2018 has already been a busy year for the members of the William & Mary Board of Visitors. In early February, they helped select Dr. Katherine Rowe to become the university’s next president, who will be the first woman to hold that position. The Board also plays an integral, big-picture advisory role in the College’s academics, campus life, and finances.
Doug Bunch, a William & Mary ’02 graduate who studied Government and Classical Studies, has been serving on the Board of Visitors since 2016. Like many other former Government majors at William & Mary, he credits the Government Department for compelling him to think broadly about the world and how interconnected it is. A lawyer at Washington, D.C. law firm Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, Bunch litigates securities fraud class action lawsuits as part of the firm’s Securities Fraud & Investor Protection Practice Group. One of the main objects in his work is keeping corporations and other corporate actors accountable. “The financial crisis of 2008 was due in part to banks, mortgage underwriters in particular, taking advantage of homeowners and investors,” Bunch said. By keeping powerful corporations accountable, he helps to mitigate harmful effects that corporations might inflict on the average consumer.
Bunch says that he thinks certain things have not changed since his time in the Government Department, although the Department has fine-tuned its curriculum to ensure students engage themselves in addressing contemporary issues and challenges. Current professors John McGlennon and Ron Rapoport were also teaching during Bunch’s time. “The basic character of the Department hasn’t shifted,” he said. “There is still a focus on international politics and domestic affairs, but now those two have bled together in ways we couldn’t have anticipated.”
When asked about advice he would give to current William & Mary students, Bunch emphasized the importance of accepting that it’s okay to not have everything figured out. “Take it a day at a time. Very few people know what they want to do for the rest of their careers when they’re a senior in college,” he said. “In the real world, it’s extraordinarily rare that people follow the exact path they envision for themselves as a college student. Expect and anticipate change and the need to be flexible. Be open to exciting opportunities that might develop for you down the road that you might not be able to imagine now.”
Bunch also emphasized that the BOV is there for students, faculty, and staff. “We want you to approach us and engage us,” Bunch said. “We want to know what you think. Some of the same issues you wrestle with – like access, diversity, inclusion, sexual harassment, and mental health – are things we think about all the time.”
Three other members of the BOV are also William & Mary Government graduates: Todd Stottlemeyer, Rector and ’85 graduate; Anne Leigh Kerr, ’91; and J.E. Lincoln Saunders, ’06.