Maud S. Mandel, Williams’ 18th president, earned a B.A. from Oberlin College in 1989 and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in history from the University of Michigan in 1993 and 1998, respectively. She started at Brown University as a visiting assistant professor, eventually becoming professor of history and Judaic studies and dean of the college—roles in which she served until joining Williams as president in July 2018.
An accomplished historian, President Mandel has examined how policies and practices of inclusion and exclusion in 20th-century France have affected ethnic and religious minorities, most notably Jews, Armenians and Muslim North Africans. She has explored these themes in publications including In the Aftermath of Genocide: Armenians and Jews in Twentieth-Century France (Duke University Press, 2003) and Muslims and Jews in France: History of a Conflict (Princeton University Press, 2014). She was also a co-editor of Colonialism and the Jews (Indiana University Press, 2017). Her scholarship has been recognized with fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies and the American Philosophical Society, among others.
Throughout her career as an educator and leader, President Mandel has also been deeply involved in efforts to advance diversity and inclusion. At Brown she worked closely with students and staff to create the First-Generation College and Low-Income Student Center (FLiCenter), the first center at any Ivy League school dedicated to supporting first-generation students. She has also stewarded major initiatives to foster retention for historically underrepresented students in the STEM fields, promote curricular innovation, strengthen student learning in the core competencies of a liberal arts education, and promote internships and community-based learning programs that help students connect their academic, service and life goals.
In addition to her leadership role, President Mandel holds the title of Professor of History. She lives in Williamstown with her husband, Steve Simon, and their children, Lev and Ava.