Summary of the June 2022 Board of Trustees meeting

Dear Williams community,

The Board of Trustees held their June 2022 meeting here last week, in sync with Commencement weekend. They conducted the following business:

  • I reported on implementation of the strategic plan to date. My overview highlighted a number of priorities on which we have already made real progress, including the creation of a Center for Teaching and the launch of the Davis Center initiative, among others.  I also gave the Board a summary of responses to our announcement of Williams’ all-grant financial aid program.
  • They heard a presentation from our consultants at Sasaki about progress on flexible campus planning. This included a guided tour during which Board members were encouraged to imagine ways that a plan could foster long-term connections among our efforts in academics, wellness, dining, sustainability, accessibility, DEI and other areas of focus.
  • Vice President for College Relations Megan Morey, joined by Associate Vice President for Development Lew Fisher ’89 and Assistant Vice President for Alumni Engagement Laura Day ’04, described broad trends in alumni engagement and fundraising, and ideas for how we can continue to welcome new generations of alumni as partners in our educational mission.
  • The Trustees also voted to approve the official list of graduates, known as “degrees in course,” as is required in order for degrees to be granted.

In addition, the Board received several reports:

  • Chief Investment Officer Collette Chilton summarized the college’s investment activity and endowment performance.
  • Vice President Mike Wagner described the college’s finances, including strategies for managing the potential impacts of market volatility, rising inflation and disruptions in labor markets.
  • Vice President for College Relations Megan Morey shared information about giving and participation during this fiscal year to date.
  • Outgoing Society of Alumni president Kate Ramsdell ’97 reported on the organization’s work to support and engage our alumni community. Society presidents attend Board meetings by invitation of the Trustees.
  • The Trustees also heard reports from their committees and approved namings for various spaces on campus.

Finally, the visit happily included time for interaction with representatives of the campus community:

  • Trustees attended several small, informal dinners with staff from diverse areas of campus.
  • Members of the Board’s Executive Committee met with representatives from the Williams Staff Committee to discuss staff perspectives and experiences at Williams.
  • Members of the faculty Committee on Appointments and Promotions talked to a group of Trustees about supporting faculty recruitment and curricular development.
  • At a special dinner, the Board honored Trustee Jill Charles ’91, who concluded her term of service at this meeting, as well as Kate Ramsdell ’97, who completed her term as Society of Alumni president. I am deeply grateful to both Jill and Kate, who have been exemplary partners and friends to Williams, contributing great ideas, advice and energy throughout their tenure.

After the meeting, the Trustees attended many Commencement weekend events, including Baccalaureate, a special dinner for our honorary degree recipients and Commencement itself. Like me, they were thrilled to see so many smiling faces on Sunday!

The energy from this weekend’s celebration, the Board’s enthusiastic support for our direction and even the lovely weather combined to make this a special meeting. I feel fortunate that we enjoy the continuing support and leadership of such an extraordinary group of alumni.