Gov. McDonnell reappoints Dragas to U.Va. board

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Local,Steve Contorno

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell on Friday reappointed embattled Rector Helen Dragas to the University of Virginia Board of Visitors.

The decision comes just days after Dragas apologized for her leading role in the ousting of university President Teresa Sullivan, a move that sparked two weeks of turmoil on the state's flagship campus. The board on Tuesday reversed itself and reinstated Sullivan.

At that meeting, Dragas also received a vote of confidence from the board, but many faculty leaders have called for her to resign.

McDonnell threatened to remove the entire board if it didn't make a final decision on Sullivan's status, but said he left it to the board to decide whether she state or left. The governor defended Dragas in announcing her reappointment.

"Ms. Dragas's serious critique of the challenges facing the university is a voice that must be heard, and can help, in ensuring U.Va. remains one of the world's foremost institutions of higher learning," McDonnell said.

Dragas was appointed by former Gov. Tim Kaine, a Democrat. Board member Robert Hardie was eligible for another term but was not reappointed.

McDonnell announced five other appointments to the board: Frank B. Atkinson of Hanover, a former advisor to Gov. George Allen; U.Va. Alumni Association Chairwoman and Gannett Company CFO Victoria Harker of McLean; Northern Virginia Technology Council President and CEO Bobbie Kilberg of McLean; and Dr. Edward Miller, chief executive officer of Johns Hopkins Medicine.

McDonnell also appointed former board member William Goodwin and former U.Va. administrator Leonard Sandridge to newly created advisory positions.

"Their roles will be to provide the board with wise counsel on an array of matters and to assist the university in solving strategic and communications challenges, based on their decades of institutional knowledge and understanding of the university," McDonnell said.

scontorno@washingtonexaminer.com

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