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William & Mary Board of Visitors votes to renew contract for President Katherine A. Rowe

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     The William & Mary Board of Visitors unanimously voted Friday to extend the contract of President Katherine A. Rowe through June 2028. This photo was taken Feb. 20, 2018, the day W&M's Board of Visitors unanimously elected Rowe as the 28th president of the university.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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The William & Mary Board of Visitors unanimously voted Friday to extend the contract of President Katherine A. Rowe through June 2028.

In conjunction with the extension of the president’s contract, the board unanimously authorized Rector John E. Littel P ’22 to finalize the terms of the agreement by the February 2022 Board of Visitors meeting.

“The Board is grateful to President Rowe for the partnership, work and visionary leadership she has demonstrated to advance the university during unprecedented times,” Littel said. “Big opportunities and big challenges lie ahead for William & Mary, and we have enormous confidence in where President Rowe will lead us in the future.”

Rowe has served as the university’s 28th president since July 2018. Friday’s action authorizes an extension of her contract, which was set to run through June 2023.

“I am humbled by the Board’s confidence in my leadership, and grateful for the opportunity to build on the momentum we established and to continue working with such amazing people at William & Mary,” Rowe said. 

“To our students, faculty, staff, parents and alumni, it’s a great honor to serve as your 28th president. We have made great strides together over the past three years. I am enthusiastic about the path we are traveling together.”

In presenting Friday’s motion, 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. 

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.

Littel said the timing of the extension is significant. Earlier this fall, the university released the framework for Vision 2026, the comprehensive strategic planning process that will identify major actions and initiatives William & Mary will pursue over the next five years. Rowe is vital to that effort, he said.

“It is such a critical time for higher education, and institutions like William & Mary, who provide a foundation of liberal arts and sciences education combined with opportunities of a premier research university, are positioned for greatness,” Littel said. “Vision 2026 serves as a roadmap for future generations. President Rowe, and the visionary leadership she brings to the university, will lead us through it and to it.”