The Board of Visitors of the College of William and Mary issued the following statement regarding the appointment of the 27th President of the College. - Ed.
September 5, 2008
The Board of Visitors today concluded a special session to determine the leadership direction for the College. After careful consideration and with the benefit of input from the faculty, students, staff and alumni, the Board decided to eliminate Taylor Reveley’s interim designation and formally appoint him the 27th President of William and Mary for a term of 3 years.
This is a change in direction, but one we have concluded is in the very best interest of the College. Taylor has exceeded every expectation and has worked with vigor uncharacteristic of a mere caretaker. He has tackled enormous challenges, and while he did not seek the job permanently this time, he nonetheless earned the right to lead us and we are grateful he has accepted our invitation. Choosing a president without a national search is unusual and not done lightly, but the circumstances in this case are unique. For one, Taylor was fully vetted in the national search held just a few years ago and was a finalist for the office. Second, rarely does the Board or the College community have the benefit of working with someone for over half a year in the position before making a decision on his appointment. Finally, our community is still healing from the events of last spring and the critical challenges presently facing the college need immediate attention, strongly suggesting a search would not be a constructive or productive endeavor—a view we found was widely held.
The College has been fortunate to have a strong leader in place during this very difficult transition period. Taylor stepped into a complicated situation and handled it with grace. With his deep knowledge of and experience with the community, he tirelessly reached out to faculty, students, staff, alumni, public officials, and major donors to assure them that he would advance the important priorities of the school. And, in a very short period, he has indeed advanced those priorities.
Taylor zeroed in immediately on the need to restructure our financial model, given the unreliability of state funds. He navigated the College through substantial budget cuts, making difficult decisions but keeping our priorities at the forefront.
Taylor stepped into the admissions process mid-stream when some parents, on the cusp of helping their children make final decisions, were concerned about sending their child to a school without a sitting president. His assurances about the direction of the school helped William and Mary attract a very strong and diverse incoming class of students.
In addition to handling pressing needs, Taylor has also begun laying a direction for the future. He has initiated a long overdue strategic planning process. He has also redirected development efforts toward improving annual giving, so that the College can meet its operating needs, and initiated the work necessary for a future campaign to strengthen the endowment. He is working on plans for upgrading communication to and relationships with the campus and alumni, realizing that they are critical to our future. All of these actions are essential to setting the vision and direction of the College.
Taylor has exhibited such extraordinary skill, warmth and commitment that we are confident this is the best path for W&M right now. We have pressing challenges that need immediate attention. Major additional state cuts are imminent, re-structuring will need to be re-negotiated with Richmond, and we must complete a strategic plan. With his leadership, we will aggressively tackle these challenges, build on the traditions of the school, and look forward with confidence to the future.
We wish to thank the numerous faculty, students, staff, administrators and alumni who we consulted over the past several weeks. Their input and support for President Reveley was heartening and indispensible.