Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Modest Man Notes That the Meter Is Running

The Daily has another puff piece today.

Selections are given below.


Provost Sullivan talks Minnesota and modesty

Sullivan was behind Strategic Positioning, the plan to make the "U" a top university.
By Ahnalese Rushmann

Edward Thomas Sullivan thinks people at this school are way too modest.

"A lot of people don't understand what a great university this is," said the University Senior Vice President and Provost of Academic Affairs, who goes by "Tom."

Yet, even as a middle-schooler in northern Illinois, he said he was inspired by mentors to go into teaching.

"I had a spectacular English teacher in eighth grade," Sullivan said.

"In high school, a particularly magnificent biology teacher."

Bruininks, whose office is down the hall from Sullivan's, said the provost's "rare blend of leadership qualities" makes him one of the best in the nation.

"He was always being regarded as being one of the top deans of law schools in the United States," he said.

Bruininks said he and his top administrators remind him of Abraham Lincoln and his staff, whom he called a team of independent-minded people with strong views and personalities.

"(Sullivan) is modest but also decisive and assertive in making decisions," he said.

Three years ago, the University set a goal to become a top-three research institution worldwide, he said.

"The meter's running," Sullivan said, adding the University needs to be bolder and take more risks.

Sullivan's extensive experience hasn't gone unnoticed by other schools, who have sought him out for vacant president positions in the past.

He said he's currently not being considered for any presidencies, and downplayed past offers with a little of his own Minnesotan modesty.

"That happens to many people," he said, "that's not unique to me."

Despite inquiring schools' calls, Sullivan said he wants to stay in Minnesota and at the University.


Reminds me of the Winston Churchill quote: "He is a very modest man with a great deal to be modest about."

Ciao, Bonzo

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