Editor's note: This article has been updated to correct the name of Congressman Barney Frank.
After serving on the Board of Trustees for 20 years, Paul Queally stepped down from his role as rector on June 30.
University of Richmond President Kevin Hallock and the Board awarded Queally with the President’s Medal meant to honor those who have given “exceptional and meritorious service” to UR, according to a press release. The award was given in recognition of many of Queally and his wife, Ann Marie’s, contributions including the establishment of the men’s lacrosse program, Queally Athletic Center and providing support for the construction of Queally Hall at the E. Claiborne Robins School of Business.
Rising junior Chris Mitchell was not aware Queally was given an award in April or certain if he deserved it.
“He’s been a Board member for a long time, so it makes sense they would think that he deserved that on his way out,” Mitchell said. “Realistically, though, the way he conducted himself these past years…I just don’t really feel that represents a true and successful leader.”
Peter Smallwood, professor of Biology, was also unaware Queally won the award in April but said he believed Queally being one of UR’s largest donors contributed to it.
Queally is a 1986 graduate who served on the Board for two terms, from 1999 to 2007 and 2010 to 2022. During his latest term, Queally had initially disapproved of changing the names of then Ryland and Freeman halls because it promoted “cancel culture,” according to a March 30, 2021, statement from seven members of the University Faculty Senate.
But Queally’s departure comes nearly two months after the Board unanimously voted to rename six building names tied to eugenicists and slaveholders. The Board’s decision followed several months of student protests and community discussions from the Naming Principles Commission.
In the same statement, Faculty Senate members recalled Queally interrupting former UR staff member Jessica Washington and claiming that she sounded “angry.”
“At one point, [Queally] challenged her credibility by stating that because the staff member has only been at the university for a few years, she does not appreciate the progress that has been made,” the statement read.
After the Board originally refused to change the names, Faculty Senate members unanimously voted to censure Queally, a symbolic but significant condemnation. UR faculty members also passed a motion of no confidence in Queally and called for his resignation in April, 2021.
Queally never publicly apologized to the UR community for his refusal to change building names, his behavior toward Washington or his remarks on students during a March 26, 2021, meeting, in which he referred to white students as “regular students.”
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Queally did not respond to The Collegian’s request for comment.
Queally’s replacement as rector, R. Lewis Boggs, and the outgoing Vice Rector Susan Quinsberry were among the Board members at the March 26 meeting who disagreed with how Queally’s remarks were portrayed.
“The Board strongly disagrees with the characterization of Rector Paul Queally’s words, tone and intent,” the Board wrote in an April 5 statement.
Queally has also been criticized for making sexist and homophobic comments about Hillary Clinton and former Congressman Barney Frank at a secret Wall Street fraternity induction ceremony in 2014, according to New York Magazine. During that time, Queally also faced controversy over a Facebook post he made in 2011 in which he used a slur against LGBTQ+ people.
"The lesson I learned is that there is no situation or context, public or private, where it is appropriate to make an ill considered remark in an unwise attempt at being humorous," Queally said in a statement to The Collegian at the time. "In today's world there is no place for any remark under any circumstance that implies a lack of tolerance. It is my life's work in education and support for diversity which defines who I am and what I believe. Those who know me understand this."
Mitchell said he was grateful to see Queally go, but doubted if Queally’s absence will bring any change to UR.
“It’s symbolic change to have someone that represents the past and old values and views to step down,” Mitchell said. “But real change doesn’t happen until we see the Board of Trustees actually reflect that in their actions.”
Quisenberry and members Louis Moelchert Jr., Gregory Rogowski and Michael Walrath will leave the Board too. Most of those departing the Board have reached their term limits, wrote Cynthia Price, associate vice president of media and public relations, in an email to The Collegian.
Kathleen Hughes will be the new vice rector. The Board also appointed four new members this year: Stephen Aronson, Agay Nagpal, Kevin Seth and Stacy Garrett-Ray. Most of the new trustees will begin their roles at the beginning of July, but Garrett-Ray will start on Jan. 1.
A graduate of Old Dominion University in 1968, Boggs served in the army and was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam before settling in Virginia. Boggs received his master’s from the school of business in 1978 and served on the Board of Associates, the Executive Advisory Council to the Business School and the Richmond Council before joining the Board of Trustees.
Hughes is a UR graduate, former Pi Beta Phi member and a retired partner of Goldman Sachs. Hughes graduated from UR in 1989 with a bachelor’s in economics and her son, Alexandre, graduated from UR in 2021. Hughes has also served on the Robins School Executive Advisory Council and was elected to the Board in 2019.
Aronson is a UR alum and served as executive-in-residence with the business school and received the University of Richmond Alumni Award for Distinguished Service. Garrett-Ray, also a UR alum, is a certified family physician and is a member of the Board for Garrison Forest School for Girls.
Nagpal, a parent of a UR student, is a member of the president’s leadership council at Brown University and is the governor-at-large for the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Seth, also the parent of two UR students, was a member of Montana State University’s Board of governors and serves on the Board of the National Park Trust.
Smallwood said the new Board needed to be more transparent with UR by standardizing its web page and specifying each member’s term limits.
Rising sophomore Ryan Doherty knew about Queally’s departure, but was not aware or optimistic of the incoming members, two of whom are people of color.
“That doesn’t excite me,” Doherty said. “Clarence Thomas exists. Diversity isn’t always progress. I’m a bit skeptical.”
Contact news writers Katie Castellani and Ananya Chetia at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
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