The University of Virginia Oral History Project: Interviews with Leonard W. Sandridge, Jr.

Author:Scarborough, Sheree

Biographical Statement
Leonard W. Sandridge was born in Crozet, Virginia in 1942. In 1964, he received his B.S. in Business Administration with a major in accounting from the University of Richmond. He served in the Army on active duty in Okinawa from 1965-66, and following that served as an officer in the Army Reserves until 1984. Sandridge received his master’s degree in accounting from the University of Virginia in 1974. He began working for the University of Virginia in 1967 as an internal auditor and rose through the ranks of the administration, at various times serving as assistant comptroller, treasurer, associate vice president for budget, vice president of business and finance, and finally executive vice president and chief operating officer. He retired from the University in 2011 after serving forty-four years. However, he has stayed on in a part-time capacity as special adviser to President Teresa A. Sullivan. In July 2012, Sandridge was appointed to the University of Virginia Board of Visitors by Governor Robert F. McDonnell in a newly created position that will serve as special adviser to the Board.

Interview Synopsis
Mr. Sandridge begins the interview with a description of his early years in Crozet and public school experiences, family background, undergraduate years, and military career. He recounts his early years working at the University of Virginia in non-management roles and the people he worked with who became his mentors and important University leaders such as Vincent Shea and Ray Hunt. He describes his experiences as he rose through the ranks to management roles and on to the number two position at the University as chief executive officer under President John T. Casteen III. In doing so, he recounts some of his experiences and memories—as well as assessments—of four of the five presidents he has served under: Edgar Shannon, Frank Hereford, Robert O’Neil, and Casteen. He discusses such topics as coeducation, the reorganization of the University administration, the state budget shortfall in the 1990s and the successful strategies used to counter it, and the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. He also discusses controversial incidents that occurred during the time he was COO, and what was done to manage them and the lessons he learned, including NCAA violations, the pavilion balcony collapse, and the notorious “baby-switch” incident. The motifs of Mr. Sandridge’s near half- century career at the University of Virginia that permeate the interview are the importance of hard work, loyalty, integrity, good humor, and above all the importance of doing “what’s right.”

oral history, Leonard Sandridge, Administration, University of Virginia, UVa, UVaOHP
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Source Citation:

Scarborough, Sheree. The University of Virginia Oral History Project: Interviews with Leonard W. Sandridge, Jr.. University of Virginia, 2012.

University of Virginia
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University of Virginia

Conducted on March 13, March 14, and March 20, 2012 by Sheree Scarborough, History Associates Incorporated, Rockville, Maryland.