Presidents of the College of William and Mary

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A Note About The Contents Of This Wiki
Unfortunately, many of the early original records of the College of William and Mary were destroyed by fire, military occupation, and the normal effects of time. The information available here is the best available from known documents and sources at the time it was written. Information in this wiki is not complete as new information continues to be uncovered in the SCRC's collections and elsewhere. Researchers are strongly encouraged to use the SCRC's access tools for their research as the information contained in this wiki is by no means comprehensive.

17th-18th Century

Rev. James Blair, Febuary 1693 - his death on April 18, 1743

Rev. William Dawson, July 18th, 1743 - his death on July 1752

Rev. William Stith, August 13th, 1752 - his death on September 10, 1755

Rev. Thomas Dawson, November 1st, 1755 - his death on November 29, 1760

Rev. William Yates, Fall, 1760 - his death in December 1764

Rev. James Horrocks, late 1764/early 1765 - leaving for England on June 21, 1771. There is some uncertainty surrounding Horrocks' starting date as President because of the unknown date of Yates' death. Horrocks died on March 20, 1772.

Rev. John Camm, June 21, 1771 - Spring 1777. Camm was the interm president from June 21, 1771 to March 20th, 1772, while Horrocks was away and ill in England. He became the official president on July 30, 1772. Camm was also removed from his position in Spring 1777, because of his loyalist sympathies.

Rev. James Madison, Fall 1777 - March 6, 1812. Though Madison was the president during the remainder of the American Revolution, the college was closed from June 1, 1781 to October 1782, due to the conflict.

19th Century

Rev. John Bracken, Spring 1812 - resignation on October 1, 1814

Dr. John Augustine Smith, October 1814 - resignation in June 1826

Rev. William Holland Wilmer, June 1826 - early 1827. Wilmer served as the interm president from June 1826 to October 16th, 1826, when he was formally elected President. He served until his death in early 1827.

Rev. Adam Empie, early 1827 - resignation in summer 1836

Dr. Thomas Roderick Dew, October 1, 1836 - death in Paris on August 5, 1846

Dr. Robert Saunders Jr., June 17, 1847 - July 1848. Saunders announced his resignation in 1848 on November 9, 1847.

Rev. John Johns, July 1, 1849 - resignation in 1854

Dr. Benjamin S. Ewell, 1854 - closure of the college on May 10, 1861 due to the Civil War. Ewell managed to reopen the college on October 1, 1869 with mostly his own funds, and stayed the president until William and Mary's closure due to lack of attendance in July 1881. In 1888, the college was reopened with state funds, and Ewell was still the president until his resignation on May 11, 1888.

Dr. Lyon G. Tyler, August 23, 1888 - June 30, 1919; resignation on February 11, 1919. Tyler formally left the office on June 30, 1919.

20th Century

Dr. Julian A.C. Chandler, Elected to the office on March 14, 1919, and officially became President on July 1, 1919. Chandler served until his death on May 31, 1934.

Dr. John Stewart Bryan, July 1, 1934 - January 1, 1943; resignation on April 11, 1942. Bryan officially left the office on January 1, 1943.

Dr. John Edwin Pomfret, Elected on August 17, 1942 and formally became president on Jaunary 1, 1943. Pomfret resigned September 13, 1951.

Dr. Alvin Duke Chandler, October 9, 1951 - May 1960, when Chandler became Chancellor of the College of William and Mary system. Chandler stayed on as Chancellor, then Honorary Chancellor of the system until 1974.

Dr. Davis Young Paschall, August 16, 1960 - August 1971; announced retirement in November 1970. Paschall's retirement was effective August 1971.

Dr. Thomas Ashley Graves, Jr., September 1, 1971 - January 1985. Graves announced his resignation in November 1983, with an original effective date of July 1985. In November 1984, he changed that date to January 1985, after accepting the directorship of the Winterthur Museum in Delaware.

Dr. Paul R. Verkuil, July 1, 1985 - early 1992. Verkuil announced his resignation on September 25, 1991.

Dr. Timothy J. Sullivan, July 1, 1992 - June 30, 2005

21st Century

Dr. Gene Ray Nichol, Jr. July 1, 2005-resignation on February 12, 2008. Nichol resigned effective immediately due to the Board of Visitors decision to not renew his contract which would have expired on June 30, 2008.

Dr. W. Taylor Reveley III, February 12, 2008-September 5, 2008 served as Interim President; September 5, 2008-present serving as President. Then Dean of the Marshall Wythe School of Law, Reveley was appointed to assume the duties of the president when Gene R. Nichol resigned on February 12, 2008. The resolution formally naming Reveley interim president was passed by the Board of Visitors executive committee on February 22, 2008. The Board of Visitors named Reveley President on September 5, 2008.

Interim Presidents

John Camm, June 21, 1771 - March 20, 1772. Camm was the interim president while College President Horrocks was away and ill in England. He became the official president on July 30, 1772. Camm was removed from his position in Spring 1777, because of his loyalist sympathies.

William Holland Wilmer, June 1826 - October 16, 1826. Wilmer served as the interim president until he was formally elected president, serving until his death in early 1827.

Benjamin S. Ewell, July 1848 - resignation on October 5th, 1848. Ewell served as the interim president after Saunders and before Johns. While the Board of Visitors elected Ewell to the Presidency earlier in 1848, Ewell declined their offer, but agreed to stay on until the Board found another candidate. When the board failed to do that in a timely manner, Ewell resigned, forcing them to find another President.

Dean Kremer J. Hoke, Summer 1933 - Fall 1933; January 1934-June 30, 1934. Hoke assumed the duties of the president when Chandler's health was in decline beginning in the summer of 1933 until he was well enough to resume his position as President. Hoke then reassumed the duties of President in early 1934, once again due to Chandler's declining health. After Chandler's death on May 31st, 1934, Hoke became the interim president until June 30th, 1934.

James W. Miller, September 18, 1951-October 11, 1951. Miller was a Chancellor Professor who served as acting president in the interim between President Pomfret's resignation to take over the Huntington Library and the appointment by the Board of Visitors of Alvin Duke Chandler as College President.

George R. Healy, January 9, 1985-June 30, 1985. Healy was provost at the College of William and Mary. He assumed the role of acting president after President Graves resigned to assume leadership of Winterthur and before President Verkuil assumed the presidency.

Melvyn D. Schiavelli, January 7, 1992-June 30, 1992. Schiavelli was provost at the College of William and Mary. He assumed the duties of the president after President Verkuil resigned to become CEO of AAA and before President Sullivan assumed the presidency.

W. Taylor Reveley, February 12, 2008-September 5, 2008. Dean of the Marshall Wythe School of Law, Reveley was appointed to assume the duties of the president when Gene R. Nichol resigned on February 12, 2008. The resolution formally naming Reveley interim president was passed by the Board of Visitors executive committee on February 22, 2008. The Board of Visitors named Reveley President on September 5, 2008.

External Links

Office of the President

Past Presidents of the College of William and Mary

William and Mary webpage of Former President Gene R. Nichol

William and Mary webpage of Former President Timothy J. Sullivan


Need help?

To search for further material, see Finding Materials in the SCRC for an introduction to the SCRC Collections Database, card catalogs, Flat Hat-William & Mary News-Alumni Gazette index, etc.

Questions? Contact the SCRC at spcoll@wm.edu or 757-221-3090, or visit the Special Collections Research Center in the Earl Gregg Swem Library at the College of William and Mary (hours).


A Note About The Contents Of This Wiki
Unfortunately, many of the early original records of the College of William and Mary were destroyed by fire, military occupation, and the normal effects of time. The information available here is the best available from known documents and sources at the time it was written. Information in this wiki is not complete as new information continues to be uncovered in the SCRC's collections and elsewhere. Researchers are strongly encouraged to use the SCRC's access tools for their research as the information contained in this wiki is by no means comprehensive.