Top stories of 2018: A change in leadership at William and Mary

This year Taylor Reveley stepped down as president of the College of William and Mary and was replaced by Katherine Rowe, the school’s first female president.

Revely announced his plans to retire at the end of the 2017-2018 school year in 2017. He had worked at the college for 20 years, with the last 10 years as president.

One of Revely’s biggest legacies at William and Mary was starting the For the Bold campaign, a fundraising campaign to raise $1 billion for the college.

“One of the first things I said when I became interim president was, ‘We basically must fend for ourselves. Any thought that the state is going to provide for us as it once did is not realistic, and we’ve got to get on the stick and do it ourselves. Which means, among other things, we have to get a lot better at raising money,’ ” Reveley said in a May interview.

When Reveley announced his retirement, the Board of Visitors created a presidential search committee which held more than 150 listening sessions throughout the country, involving nearly 1,600 people. Hundreds of emails and submissions were also received via the presidential search website.

Katherine Rowe was named Revely’s replacement as the college’s president on Feb. 20. Before coming to William and Mary, she was the provost at Smith College, a small private liberal arts college in Massachusetts.

Rowe was sworn in as the 28th president of the college by Gov. Ralph Northam at a ceremony on July 2.

“Being inducted as the 28th president of this great institution is an incredible honor,” Rowe said at the ceremony. “In 1918, we became the first coeducational public university in the commonwealth, a 100-year anniversary we celebrate this year. And I discovered there are so many firsts here. More than any other school, William and Mary has shaped the character of our country of the last three centuries.”

Rowe has used her first months as president seeking community input as to what the future of the university should be. She has hosted open in-person discussions, Twitter chats and accepted suggestions and comments through the William and Mary website.

Heymann can be reached by phone at 757-298-5828 or on Twitter at @HeymannAmelia.

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