William & Mary

W. Taylor Reveley III named William and Mary's 27th president

  • Taylor Reveley
    Taylor Reveley  President of the College of William and Mary.  
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(Williamsburg, VA) – W. Taylor Reveley III has been named the College of William and Mary’s 27th president, the College’s Board of Visitors announced today. Rector of the College Michael K. Powell said that Reveley, who has been serving as William and Mary’s interim president since February 2008, will assume the new post immediately.

“After several weeks of discussion with the William and Mary community, it became apparent that Taylor Reveley is the right person for this campus at this time," Powell said. "The challenges that the College is facing need immediate attention from a strong, committed leader.  Moreover, in our judgment the College would benefit from an extended period of stability. Taylor is already providing the leadership and vision necessary to move the College powerfully forward in the face of those challenges. We celebrate the good fortune of having Taylor Reveley and we know he will make an excellent president.”

Before taking the interim position seven months ago, Reveley had served as dean of the William & Mary Law School for nearly a decade.
Today William and Mary Chancellor and former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said, “The news that the Board of Visitors of the College of William and Mary has offered the presidency to Taylor Reveley is good news for the university. He has been at William and Mary for a long time and served ably as dean of the Law School. His transition has been smooth and he brings to the presidency a splendid background and a wonderful sense of its history and its future."

Since taking over the post, Reveley has worked quickly to build relationships across the College community and beyond. He has spent a good portion of his first six months on the main campus meeting with students, faculty, and staff; in Richmond, working with the governor and members of the General Assembly; and on the road, discussing the future of the College with alumni and donors. Reveley also quickly identified critical needs in the College’s financial resources and began to communicate the need for increased private giving to support William and Mary’s people and programs. Reveley has also begun development of a new strategic planning process for the university — the first since 1994.

“It has been wrenching to leave the country’s oldest law school,” Reveley said, “but the privilege of helping to lead one of our country’s great universities is enormous. I deeply appreciate the faith placed in me by the Board of Visitors and by the people of William & Mary writ large. Helen and I have been truly touched by the support we’ve received over the last six months from all corners of the William & Mary community. It has become clear that we are all stewards of an extraordinary place.”

Reveley comes to the College’s top post with a wealth of experience in both leadership and academia. Prior to coming to William and Mary, Reveley practiced law at Hunton & Williams in Richmond for 28 years and was a managing partner of the international firm for nine years. Reveley is a trustee emeritus of Princeton University — where he served on the board for 14 years — and is a current trustee of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Virginia Historical Society, and St. Christopher’s School. And serving as a president is not new to the Reveley family. William and Mary’s new president literally grew up on college campuses — his father, W. Taylor Reveley II, served for 14 years as president of Hampden-Sydney College.

“Working closely with Taylor Reveley the past seven months convinces me that the Board has made the wise and prudent decision,” said Provost P. Geoffrey Feiss. “Taylor’s leadership has been firm, thoughtful, intelligent, and unselfish in the extreme. We are fortunate to have him at this important time in the storied history of William and Mary.”

Faculty member Tom White and student leader Valerie Hopkins echoed Feiss’s votes of confidence today. Said White, associate professor in the College’s Mason School of Business and president of the Faculty Assembly, “Taylor Reveley has proven to be an insightful and tireless leader for William and Mary in a short period. He has connected with all its constituencies to identify critical issues that lie ahead. I think the Board made a wise choice in naming him president at this time, and I expect significant progress for William and Mary under his leadership. Hopkins, a member of the Class of 2009 and president of the Student Assembly, agreed. "I think it's great that President Reveley will be leading the College on a more permanent basis. He's become a very popular and positive presence on campus in the last few months, and students have grown quite fond of him."

Reveley’s scholarship credentials are also well known. He has extensively studied and written about the constitutional division of the war powers between the president and Congress. In 1972-73, he spent 13 months studying the war powers while an international affairs fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City and a fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington. Reveley's "War Powers of the President and Congress – Who Holds the Arrows and Olive Branch?" has been one of the leading books on the subject for 25 years. Recently, he served as co-director of the National War Powers Commission, a bipartisan group headed by former U.S. Secretaries of State James Baker and Warren Christopher.

Reveley received his bachelor of arts degree from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 1965. At Princeton, he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and rowed on the lightweight crew for two years. Reveley received his law degree from the University of Virginia Law School in 1968. During the United States Supreme Court’s 1969 term, he clerked for Justice William J. Brennan, Jr.

He and his wife, Helen, have four children and a daughter-in-law.

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To learn more about the Board’s decision, go to www.wm.edu.