Williamsburg university names its first woman president

February 26, 2018 by  

For the first time since William & Mary was founded in Williamsburg 325 years ago, the university has named a woman as its president.

Katherine Rowe, who currently serves as a provost at Smith College, will become William & Mary’s 28th president, replacing W. Taylor Reveley III. Reveley, who has held the post for 10 years, is retiring this summer.

At Smith, Rowe has served as dean of the faculty, and provost, since 2014. She is the college’s chief academic officer. Her areas of specialization include media history, and Medieval and Renaissance drama, as well as Shakespeare.

According to William & Mary, Rowe had lead the effort to introduce digital innovation to liberal arts subjects, and as a result, transformed the curriculum at Smith. She is a hugely successful fundraiser, having broken records for money raised for women’s colleges. She also increased the diversity of the Smith faculty members.

The College of William & Mary is the nation’s second oldest college, with original plans dating back to 1618. However, an Indian uprising delayed things, and it was not until 1693 that Queen Mary II and King William III of England chartered the college. Construction began in 1695. Three U.S. presidents got their education here—Thomas Jefferson, John Tyler, and James Monroe. William & Mary also granted George Washington his surveyor’s license.

In situations like this, college officials might welcome a new colleague by creating the necessary business cards.