Liz Magill

The Last Word: UVA Provost Liz Magill ’95

Illustration by Alex Fine


What does a university provost do?

Provost is not a job that is self-defining. It is among the most varied jobs across academic institutions. And few people know what a provost actually does. The student newspaper at Stanford ran a story in 2016 with the headline, “So what is a provost, anyway?” But there are some core duties of provosts. At UVA and most places, a provost reports to the president and is the chief academic officer, working closely with deans and faculty leadership on advancing the teaching and research missions of the university. 

What lessons will you bring from your time as dean of Stanford Law School?

I have learned a lot about being dean of a school, and the challenges and opportunities of that, as well as about the work of the other schools at Stanford, which I have found to be one of the joys of the job.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

My husband, Leon Szeptycki, usually brings me coffee. So, it’s coffee. I’m one lucky person.

What’s one big challenge facing UVA that you hope to address?

UVA is an extraordinary institution. It is one of our country’s great public research universities, an institution I have enormous respect and admiration for, and I deeply believe in its missions of teaching, knowledge creation and service. There are always challenges, but I am mindful that I have the privilege of joining a university that is doing so many things well.

Who has been the most influential person in your life, and why?

My parents. They taught me explicitly, but mostly by example, what is important in life — being good to others, not thinking too much about yourself, working hard and contributing wherever you can, and finding joy and fun, too.

What did you enjoy most about your law school days, as a student and as a professor?

The community — classmates and colleagues. And Charlottesville. We lived in the county, downtown and right across the street from Foods Of All Nations. I loved everywhere we lived.

What will you miss about Palo Alto?

My many colleagues, and the beautiful coast.

What do you look forward to about returning to Charlottesville?

Reconnecting, of course. But I am most excited about working with President Ryan and his team to make UVA the best it can be.

You have the last word, what do you want to say?


Media Contact

Mary M. Wood
Chief Communications Officer / (434) 924-3786

More From This Issue