News & Insights

When a school is looking for a new president, rumors fly and questions abound. The search process takes many months, and often confidentiality is paramount.

How can a search committee communicate with alumni, faculty, staff, and the public?

Here’s one example. We received this recently from the committee that’s searching for a new president for the College of William and Mary. We reprint it in full as an example of how to communicate to constituents during a search.


November 29, 2017

Dear W&M Alumni Community,

We write with another update on the progress of the William & Mary Presidential Search Committee.

Since our last message in September, the committee and our search consultant, Witt/Kieffer, completed listening sessions and began the process of identifying, recruiting and vetting potential candidates to become William & Mary’s 28th president. The deadline for nominating candidates was November 17.

We are pleased to report this critical phase of the search committee’s work is going very well. With Witt/Kieffer’s help, we reached broadly to identify and contact individuals who have the potential to be our next president, and we encouraged each to be a candidate. A sizable pool of highly qualified and diverse candidates emerged from this work.

We should all be encouraged that William & Mary’s outstanding reputation, led by our academic excellence, is fueling considerable interest in the position. It is especially affirming for those of us on the search committee to share with potential candidates the story of the institution’s progress as well as our ambitions for the future. William & Mary’s brand is strong, and the current pool is reflective of this fact.

In the coming weeks, the committee’s work will move from finalizing the candidate pool to deciding whom to interview. Confidentiality remains critical in order to attract highly talented individuals. Indeed, many candidates hold significant positions of leadership.

Interviews will take place early in the new year. The committee remains mindful the Board of Visitors has asked for no more than three recommended names by February 15, 2018.

As a reminder, the search website is located at

If you have any questions, please contact us at

Again, thank you for your participation in this vitally important process to the future success of William & Mary.
Best regards,

H. Thomas Watkins III ’74
Vice Rector and Chair
Presidential Search Committee

Todd A. Stottlemyer ’85
Rector and Vice Chair
Presidential Search Committee

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