Bells, bagpipes and brass rang out on the University of Vermont campus Friday, to ring in the school's new president, Thomas Sullivan.
"I've now seen him in action and he's better than advertised," said Robert Cioffi of the UVM board of trustees.
After a nationwide search attracted candidates from across the country, the university set its sights on the former provost and senior vice president at the University of Minnesota.
"Very strong, he's considered one of the giants of the law school and one of the giants of our university," Walter Mondale said.
The former vice president under the Carter administration was one of many distinguished Minnesotans flown in to attend the installation ceremony. He delivered the keynote address.
"Tom believes in the power of raising aspirations and setting ambitious goals, and the power of his beliefs are contagious," Mondale said.
Sullivan gave an aggressive and specific speech to an audience at the Ira Allen Chapel. He plans to launch an improvement campaign in the coming months.
"In order to be a university of national consequence we must invest in the future of this university and the future of the state of Vermont," Sullivan said.
He wants to address aging infrastructure, balance the student-teacher ratio by hiring more professors, allot more time for research and increase the number of graduate students at the university, among other things. All of which, of course, cost money.
"We cannot simply cut costs if we are to achieve relevancy trust and impact," Sullivan said.
Above all, he spoke big picture, about inspiring students to chase big dreams and making financial aid more attainable. Right now, in-state students pay $28,000 for tuition, and room and board, and out-of-state students pay about $49,000.
"A large part of our responsibility is to encourage students to stretch their imaginations and to push their curiosity beyond how things are," Sullivan said.
A lesson Sullivan plans to take to all aspects of the university as its new president.
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