Friday, June 29, 2012

Governor Reappoints Helen Dragas to UVa Board

Helen Dragas reappointed after dust-up
Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell failed to correct former Democratic Governor Tim Kaine's error in appointing Helen Dragas to the University of Virginia's Board of Visitors today, surprisingly re-appointing here.

There was every good reason to end her service on the board from smart politics (make Kaine look bad in the face of a tight Senatorial election), to popular consensus (most UVa people want her gone), to simply dumping somebody who did something really and truly stupid (getting ride--temporarily, as it turns out--of a popular and competene president.

McDonnell had a wonderful opportunity to do something that would have pleased a whole lot of Virginians and, instead, chose to stick with the status quo, which is unacceptable.

Here's a statement fromMcDonnell today announcing the appointment of members of the Board of Visitors, who has been called "a third-rate, Virginia Beach condo developer":

“I have also reappointed Helen Dragas to the board. Ms. Dragas was appointed to the board by my predecessor Governor Tim Kaine in 2008 and elected rector by the board's members in 2011.  Prior to that appointment, she had served on the Commonwealth Transportation Board and the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia, in both cases through appointments made by Governor Mark Warner. During her four-year term on the board she has been a strong and dedicated board member, committed to advancing the mission of the university.

“Just as I was disappointed to see the lack of transparency and communication surrounding the request for the resignation of the first female president of UVa, I am also concerned that the first female rector seemed to become the sole target of recent criticism. While there is no doubt that the board made several mistakes in its actions, which it has publicly admitted, this is not a time for recrimination. It’s a time for reconciliation. I have been heartened by recent statements made by president Sullivan, the Board of Visitors and by the faculty senate chair about their ability to work with the rector. 

"As Faculty Senate Chairman George Cohen said to The Richmond Times-Dispatch, “She (Dr. Sullivan) said she can work with the rector. I think we can work with the rector as well.” That kind of commitment to unity, healing and advancement is crucial to the university’s success in maintaining itself as a pillar of higher education to pursue the growth of knowledge and advance the human condition. Today’s reappointment is made in that spirit and with that purpose. I look forward to the board and administration moving forward together.  

"The university’s tradition is the embrace of inquiry, critical thinking and change, which the rector and many others bring to the table. Ms. Dragas’s serious critique of the challenges facing the university is a voice that must be heard, and can help, in ensuring UVa remains one of the world’s foremost institutions of higher learning."

Here are the other appointments:

Frank B. Atkinson of Hanover is the Chairman of McGuire Woods Consulting and previously served in state government as counselor and director of policy for Governor George Allen. Helen E. Dragas of Virginia Beach is the president and chief executive officer of The Dragas Companies, a real estate company. Victoria Harker of McLean was recently announced as the new CFO for Gannett Company, Inc., a Fortune 500 global print and broadcast media company. Bobbie Kilberg of McLean is president and CEO of the Northern Virginia Technology Council. Dr. Edward Miller of Baltimore, Maryland was named chief executive officer of Johns Hopkins Medicine, the 13th dean of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and vice president for medicine of The Johns Hopkins University in January 1997. 
Dr. Linwood Rose of Harrisonburg served for 14 years as the president of James Madison University. He is retiring on June 30.

Senior advisors are: William H. Goodwin Jr. of Richmond is a former member of the University of Virginia Board of Visitors. Goodwin is currently chairman of the board of CCA Industries Inc.  Leonard W. Sandridge Jr. of Charlottesville retired from the University of Virginia in June 2011, after serving for 44 years. He previously served executive vice president and chief operating officer for UVA president John Casteen.

No word about the service of Roanoke's Haywood Fralin, who turned out to be a hero in all this, the one man who voted against Dragas' wishes all along. I'm not sure if his service is over or if he wasn't up for re-election. Let's hope it was the latter.

(Charlottesville Daily Progress photo.)


  1. Has anyone accused Boob McDonnell of having any sense?

  2. Well of course he does! Look who now owes him, big time!