The Board of Visitors’ Friday decision to forgo a national presidential search and install former Interim President Taylor Reveley as the 27th president of the College of William and Mary has received positive reviews from campus leaders, though some concerns remain regarding the amount of student input considered.
Justin Reid ’09, the president of the College’s chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, approved of the decision but said that the process left many on campus voiceless.
“Most people like Reveley, but wish they could have been part of the process,” he said.
Reid — who has worked with Reveley to revamp the College’s strategic plan — said the new president is committed to positive change.
“The strategic plan is more important than criticizing the board or their actions,” he said. “It’s a more productive way to move forward.
Student Assembly President Valerie Hopkins ’09 echoed Reid’s sentiments.
“I’m confident that Reveley is going to be great, and nothing should detract from that,” she said.
Hopkins, however, did express some concern that students’ viewpoints went unheard.
“I don’t think it would have been bad to get more opinions,” she said. “They didn’t make a means through which anyone could state their opinion. An e-mail address, something as simple as that, was not done.”
Both Reid and Hopkins participated in forums held by BOV Rector Michael Powell ’85 earlier in the school year. The forums were designed to garner student input in the presidential search process. According to Reid, the students at his meeting were supportive of appointing Reveley to the permanent post.
College administrators were equally approving of Reveley.
Provost Geoff Feiss praised Reveley’s work over the past seven months in the interim role and was pleased with his appointment to the permanent post.
“It’s clear we have a leader in place that can keep the ship afloat,” he said.
Vice President for Administration Anna Martin said that she was “very happy” with the board’s selection of Reveley.
“The board talked with faculty, talked with staff, talked with students, talked with alumni to get an understanding of how they would feel about this,” she said. “The board wouldn’t have moved forward if they didn’t have support.”
Community leaders, including Williamsburg Mayor Jeanne Zeidler, are also pleased.
“He will be a really great president. He already was a great president,” Zeidler said. “President Reveley has a really good understanding of how intertwined the city and the College are.”
Reveley spoke to a crowd gathered in the Great Hall of the Wren Building Friday.
“Just as I have not been merely a caretaker while interim president, neither will I be simply a transitional president during my next few years,” Reveley said. “I will do my level best to make a serious difference for the better at the College of William and Mary as its 27th president.”