The University of Virginia Alumni Association announced Tuesday that their next president and chief executive officer will be Darden alumna Lily E. West. The Board of Managers selected West from a nationwide pool of more than 250 candidates. West has served as interim CEO since July 1 after her predecessor, Jen Andrasko, stepped down earlier this year.
Past Chair Louis A. Sarkes, Jr., who led the Alumni Association’s search over the past six months, explained the decision to keep West on as a permanent CEO.
“For over two years Lily has overseen the daily operations that serve our 250,000 alumni and has worked closely with our board on a number of important initiatives,” Sarkes said. “She distinguished herself among a large, impressive and diverse pool of national candidates.”
West, who previously served as the Association’s chief operating officer under Andrasko, expressed excitement and gratitude.
“I relish opportunities where I actually come to a situation as a relative newcomer, and I have to prove myself, I have to build those relationships,” West said. “What’s particularly special about this opportunity, of course, is that I get to do it for an institution that I love, and that I have really tried to build my life around … UVA transformed my life in ways I could have never expected.”
Patricia Kyle Epps, chair of the Board of Managers, praised West for her leadership during a difficult year for the University community.
“Lily is a forward-thinking leader who exemplifies the Alumni Association’s core values,” Epps said. “She is deeply committed to our goals of building community and furthering inclusion among alumni … The descriptions [of West] that came up repeatedly included ‘warm, empathetic, reflective,’ ‘exudes positive energy and inspires,’ ‘extraordinarily bright and strategic’ and ‘has a gift for persuading, influencing, finding common ground.’ I thought one of our search members summed it up nicely: ‘Lily looks like the future of the Alumni Association.’”
When Andrasko resigned, she wrote that she was “delighted” West would be the one to step in to take her place.
“Lily is an extraordinary leader, and we are lucky to have her,” Andrasko said.
For the University magazine’s story on West’s appointment, click here.