William & Mary’s Board of Visitors today unanimously elected Katherine A. Rowe, currently provost of Smith College and a leader in digital innovation of the liberal arts, as the 28th president of the university. She will begin on July 1.
Rowe will succeed W. Taylor Reveley III, who is retiring June 30 after two decades with William & Mary, including 10 years as president. Rowe will be the first woman in William & Mary’s 325-year history to hold the presidency.
“The Board is thrilled to make this announcement and welcome Katherine Rowe to the William & Mary family,” said Rector Todd A. Stottlemyer ’85.
“Katherine is a widely respected and recognized leader, teacher, researcher, scholar, innovator and entrepreneur, and she is a passionate and articulate advocate for the importance of the liberal arts and their critical intersections with technology and research.”
He added, “We had a difficult mission: to find a leader to whom Taylor Reveley could pass the reins. In Katherine Rowe, we have found the ideal person to lead William & Mary at this point in the university’s history.”
Since 2014, Rowe has served as provost and dean of the faculty at Smith College in Massachusetts. Her areas of research and scholarship include Shakespeare, Milton, Spenser, Medieval and Renaissance drama and media history. She is deeply interested in design thinking, entrepreneurship and the digital humanities.
“It is an honor to be called to serve as the 28th president at William & Mary,” Rowe said. "Under President Taylor Reveley’s outstanding leadership over the past decade, William & Mary has become a model of intentional, mission-driven innovation in higher education. The vision of William & Mary conveyed to me over the past months, by everyone I met in this community, is so compelling: a deep appreciation of history and tradition; a commitment to fostering inclusive communities of teaching, learning and research; and an understanding of the value of change and innovation to advance a liberal arts mission. These commitments are essential to a university’s continued excellence in the 21st century. I am resolved to further that vision as we work together in the coming months and years.”
She added, “I am so excited to lead an institution that has – in addition to a premier academic program for undergraduates – distinguished graduate and professionals schools, championship athletic teams and a strong alumni culture of engagement and philanthropy. As someone who has spent 20 years at institutions with a deep commitment to educational access for students from all incomes and backgrounds, I am particularly drawn to William & Mary’s abiding commitment to serving the public interest. I look forward to working with – and learning from – the dedicated faculty and staff, talented students and William & Mary’s passionate alumni, parents and friends.”
Read the full press release.