Vice-Chancellor John McCardell announced today the appointment of Terry Papillon, director of the University Honors Program at Virginia Tech, as dean of the college effective July 1, 2014, at the conclusion of Dean John Gatta’s service this summer. Gatta announced in November his decision to step down on June 30 after seven years as dean of the college.
“I am delighted by the prospect of welcoming Terry Papillon to Sewanee,” said McCardell. “Terry’s numerous strengths are a perfect match for the University of the South at this moment in our history. We have a clear strategic direction and are moving forward vigorously toward our goals. Terry’s experience and, as important, his understanding of the life-changing effect of a liberal arts education will serve Sewanee well as we embrace the challenges of the future.”
Terry Papillon is assistant vice provost at Virginia Tech and the director of the University Honors Program, as well as professor of Classics. He has a B.A. in Classics from St. Olaf College. He has a Ph.D. in Classical Philology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and taught in North Carolina, Minnesota, and Wisconsin before joining the faculty at Virginia Tech in the Department of Foreign Languages & Literatures.
Papillon teaches ancient Greek, Latin, classical civilization, mythology, and rhetoric, and regularly leads study abroad programs. He has received the Diggs Teaching Scholar Award (given for dedication to innovative and creative teaching), the Sporn Award for excellence in teaching introductory subjects, and—just this spring—the Provost's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising.
“Having been educated at a small liberal arts college, I know of its transformative power,” said Papillon. “St. Olaf literally changed my life, since I started as a math major, did about half of a music major, and ended up being a classicist. It transformed how I thought about who I wanted to be and where I wanted to go, and compelled me to think seriously about what I valued. I want to help other students experience that transformative power, the sort that Sewanee offers.”
Papillon became director of the University Honors Program in 2008. He has led a program that provides honors students with enhanced access to faculty mentoring and the tools needed to achieve a top-rated education. He also fostered involvement in other related opportunities, including undergraduate research, international travel, cultural opportunities, community service projects, and international scholarship competitions. He introduced a First Year Excellence Seminar as a first-year experience for honors students.
Papillon’s research specialty is Greek rhetoric, particularly the Greek rhetorician Isocrates. He is the author of two books and numerous articles and book chapters. He is also editor of the online Classics journal Electronic Antiquity.
Provost John Swallow chaired the search committee that advised McCardell on the appointment of the new dean. “Terry Papillon will bring Sewanee a remarkably complete vision of how undergraduates can learn and develop through their four years at Sewanee,” Swallow said. “The committee showed extraordinary commitment to the college's future, and expressed great excitement about the ways in which Terry could lead the college.”