On Wednesday, June 19, while Muhlenberg students were inputting data into Excel documents at their internships, tanning at the beach in the summer heat or perhaps even travelling the world without the limitations of classes, their Berg email inboxes were filled with something else besides the daily Berg Bulletin. At about 2:15 p.m., The Board of Trustees emailed the campus community announcing the resignation of President John I. Williams Jr.
Williams has been serving as the 12th President of Muhlenberg since July 2015. Since graduating from Amherst College and obtaining a J.D at Harvard Law School and an M.B.A at Harvard Business School, he has accumulated a range of experience in education, leadership, entrepreneurship and innovation. He has maintained strong connections to his alma mater, with Amherst alumni electing Williams to the Board of Trustees in 1984.
Williams’ resignation generates a shift in leadership at ‘Berg. Provost Kathleen Harring will serve as interim president and former Dean of Academic Life Bruce Anderson will now serve as interim provost. All of these new leadership roles are effective immediately.
“I am truly honored to serve as Interim President of Muhlenberg. I am passionate about this community and this College, and the opportunity to continue the work with such dedicated faculty, staff and students to achieve the goals of the strategic plan made the decision to accept this new role an easy one,” expresses Harring. “I look forward to collaborating with the Muhlenberg community to strengthen our great College.”
Harring emphasizes that her goals for the upcoming school year will follow the path of the Muhlenberg Opens Doors Strategic Plan. In addition, she will focus on issues associated with diversity, equity and inclusion.
“Provost Kathleen Harring is a lovely person and will make an amazing interim president during this period of change in our campus community,” reflects Haley Hnatuk ‘20.
The email announcing this leadership change included an outline of Williams’ time and accomplishments as president. The Board of Trustees applauded Williams for his approach to fostering community with the adoption of the strategic plan and master plan, as well as providing students with a beneficial professional network through more alumni connections.
“I will truly miss the leadership that Williams had and I am excited to see what the future holds,” says Connor Baker ‘22.
Another student, who has chosen to remain anonymous, notes, “I’m so much more surprised than I am sad.”
More information regarding this change in campus leadership will be provided throughout the summer as it becomes available.