"Thanks for coming by on our first hour at the university," said UVM's new President Tom Sullivan, on his first day of school.
Reporter Kristin Carlson: How would you describe your leadership style?
Tom Sullivan: I think I'm collaborative. I think I'm a pretty good listener.
Sullivan takes over UVM coming from the University of Minnesota. He arrived in Vermont Friday with his wife and dog, Harry Potter. His wife graduated from UVM in 1977.
His first 100 days he plans to listen -- meeting with faculty and traveling the state meeting with leaders. Then he will release his 1-thousand day plan.
"My first goal will be to look at academic facilities and infrastructure and to make sure they are very inviting for a learning and research environment university," he said.
That could mean a pause on new buildings like an arena. Most students still on campus haven't met the President yet, but have money on their minds.
"Making sure professors can continue with their research and there's also been a lot of problems with distribution of money - a lot of students angry about that - I'd like him to address that," said Evan McDaniel, a senior.
"I hope he will focus on decreasing the cost to students -- specifically tuition. The amount of money we spend at a public institution is a little high compared to other universities of a similar caliber," said Danylo Whalen, a senior.
Combined with room and board and fees and supplies, the total cost for in-state students is over 28-thousand. For out-of-state students, UVM now tops 49-thousand dollars per year.
Reporter Kristin Carlson: Do you think UVM is affordable for Vermonters?
Tom Sullivan: we are going to make sure that it is and it will be in the future through appropriate balance of financial aid and scholarships.
Sullivan would not get into specifics, but does say he wants to bring the budget in line with academic priorities. Once that's done he plans to spend a lot of time raising private money to fund UVM.
"I think people are eager to have a new face and new vision," said David Shiman, President of United Academics, the union for UVM faculty.
Shiman says Sullivan was one of the union's top two picks for President. He met with Sullivan and likes his pledge to be transparent and clear. "I'm very hopeful. I like his commitment to involving faculty early in big directions the university might move," he said.
One move the Shiman admits he is not excited about -- Sullivan's salary. He will make 417-hundred thousand dollars a year. That's a 94-thousand dollar increase from what the previous president, Dan Fogel, made. But Shiman says it's one salary and he is still optimistic the new President will look at overall administrative costs. And the new President is required to live in the President's mansion. It is currently undergoing an 875-thousand dollar renovation including new drainage. Sullivan expects to move in in October.
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