Retiring UVa President John Casteen to Fundraise for Virginia Community Colleges

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January 5, 2010

We're learning more about John Casteen's plans when he retires as president of the University of Virginia.

Casteen will be stepping down in a few months, but not stepping away from higher education.

Casteen will raise money for Virginia's Community College system by joining the Board of Directors for the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education. The group raises scholarship money for students. Casteen also told The Chronicle of Higher Education that he'll advocate on behalf of the environment.

Casteen explains his reasoning behind joining the community college board, telling CBS19:

"I am joining that board because state support for the regional services provided by the community colleges is not adequate, and has not been since the late 1980s, and the result is damage to many Virginia communities where the need for the courses provided by community colleges is significant.

During this recession, a time when more people need community college courses and services, the state is cutting its support even more deeply than it has in the past. Private philanthropy is really the only available remedy for the state's failure to pay realistic support costs. This foundation seeks that philanthropic support at the community level, where the needs are most pressing and most visible to people who can give."

During President Casteen's twenty years at the helm of the University, his fundraising and his commitment to increasing diversity helped make UVa one of the top universities. Upon retiring, Casteen will direct his focus to helping even more students gain access to higher education.

"I called John, and I said after you step down would you consider coming on our foundation to raise awareness through your connections...and he didn't have to think about it. If he did it was for 22 seconds, and he said I certainly will," says Glenn Dubois, the Chancellor of Virginia Community Colleges.

"[Casteen] is clearly making a specific statement about helping all Virginians get a college education, and specifically pointing to the community college as the on-ramp for that to happen. I'm delighted, but not surprised, because I know this is a passion of his," adds DuBois.

As UVa's President returns to his first passion, teaching again at UVa, he will also continue his other passion, helping more people get college degrees.

Casteen announced he would be retiring as President of UVa in June 2009.

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