January 13, 2013

The General Assembly will vote this month on Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s reappointment of Helen Dragas to the University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors [Metro, Jan. 10], and The Post recently published a column by three alumni who oppose her return [“The change at the top that U-Va. needs,” Local Opinions, Dec. 30]. I, too, am a U-Va. alumna, as well as a member of the Board of Visitors, and I have known Ms. Dragas since we were students at U-Va. I call upon lawmakers to approve her reappointment.

By statute, the board is “responsible for seeing to the effective government of the university” — a somber and serious obligation. Many rectors have guided U-Va. through times of change, and their work has strengthened the school. But change has not always come easily.

Ms. Dragas, who became rector in 2011, has improved how the board goes about its work, increased interaction among board members and formalized the performance review of the university president. Following her conscience, she has called attention to the weaknesses of the school, along with its strengths, so that it might continue to be a premier university.

Ms. Dragas has shown the courage to lead; the wisdom to understand that even exemplary institutions must move forward to remain current; and a firm allegiance to her alma mater, all while withstanding cruel personal attacks. She has admitted her mistakes and continues to work closely and productively with President Teresa Sullivan. Above all, she stands firm for the principles upon which this university was founded. The university needs her continued service.

Allison Cryor DiNardo, Alexandria

The writer is a member of the University of Virginia Board of Visitors.