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Ginger Ambler named vice president for student affairs

  • Virginia M. Ambler
    Virginia M. Ambler  Virginia M. Ambler ('88, Ph.D. '06), who brings a deep connection to William & Mary as both an alumna and administrator, has been named vice president for student affairs, President Taylor Reveley announced today.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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Virginia M. Ambler ('88, Ph.D. '06), who brings a deep connection to William & Mary as both an alumna and administrator, has been named vice president for student affairs, President Taylor Reveley announced today. Ambler has more than two decades of experience in student services, including serving the past year as William & Mary's interim vice president for student affairs following the June 2008 retirement of longtime vice president Sam Sadler. Sadler served the College for more than four decades, including 18 as a vice president. The appointment is subject to approval by the William & Mary Board of Visitors but Ambler will assume these responsibilities immediately, Reveley said.

"When Sam Sadler retired last June, Ginger Ambler stepped into his shoes on an interim basis and kept Student Affairs moving ahead seamlessly this academic year," Reveley said.  "This has been no small feat.  Going forward, Ginger will be able to nurture what is best about our approach to Student Affairs while also looking for challenging new ways to do even better.  I look forward to continuing to work with her."

Ambler brings a great deal of experience and institutional knowledge to the vice president position. In addition to holding student affairs positions at the Ohio State University and Franklin and Marshall College, she has worked in the College's Division of Student Affairs since 1991, including serving as assistant vice president for student affairs from 2001 to 2008 and also "acting vice president" in the spring 2008. From 1991 to 2001, Ambler served as assistant to the vice president for student affairs.

She holds two degrees from William & Mary - a Bachelor of Arts degree in English (minor in religion) and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in educational policy, planning and leadership. Ambler also received a Masters degree in higher education and students affairs from Ohio State. In 2008, Ambler served as an adjunct professor at the School of Education.

"What a tremendous honor it is to have been asked to serve my alma mater as the next vice president for student affairs," Ambler said.  "I am excited about the many opportunities that lie ahead for the College, for the Division of Student Affairs and for our exceptional students.  As vice president, I will remain passionate about excellence and about nurturing the sense of community that makes William & Mary a place like none other for those of us fortunate enough to live, learn, and work here."

Following Sadler's retirement, Reveley appointed a committee of faculty, staff, students and alumni to conduct a national search for his permanent replacement. Finalists were invited to campus last month and met with a number of groups within the campus community. Clay Clemens, Chancellor Professor of Government, served as chair of the committee.

"The Committee was quite happy with the extremely high quality of the pool, and especially with the credentials of the four finalists.  It testifies to the reputation of the College in general, and of Student Affairs here in particular, that we were able to attract such talented applicants," Clemens said.  "And the Committee is very pleased with the president's selection of Dr. Ginger Ambler as William & Mary's next vice president of student affairs.  She offers a unique blend of experience at the College and familiarity with broader issues in student life administration, a combination that will be well-suited to building on our traditional strengths while at the same time exploring new ideas.  Like the rest of the College community, we look forward to working with her and the personnel in her division as they take on the important work involved in making the student experience at William & Mary the best that it can be."

The vice president for student affairs oversees the Division of Student Affairs and supervises a broad range of services, including student rights and responsibilities, general student counseling, student organizations and activities, services to students with disabilities and special needs, support for students of diverse or nontraditional experiences, leadership development, community service, student government, the judicial and honor code systems, management of activities in the student centers, residence life, wellness and recreation, career and life development, and student health and psychological services.

Student leaders at William & Mary applauded the appointment.

"No one knows the William and Mary community better than Vice President Ambler, and I think students recognized that from the very beginning of this process," said Student Assembly President Sarah Rojas. "As an undergraduate student, a graduate student, an alumna, an educator, and an administrator, Vice President Ambler has had firsthand experience being a part of many different levels of our community.  In all of these roles, she has constantly been a strong advocate and resource for students, and the student body is excited to continue working with her."

Senior Justin Reid served on the search committee and said a lot of important questions were raised during the search process.

"How do we make ourselves a more inclusive community?  How do we more effectively respond to the needs of both graduates and undergraduates?  How can we foster greater collaboration between student affairs and faculty?  Ginger Ambler is committed to working with groups and individuals across campus to find answers to these and several other questions," Reid said.  "She's done so much for the university, yet you could always tell that there was so much more she wanted to do.  I'm excited to see all the great things she has planned."

In addition to her specific duties in student affairs, Ambler is an active participant in the overall campus community. She serves on numerous college-wide committees, including the Emergency Management Team, Diversity Committee, Faculty Universities Priorities Committee, and the Strategic Planning Steering Committee. She is also a member of the William & Mary Women's Network, serving as the group's administrative co-chair from 2006 to 2008.

Ambler has also received a number of academic accolades, including membership in Phi Beta Kappa. In 2006, she received the Thatcher Prize for Excellence in Graduate and Professional Study. In 2007, her doctoral dissertation won the Melvene D. Hardee Dissertation of the Year Award from the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA). NASPA is the largest professional association for student affairs administrators, faculty and graduate students, with more than 11,000 members in 29 countries.

Chancellor Professor of Education Emeritus David Leslie, who served as Ambler's doctoral advisor at William & Mary, said the College's new vice president has made her mark as a scholar, campus citizen and leader of the community.

"Her dissertation won the dissertation-of-the-year award as an exemplary piece of research. She has earned the high respect of all who know her in our community," Leslie said. "Ginger is not only a remarkably insightful professional, but is a highly diligent and responsible administrator who understands William & Mary's unique place in the world. She is a superb choice for the vice presidency."

Ambler and her husband, Richard ('86), a social studies teacher at Jamestown High School, live in James City County with their children Brink, Alaina, and McGregor.