The letter below was sent on April 11 to the Sewanee community from Chancellor Rob Skirving


April 11, 2022

Dear Sewanee Community,

In the last update from the Chair of the Board of Regents and me, we outlined the next steps in the search for the University’s 18th Vice-Chancellor. I am pleased to announce that an important item on that list has been completed. Current member of the Board of Regents, Mary Claire Murphy, C’82, and current member of the Board of Trustees, the Rev. Katie Pearson, C’89, T’17 have agreed to serve as co-chairs of the Vice-Chancellor Search Committee and are already working together to get ready for this important responsibility.

Mary Claire and Katie bring strong skills and extensive experience as co-chairs of the Search Committee. I am grateful for their leadership and devotion to Sewanee. Read more about them below.

  • Mary Claire Shipp Murphy serves as the Vice President of External Relations of Textron Inc. in Washington, D.C. A 1982 graduate of the College with a degree in English, Mary Claire was a member of the Order of the Gown and a member and officer of the Theta Kappa Phi sorority. Two daughters are also Sewanee graduates—Mary Carlton “M.C.”, C’17 and Sarah Virginia “Ginnie”, C’21.

    During her career, Mary Claire has held various senior management roles within the telecommunications industry, and has also served in public service positions in the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of State. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Military Child Education Coalition, the National Aeronautic Association, the Atlantic Council, the Executive Council on Diplomacy and the Textron Charitable Trust.As an alumna, she serves as a member of the Board of Regents and has been a member of the Parents’ Council.
  • The Reverend Katie Curran Pearson serves as Canon Pastor at Saint John’s Cathedral in Denver, Colorado. A 1989 graduate of the College with a degree in English, Katie was a member of the Order of the Gown, a proctor, and a member and officer of Phi Kappa Epsilon sorority. Katie earned her Master of Divinity from The Iliff School of Theology and her Diploma of Anglican Studies from Sewanee’s School of Theology. Her husband, Don, graduated from Sewanee in 1986, and they have three children who are also Sewanee alumni: William, C '16, Bess, C' 18, and Owen, C '20.

    In the 30 plus years since graduation, Katie has been a high school English teacher, an engaged volunteer, an active lay leader in the Church, and a later-in-life priest. She serves on The Episcopal Church in Colorado’s Commission on Ministry and as Chaplain for the Colorado Assembly of Daughters of the King.

    As an alumna, she serves as an Alumni Arcadian, an at-large member of the Board of Trustees, Chair of the Trustees' Church Support and Relations Committee and as a member of the Names and Places Committee.

In early May, we hope to report on additional steps in the process:

  • The Board of Regents will select a firm to serve as our search consultant.
  • The Chancellor, working with the co-chairs and our search consultant, will identify and name the members of the Vice-Chancellor Search Committee.
  • The Search Committee and the search consultant will engage the wider Sewanee community to help build a profile of qualifications to use in searching for our next Vice-Chancellor

We will communicate regularly about the process via email and on a soon-to-be-launched website dedicated to the search process. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please send them to

Thank you for your patience as this critical work continues.


Transition Updates