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William and Mary's next president must address budget concerns

Contact Reporterwwright@vagazette.com

The College of William and Mary’s Presidential Search Committee must consider how candidates address the university’s tightening budget, according to the chairman of the group.

"The operating model of this place does not seem to sync up with the financial model of this place," said H. Thomas Watkins, chairman of the presidential search committee and vice rector of the college's Board of Visitors in July, adding the college's strained budget is a concern for the board. "We have not figured out how to sync the two."

The search committee meets again on Friday, and it is working with Illinois-based consulting firm Witt/Kieffer to find candidates to replace president Taylor Reveley, who is retiring in June 2018.

Warrenetta Mann, director of the college's counseling center, said it's especially important that the new president realize the college's financial position and how it affects day-to-day operations.

"In addition to being a great fundraiser, I would want this person to be a great steward of resources," she said.

A decreasing amount of state funding is part of why the college adopted the William and Mary Promise in 2013. In-state students in each incoming class since have paid more than the previous one, but tuition is frozen once they arrive on campus. Some fees have also risen.

In November 2016, the board increased tuition for in-state students by 4.4 percent. Originally, it considered a 7.5 percent increase but backed off amid pressure from the state.

Search committee members hosted three meetings on April 19 for the committee to collect input, less than a month after Reveley announced his intention to retire.

Both Reveley and predecessor Gene Nichol have law backgrounds. William and Mary last performed a presidential search in 2004, when Nichol was chosen. He stayed at W&M until 2008.

Reveley, who was dean of the college's law school at the time, also applied for the president's job during that search. He took over as interim president in February 2008 when Nichol left and shed the interim label in September 2008.

By February 2018, members plan to recommend three finalists to college's Board of Visitors.





Upcoming meeting

The Presidential Search Committee meets at 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 17 in Blow Hall.


Wright can be reached by phone at 757-345-2343.

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