Summary of the April 2019 Board of Trustees meeting

Dear faculty, staff and students,

As many of you know, last week the Board of Trustees held their April 2019 meeting. Following is a summary of topics and votes from April’s plenary sessions. You can always find archived reports in the News from the Board section of

  • I provided the Trustees with an update on strategic planning, including the process of finalizing the rosters for the eight working groups and draft charges for community input, which we will circulate to the wider Williams community by the end of April.
  • Associate Vice President for Finance Matt Sheehy and Chief Information Officer Barron Koralesky led a discussion on the college’s business continuity plans.
  • Many Trustees participated in a lunch and discussion with members of our Ad Hoc Committee on Inquiry and Inclusion, to hear about how they’re progressing in their work this semester.
  • Pam Franks, our new Class of 1956 Director of the Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA), discussed the museum’s exciting programming, teaching, and exhibitions, as well as challenges and opportunities from WCMA’s recent accreditation report.
  • Provost Dukes Love presented his annual overview of college finances. The Board later approved a fiscal year 2020 budget of $249.1 million, which is $6.2 million (2.5%) higher than projections for FY 2019. It includes a $3.6 million (5.9%) increase in financial aid, reflecting the college’s need-seeking admissions policy and commitment to meet all demonstrated need.
  • Trustees received an update on the college endowment from Chief Investment Officer Collette Chilton. Investment Office Managing Director Abigail Wattley ’05 also talked to the Board about our portfolio.
  • Vice President for College Relations Megan Morey offered her latest update on progress of the Teach It Forward campaign. With just three months remaining in the campaign, 74% of Williams alumni have given more than $673 million for priorities including financial aid, faculty support, the new Science Center, CLiA, and the Class of ’68 Center for Career Exploration, among other priorities.
  • The Board approved the re-election of Trustees Greg Woods ’91 and Sarah Underhill ’80, for second terms effective July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2026.
  • The Board also approved the election of a new alumni trustee whose term will run from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2024. We’ll update the Trustees website with their information following a final vote by the Society of Alumni during this year’s Reunion Weekend.

On Thursday evening Trustees met with faculty from across campus, including the Board’s Executive Committee having their annual meeting with the Faculty Steering Committee, and the alumni trustees met with the Executive Committee of the Williams Society of Alumni, whose spring meeting ran concurrently with the Board meeting. On Friday Trustees dined at WCMA with the Arts Council, which includes the chairs of Williams’ arts departments, and learned about their work on the college’s arts curriculum and programming.

During their time on campus Trustees also heard from a number of members of the Williams community sharing concerns about campus climate. Among them, students from a group called CARE Now conveyed their views to the Board on a variety of issues via flyers and banners. Two Trustees then met with representatives of CARE Now on Saturday to hear their concerns in detail. Subsequently, the board has followed up in writing and I have offered to meet with the students as well to discuss the issues they have raised.

As always, I appreciate the Board’s dedication to helping us manage our financial and human resources. Their care for Williams’ wellbeing is characterized by a respect—notable in this day and age—for the value of shared governance. I want to thank them for their partnership, and look forward to sending you another update after our June meeting.