty members
  • Commitment to the discipline of strategic planning has poised Sewanee to launch new initiatives, particularly regarding environmental education and sustainability
  • Completion of The Sewanee Call provided resources for scholarships, extensive facility construction, the 3,000-acre Lost Cove acquisition, faculty compensation, and academic enrichment
  • Significant facilities renovated or built to enhance teaching and modernize campus life include Spencer Hall (science), Gailor Hall (language and literature), Humphreys Hall and St. Luke’s Hall (residence halls), the Kyle Rote Jr. Field House (soccer and lacrosse), the Equestrian Center and Howell Riding Facility, Nabit Art Building, and the McGriff Alumni House
  • Applications to the College of Arts and Sciences have increased by over a third in the past several years, allowing judicious enrollment growth
  • The School of Theology is a recognized leader in seminary education, serving the broad whole of the Church
  • In 2007-08, the University celebrated the 150th anniversary of its founding

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