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W&M presidential search update

The following message was sent to the William & Mary community on June 28, 2017 - Ed.

Dear W&M Community,

We write to provide a brief update on the progress of the William & Mary Presidential Search Committee.

To date, members of the search committee have hosted more than 60 listening sessions – on and off campus – with members of the broad university community. In addition, we have received hundreds of comments and emails via the presidential search website.

As we mentioned in our April message, identifying the best person to lead William & Mary requires the collective wisdom of our entire community. Your willingness to share ideas both in person and online has enriched this process immeasurably, and we thank you for it.

Included among the emerging themes received from the community regarding William & Mary’s next president are the need for a commitment to advancing the university’s academic excellence, building an even more welcoming and inclusive campus environment, appreciating all the university’s constituents and listening to each one.

The search committee recognizes that a candidate pool filled with diverse backgrounds and perspectives is needed to find the ideal leader capable of all this and much more. All of your responses will help craft a leadership profile outlining the qualities needed in the 28th president of William & Mary.

While our listening efforts continue, later this summer the search committee will begin shifting its focus toward identifying, recruiting, and vetting potential candidates. However, your thoughts remain welcome, and we will continue to consider input from the William & Mary community throughout the process. If you have ideas or suggestions to share, please do so via email ( or through the presidential search website:

To aid the process moving forward, the search committee has selected Witt/Kieffer, an executive search firm with an extensive track record in higher education, particularly with successful presidential searches. Witt/Kieffer has also assisted William & Mary with other recent searches, so it comes with a good understanding of the university as well as our aspirations for the future. The committee will continue to drive the presidential search with Witt/Kieffer as a collaborative partner in the effort.

Our next step is to develop a leadership profile sharing our expectations for William & Mary’s 28th president and to begin attracting candidates for the position. If you would like to nominate someone, please do so via the search email address or through the search website.

We are impressed with the quality and commitment of search committee members and by their dedication in taking on this important responsibility. Each is committed to representing the interests of all William & Mary stakeholders. We are also delighted Chancellor Robert M. Gates ’65, L.H.D. ’98 has been very engaged in his role as advisor to the committee. This is the right team to bring the strongest possible candidates to the Board of Visitors. 

Again, thank you for your participation in this important process. We will continue to keep you updated on our progress.  

Best regards,

H. Thomas Watkins III ’74
Vice Rector and Chair
Presidential Search Committee

Todd A. Stottlemyer ’85
Rector and Vice Chair
Presidential Search Committee