As our community works to promote a more diverse and positive environment on Grounds, staff, faculty, and friends of the University are key partners in this endeavor. The Serpentine Society is deeply grateful for the positive and supportive role played by so many individuals who reach out to provide encouragement, enlightenment, and are a beacon of understanding to LGBTQ and allied students.
In recognition of the important role of the faculty, staff, and others, the Serpentine Society established its Outstanding Service Award in 2005 to recognize individuals contributing to a more positive and supportive culture at the University for LGBTQ students and significant improvement in the lives of the LGBTQ community on Grounds.
BUCKNER W. CLAY DEAN OF ARTS & SCIENCES
Ian Baucom came to the University of Virginia after serving 17 years in Duke University’s Department of English as a professor and as the director of the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute. Since arriving at UVA in the summer of 2014, Dean Baucom has led a series of initiatives within the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
He is overseeing an ambitious hiring campaign that, in the midst of a generational turnover of esteemed faculty, aims to bring upwards of 200 new tenured and tenure-track faculty to the College. Baucom is emphasizing the importance of recruiting at the highest level of excellence and enhancing the faculty’s diversity to build on the College’s historical strengths and to ensure its future for generations of students to come.
Baucom is also guiding the College’s efforts to revise its undergraduate curriculum for the first time in four decades, starting with the new curriculum pilot that will launch in the 2017-18 academic year. In addition, he is working with the College’s leadership team to develop creative initiatives in global, digital and cross-disciplinary studies. At the same time, Baucom is working to advance the research mission and to further strengthen graduate programs, coordinating an examination of the Graduate School’s current state and future ambitions.
He earned his undergraduate degree in political science from Wake Forest University and holds a master’s degree in African studies and a doctorate in English, both from Yale University.
Baucom is the author of Out of Place: Englishness, Empire and the Locations of Identity, and Specters of the Atlantic: Finance Capital, Slavery, and the Philosophy of History. He is the co-editor of Shades of Black: Assembling Black Arts in 1980s Britain.
The 2015 recipient of the Outstanding Service Award was Robert D. Sweeney, Senior Vice President of University Advancement, for his unflinching leadership of a LGBTQ-welcoming and inclusive advancement organization which has driven successful fundraising initiatives for LGBTQ student scholarships, the LGBTQ Center and LGBTQ Studies in the Women, Gender and Sexuality program.
Bob Sweeney has spent virtually his entire 40 year career leading colleges and universities in maximizing their fundraising and public outreach. He has represented some of the finest public and private institutions during pivotal periods in their history where they leveraged strong leadership, significant new private resources and a compelling story to gain prominence. Every institution he has served has significantly increased its positioning in the various guides and rankings. These include SUNY Oswego, the University of Richmond, Loyola University of Maryland, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and, for the past 22 years, the University of Virginia. Mr. Sweeney has spent over 31 years at the Vice President level or above.
Central to Mr. Sweeney’s philosophy of building organizations is that for a team to come together, its members must share a common goal. Inspiring people through personality is a risky, exhausting endeavor. He believes that instilling in people the belief that accomplishing something far bigger than themselves—sparking the innovation of the next generation by providing an education to deserving students or funding the creation of new knowledge that supports cutting edge research–instills dignity and pride that motivates peak performance.
As Senior Vice President for University Advancement, Bob Sweeney has been the architect of two of the largest campaigns in the history of public higher education. In 2000, Mr. Sweeney led a successful campaign for $1.43 billion at UVa. At the time, it was the largest amount ever raised by a public university. In June of 2013, the University exceeded its $3 billion fundraising effort that, at the time of its announcement was the largest campaign goal ever attempted by a public or private university. It now ranks in the top ten campaign successes ever. During his tenure at UVa, Mr. Sweeney has orchestrated funding that exceeds $4.5 billion. Adding campaign successes at UNC Chapel Hill, Richmond and Loyola, Mr. Sweeney has been a catalyst in raising almost $5 billion.
For 12 years, Mr. Sweeney also led the public affairs program at the University which included media relations, social media, marketing, web design and services, audio visual services and community relations. He worked closely with University President Teresa Sullivan to create and launch a new University Communications division that will leverage the dramatic changes in the communications environment.
Bob Sweeney has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of St. Joseph Hospital (Towson MD), his alma mater Niagara University (where he received an honorary doctorate in 1998) and several University of Virginia related foundations including the Virginia Health Foundation, the Virginia Athletics Foundation, and the University of Virginia Foundation.
He makes his home on the Grounds of the University of Virginia. He resides on Thomas Jefferson’s historic Lawn in Pavilion VI. He has two sons, Matthew of Beverly Hills, CA and Paul, of Hilton Head, SC.
The Serpentine Society accepts nominations for the Serpentine Outstanding Service Award year-round via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. In submitting a nomination, please include your name, email address, phone number, and the name and University affiliation of your nominee.
Nominations should include details about the nominee’s:
- Leadership and support for LGBTQ and allied students,
- Being a catalyst for change on Grounds,
- Mentoring to the LGBTQ and University community,
- Being a role model for LGBTQ and allied students, and
- Dedication to the spirit of tolerance and understanding.
Prior year recipients are listed here.