SOURCE: The Associated Colleges of the South

February 27, 2014 16:41 ET

Associated Colleges of the South Appoints R. Owen Williams as Next President

ATLANTA, GA--(Marketwired - February 27, 2014) - The Associated Colleges of the South has appointed R. Owen Williams, Ph.D., as its new president effective July 1, 2014. An eloquent champion for the liberal arts, Dr. Williams brings a unique blend of experience, having served as president of Transylvania University since 2010, following a 24-year career as a Wall Street investment banker and a 10-year period of scholarly preparation as a historian at Yale University, Harvard Law School, and New York University School of Law. He will succeed Wayne Anderson, Ph.D., who will retire this year, having served as the president of the 16-member consortium since its founding in 1991.

Spelman College President and Chair of the ACS Council of Presidents Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D., said, "For more than 20 years, the Associated Colleges of the South has benefited from the strong and creative leadership of Dr. Anderson, for which we are deeply grateful. Now at this important time of transition, we know the future of colleges like ours will depend on our effectiveness in communicating the power of a liberal arts education to a broad audience, our ability to share resources through imaginative collaboration, and our embrace of a bold vision for education in the 21st century. We are confident that Dr. Williams has the intellect, energy, vision, and passion to advance the mission of our uniquely diverse consortium in a powerful way. We are excited to begin this next chapter of ACS with Dr. Williams at the helm."

An experienced fundraiser and strategic planner with a strong commitment to diversity, internationalization and institutional collaboration, Dr. Williams' values and experience are closely aligned with the history and future of ACS. Commenting on his new appointment, Dr. Williams said, "The coming years promise exciting innovations in higher education and the Associated Colleges of the South are poised to lead that effort. I am incredibly honored to work with these 16 exceptional liberal arts colleges."

The current and founding ACS president, Dr. Anderson, said, "I'm pleased to welcome Dr. Williams to the ACS community to which he brings a keen interest in independent residential liberal arts colleges and universities and a commitment to enhancing opportunities for students, faculty and staff on our 16 campuses. He has a strong interest in diversity and faculty advancement, encompassing active teaching and learning, interdisciplinary studies (including gender studies, environmental studies and international studies), pedagogy, undergraduate research, engaged learning and other areas of special interest to faculty."

The president of the ACS works in collaboration with a council of academic deans to initiate and support ongoing programs of the consortium. John Beckford, Ph.D., chair of the ACS Council of Academic Deans and member of the search committee, expressed his enthusiasm for the appointment of Dr. Williams, saying "At a moment when the national dialogue is challenging independent higher education's value proposition and the relevancy of the liberal arts is receiving extensive public scrutiny, ACS can provide a valuable voice in this critical conversation. The appointment of Dr. Williams is splendid news. I'm looking forward to this new chapter in the leadership of ACS."

Dr. Williams earned an A.B. in philosophy from Dartmouth College, and then studied at Cambridge University in England, earning an M.A. in Intellectual History, setting his sights initially on an academic career. Instead, he began his Wall Street career at Salomon Brothers and spent more than two decades in increasingly responsible positions that took him to assignments from New York to Tokyo. In 1999, Dr. Williams left the business world behind and returned to his first love, the academy. He prepared himself for a new career in academic administration by studying history and law at Yale University, where he earned a doctorate in American History and a master's in Law.

Dr. Williams was awarded the Raoul Berger Fellowship at Harvard Law School, the Samuel Golieb Fellowship at the New York University School of Law, the Fletcher Jones Fellowship at the Huntington Library, the Legal History Fellowship at Yale Law School, and the Cassius Marcellus Clay Postdoctoral Fellowship in history at Yale. He has published in several magazines, journals and encyclopedias. He edited The Encyclopedia of Antislavery and Abolition (Greenwood Press) and was an articles editor for the Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities.

About Associated College of the South:
One of the leading consortia in higher education, the ACS is a distinctive consortium of 16 national liberal arts colleges located in 12 southern states -- outstanding institutions committed to becoming even stronger through collaboration. The member institutions are Birmingham Southern College, Centenary College of Louisiana, Centre College, Davidson College, Furman University, Hendrix College, Millsaps College, Morehouse College, Rhodes College, Rollins College, Sewanee: The University of the South, Spelman College, Trinity University, University of Richmond, and Washington and Lee University. During its 22 years of existence, the consortium has rendered significant service to its 30,000 students, 3,000 faculty and 5,000 staff in areas such as faculty development, interdisciplinary study, engaged learning, learning-based pedagogy, undergraduate research and the use of technology.

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