W&M President Rowe to Speak at Fall Meeting

by Phoebe Kent, The Voter co-editor

The Williamsburg League’s fall program features The College of William & Mary’s new president Katherine A. Rowe. The October 10 event at Legacy Hall begins at 4:30 pm. A reception will follow President Rowe’s remarks.

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In July The College of William & Mary began an exciting new chapter; its 28th president is a recognized leader, teacher, scholar, and entrepreneur – and its first woman president. Prior to William & Mary, Rowe held a number of leadership positions in higher education.

From 2014 to 2018, she was provost, dean of the faculty, and Sophia Smith Professor of English Language & Literature at Smith College. She is deeply interested in design thinking, entrepreneurship, and the digital humanities and has been nationally recognized as an innovator in higher education. During her tenure, Smith transformed its liberal arts curriculum, greatly increased diversity in faculty hiring, launched one of the first statistical and data sciences majors at a liberal arts college (and the first at a women’s college) and broke national fundraising records for women’s colleges.

Prior to joining Smith, Rowe spent 16 years at Bryn Mawr College as an English professor, department chair and director of the Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center for leadership and public engagement. Before that she was an assistant professor of literature at Yale. Rowe is cofounder and former CEO of Luminary Digital Media, which developed a series of educational apps enhancing student engagement and learning of classic Shakespearean texts.

Rowe earned a bachelor’s degree in English and American literature from Carleton College and a master’s and a PhD in English and American literature from Harvard. She has completed graduate work in Cinema and Media Studies at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Her areas of research and scholarship include Shakespeare, Milton, Spenser, Medieval and Renaissance drama and media history.

Rowe has coached Ultimate Frisbee and led multiple teams to state championships in Pennsylvania. She was a World Ultimate Club Finalist and a Women’s Nationals Finalist. She and her husband Bruce Jacobson have two adult children, Danny and Beah.

Unanimously elected by William & Mary’s Board of Visitors in February, President Rowe was officially sworn in on July 2. She describes her goal for her first semester as one of “sustained, strategic listening” to all elements of the community. We are indeed fortunate to have this early opportunity to meet and hear her.