By Anna Mann
Vice-Chancellor John McCardell announced on August 27 at the Launching of the New Year event that he will step down from his position in July 2020. In a subsequent email to the school, he stated that Chancellor Rev. Robert Skirving (H’15), Bishop of the Diocese of East Carolina, received the job of appointing a search committee for the 17th Vice Chancellor. According to Skirving, the committee does not yet know when the new Vice-Chancellor will be announced.
Additionally, the McCardells will not leave permanently, however, as the Vice-Chancellor stated that he would be returning to the University to teach history part-time.
Skirving praised McCardell, saying “[he] is an incredibly articulate speaker, and I enjoy listening to him speak about the life of this University and about American history in general. He clearly loves Sewanee and its people, and has a passion for the University’s future in an ever-changing and more challenging world.”
As to the transition itself, McCardell explained that he would devote the remainder of his time as Vice-Chancellor to securing the future of Sewanee for his successor.
According to an email from McCardell, the decision will ultimately fall to the Board of Trustees. Skirving stated that the chair of the search committee will be Chair of the Board of Regents Joe DeLozier III (C’77, P’16). Senior Vice President of the Board of Regents Margaret McLarty (P’05, P’09) will serve as the vice chair.
According to Skirving, the first meeting will take place “sometime soon,” after they announce the official members of the committee. The committee looks forward to hearing from the greater Sewanee community as they begin the interview process shortly.
“We expect that the committee membership will include diversity of gender, age, race and other factors,” reported Skirving. “We also understand that there will be many who will be disappointed that in our choices we have not included sufficient representation of every element of the Sewanee community.”
As to the potential candidates for the position of Vice-Chancellor, Skirving insists upon finding someone with a deep love for the University and its people. Academic credentials will certainly be a factor, as well as the ability to understand Sewanee’s past and shape its future.
“I hope that we’ll attract candidates with clarity about how best to build a strong private University in the midst of the challenges of today’s world who will also have the courage to provide the necessary leadership to do that work,” Skirving concluded.