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Two appointed, two reappointed to William & Mary Board of Visitors

  • A composite photo of Ardine Williams and John Rathbone
    New board members:  Ardine Williams (left) is the vice president of workforce development at Amazon’s HQ2, and John Rathbone (right) — the father of two W&M alumni — is a former chief financial officer for Norfolk Southern Corporation. They will begin four-year terms on July 1. Mirza Baig and H. Thomas Watkins III '74 will rotate off the board after completing their terms June 30.  
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New members bring expertise in business, workforce development

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam today appointed two new members to William & Mary’s Board of Visitors: John Rathbone and Ardine Williams. The governor also reappointed Barbara L. Johnson J.D. '84, currently serving as secretary of the board, and J. E. Lincoln Saunders '06 to second terms.

Williams is the vice president of workforce development at Amazon’s HQ2, and Rathbone — the father of two W&M alumni — is a former chief financial officer for Norfolk Southern Corporation. They will begin four-year terms on July 1. Barbara L. Johnson J.D. '84, currently serving as secretary of the board, has been reappointed.Mirza Baig and H. Thomas Watkins III '74 will rotate off the board after completing their terms June 30.

“We thank Gov. Northam for his continued support. These appointments reflect the governor’s strong commitment to advancing higher education across the Commonwealth and here at William & Mary,” said President Katherine A. Rowe. “We welcome Ardine and John to the board. Each brings important insight to the opportunities facing higher education today as we prepare our students to thrive in a rapidly changing workforce.

“We are delighted that Barbara and Lincoln continue as colleagues on the board. The board and university leadership will benefit from their valuable perspective and experience. At the same time, we are forever grateful to Mirza and Tom. Their dedicated service helped us navigate an unprecedented era in our history, and their leadership and support were vital to our success.”

The Board of Visitors, which is led by Rector John E. Littel P '22, includes 17 members and serves as the primary governing body for the university.

J. E. Lincoln Saunders '06 has also been reappointed to a second term.“We are thrilled to continue the work of the board the past four years with Barbara and Lincoln,” Littel said. “Both will serve important roles going forward. As we look forward, we are also eager to engage our new board members, Ardine and John. I know the university will benefit greatly from their unique experiences and expertise.”

“We thank Mirza and Tom for their guidance and their impact as board members,” Littel said. “Tom played a central role in setting the course for the university’s future by leading the search committee that selected President Rowe. Mirza was an engaged colleague, and his contributions were especially helpful as we addressed the financial challenges of the past two years.”

John Rathbone

Rathbone joined Norfolk Southern’s predecessor, Norfolk & Western Railway Co., in 1981. He held multiple auditing roles for the company before being named vice president and controller in 1992. He became senior vice president in 2003 and executive vice president of administration in 2004.

In 2012, the company named Rathbone as its executive vice president of finance and chief financial officer. He retired in 2013 after 32 years with Norfolk Southern and continued as an independent consultant for the company until 2015.

Prior to his work with Norfolk Southern, he worked as a senior auditor for KPMG, formerly Peat Marwick Mitchell.

Rathbone is a native of Alexandria, Virginia, and a graduate of Virginia Tech, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history and English. After his graduation from Virginia Tech, he took accounting classes at William & Mary.

The father of Jay Rathbone ’02, M.Acc. ’03, and David Rathbone ’05, M.B.A. ’11, he chaired the Parent and Family Council and is an emeritus trustee of the William & Mary Foundation. He is also a former member of the W&M Foundation Board. Inspired by his two sons, Rathbone made a $1 million commitment in 2015 to the Raymond A. Mason School of Business at William & Mary in support of its Master of Accounting and M.B.A. programs.

Ardine Williams

Williams has worked at Amazon since 2014, starting as vice president for Amazon Web Services talent acquisition. She became vice president of people operations in 2017, and two years later, she moved into her current role as vice president for workforce development.

In that position, she is responsible for advising businesses across Amazon on talent attraction and development and has focused on accelerating the company’s initiative to re-train 100,000 employees by 2025 for careers in high-demand fields. She also works closely with community and state leaders and serves on the Washington Education Investment Oversight and Accountability Board and the Greater Washington, D.C., Partnership CoLAB (Collaborative of Leaders in Academia and Business) Advisory Board.

Before Amazon, Williams served in multiple roles at Intel Corporation from 1997 to 2014. Most recently, she served as vice president of human resources enterprise services. Prior to her time at Intel, Williams worked in the NetServer Division of Hewlett Packard and in various positions for Behring Company.

Williams is a graduate of Pacific Lutheran University and completed the executive program at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

A U.S. Army veteran, Williams has become known for her work in recruiting military veterans and their spouses. She served as the executive sponsor for American Veterans at Intel and represented the company in meetings about veterans issues and immigration with multiple government agencies. Williams was also a member of the White House’s Joining Forces Initiative industry working team and the President’s Job Council working team. Among her many accolades is a Seven Seals Award from the U.S. Secretary of Defense.

Returning board members

Johnson, who earned her law degree from William & Mary and founded BLJohnsonLaw PLLC, serves as secretary of the Board of Visitors. She is also a former member of the Board of Trustees of the William & Mary Law School Foundation and previously served as its president and vice president (2012-2014). Appointed to the Board of Visitors in 2017, she was a member of the Committee on Administration, Buildings and Grounds; vice chair of the Richard Bland College Committee; and co-chair of the Committee on Organizational Sustainability & Innovation.

Saunders, who received a bachelor’s degree in government from William & Mary and started his career in government while a student at the university, is chief of staff to the mayor of the City of Richmond and acting chief administrative officer. He was appointed to the Board of Visitors in 2017 and served on the Committee on Audit, Risk and Compliance and the Committee on Institutional Advancement. He was also vice chair of the Committee on Administration, Buildings and Grounds.

Departing board members

Baig, partner and co-founder of Aldrich Capital Partners, was appointed to the Board of Visitors in 2017 and served on the Committee on Academic Affairs. He was vice chair of the Committee on Financial Affairs, chair of the Investments Subcommittee and co-chair of the Committee on Organizational Sustainability & Innovation. He is also the father of a member of the Class of 2024.

Watkins, who earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from William & Mary, most recently served as president and CEO of Human Genome Sciences. He was appointed to the Board of Visitors in 2013 and reappointed in 2017. During his tenure on the board, he served on the Committee on Financial Affairs and as co-chair of the Committee on Organizational Sustainability & Innovation. In addition to serving as vice rector, he was also vice chair of the Investments Subcommittee. Watkins also previously chaired the William & Mary Foundation and was chair of the Presidential Search Committee for the 28th President of William & Mary. He is the father of two W&M alumni and son of former William & Mary Rector Hays Watkins.