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Obama nominates W&M alumnus Comey '82 as FBI director

  • James B. Comey '82
    James B. Comey '82  President Barack Obama nominated William & Mary alumnus James B. Comey '82 today to become the next director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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President Barack Obama nominated William & Mary alumnus James B. Comey ’82 Friday to become the next director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

If confirmed by Congress, Comey, a former U.S. deputy attorney general known for his prosecution of some of the nation’s highest-profile criminal cases, will replace outgoing Director Robert S. Mueller in September.

"Jim Comey has made his alma mater enormously proud yet again," said William & Mary President Taylor Reveley. "President Obama has nominated Mr. Comey to lead an agency whose effectiveness and integrity are vitally important to our country. Jim's willingness to return to public service in this crucial post is quite wonderful."

News about the president’s plan to nominate Comey broke in late May when several media outlets, including the New York Times and CNN, reported Obama’s intentions.

Comey, who graduated from William & Mary as a double major in chemistry and religion, has remained closely connected to the university. Comey spoke at 2003's and 2009's Opening Convocation ceremonies and at the 2008 Charter Day ceremony, where he received an honorary doctor of laws degree. Comey also served on the W&M Alumni Association's Board of Directors from 2008-2012, including serving as vice president from 2009-11. In 2011, the W&M Law School named Comey the Carter O. Lowance Fellow. The fellowship is one of the highest honors conferred by the Law School and W&M in recognition of significant public service.

Between 2003 and 2005, Comey held the second highest position at the Justice Department, serving as Deputy Attorney General of the United States. In that role, Comey was responsible for supervising operations of the Department of Justice, and he chaired the President’s Corporate Fraud Task Force and the Presidential Board on Safeguarding Americans’ Civil Liberties. In 2004 while serving as acting attorney general, Comey was in the national spotlight when he challenged the White House over constitutional concerns related to domestic wiretapping.

Mueller, the longest serving director of the FBI since J. Edgar Hoover, also has close ties to the nation’s second-oldest institution of higher education. On May 12, the FBI director gave William & Mary’s 2013 Commencement address and received an honorary doctorate of public service from the university.

In 2011, Mueller’s 10-year term as director of the FBI was ending when President Obama asked that Mueller stay on for two more years.