Welcome to the Spring 2023 Semester!

Williams students, staff and faculty,

Welcome to the first day of Spring 2023. I’m excited for the Williams community to embark on a new cycle of learning.

It was wonderful to see winter study back in action: Students dug into topics ranging from impact investing to space exploration; participated in travel courses that took them to Nashville to study songwriting, or Kyoto to learn about Japanese culture; while others delved deep into their thesis research.

There is so much activity at Williams that it would be futile to try and catalog it all in an email. But on this first day of classes I do want to celebrate the faculty colleagues who were granted tenure by the Board in January. Congratulations on reaching this milestone! I also want to acknowledge the faculty votes last fall to create an Africana Studies major and an Asian American Studies concentration. Both outcomes were the result of many years of hard work and effective advocacy by faculty, students, staff and alumni. There’s much more good academic news, too, from new grants and awards to programming being announced by the new Rice Center for Teaching.

We have major staff accomplishments to celebrate, as well. To cite one example, the Williams Dining team recently earned a major new certification. Thanks to their efforts, the Clean Cuisine kitchen at Whitman’s is now certified free from more allergens than any other location in the state. Staff are also leading and contributing to our Energy and Carbon Master Planthe Davis Center projectcampus planning and other major efforts.

Co-curricular life is in the midst of a busy year: in varsity athletics, men’s soccer advanced to the national championship, field hockey progressed to the team’s first-ever semifinal, and volleyball made it to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2014. In the arts, students, faculty and staff produced an outstanding I/O Fest, including three days of performances and film screenings, while the Williams Opera Workshop put on two wonderful shows of Mozart’s opera Magic Flute. These are just a few examples from our multifaceted community.

In addition to starting the semester, today is the first day of Black History Month: you’ll find many related events on the college events calendar. Among them is tomorrow’s Claiming Williams keynote by historian Imani Perry, author of the 2023 Williams Reads selection, South to America. Please join us for the keynotes by Professor Perry and Arshay Cooper, and an array of further programming that the Claiming Williams committee has organized around the theme of justice and institutional power. The full schedule is available on the Claiming Williams website. Thank you to all who are contributing.

This is just a bare sampling of current news, on the first day of what promises to be an energizing, academically invigorated spring. I am delighted to join you all in another new season of learning and engagement. Have a wonderful day and a great start to your semester.