William & Mary President Katherine A. Rowe and Rector John E. Littel finalized this week terms of the president’s contract extension through June 2028.
The action comes after the Board of Visitors unanimously voted in November to extend the president’s contract and authorized Littel to finalize the terms of the agreement by the February 2022 Board meeting. They didn’t need that long.
“This is wonderful news as we finish the semester and head into the holiday break,” Littel said. “The Board is unanimous in its support of President Rowe’s leadership and we are delighted to finalize this extension.
“We have tremendous confidence in Katherine and her vision for William & Mary. We look forward to where she will lead the university in the future.”
In presenting the motion at the November Board meeting, Littel referred back to the Presidential Search Committee’s Leadership Profile, which outlined what the Board and university community was looking for in its 28th president.
Littel underscored that Rowe has far exceeded the Board’s expectations. In the short time since she became president, he said, Rowe has already advanced many critical areas in the profile, including guiding the university through a new strategic planning process; moving forward a university-wide approach to diversity, equity and inclusion issues; and positioning W&M as a leader in the national conversation about the value and relevance of a liberal arts and sciences education in preparing graduates for future workforces. In addition, he said, Rowe has moved the university forward while navigating the unprecedented issues and challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. In June 2020, for example, Rowe oversaw the successful completion of William & Mary’s For the Bold campaign, which raised $1.04 billion including more than $300 million in scholarships. Earlier this month, the university announced that William & Mary experienced the largest growth in its endowment in fiscal year 2021 (FY21), increasing $332 million to a total value of nearly $1.3 billion. This represents the biggest jump ever in the university’s consolidated endowment.
Rowe has served as the university’s 28th president since July 2018 and her initial contract was set to run through June 2023. The amended contract will be effective July 2022. At that time, her annual salary will increase from $540,750 to $600,000. According to the terms of the contract, the president’s deferred compensation will be $175,000 and she also remains eligible for 15% in additional compensation based on an annual performance evaluation by the Board. Littel said both are standard parts of many higher education executive contracts, including several within Virginia. In preparing for the extension offer, Littel said the Board researched salaries of university leaders across the country. Rowe’s current compensation is below many in Virginia and at peer institutions, he said.
“William & Mary is a world-class research and liberal arts university and deserves this world-class leader,” Littel added. “And as we launch Vision 2026, and shape William & Mary’s future, it is essential that we have a capable and visionary leader and an advocate for the liberal arts. President Rowe and her team are developing and implementing a plan to position William & Mary well for success. We are poised to move forward on many fronts under her leadership.”