Commencement Speakers also reachable through go.wlu.edu/commencement-speakers
William C. (Will) Dudley became the 27th president of Washington and Lee University on January 1, 2017. He was formerly provost and professor of philosophy at Williams College.
A Virginia native, born in Charlottesville and raised in Arlington, Dudley received his bachelor's degree, magna cum laude, from Williams in 1989 with majors in mathematics and philosophy, and an M.A. and a Ph.D., both in philosophy, from Northwestern University. He joined the Williams faculty in 1998. His area of expertise is German idealism, from Kant to Hegel. He is the author of two books, Understanding German Idealism (2007) and Hegel, Nietszsche, and Philosophy: Thinking Freedom (2002). He is the editor of volumes on Kant and Hegel and has published numerous scholarly articles. At Williams he also taught on the philosophy and economics of higher education and the spiritual significance of sports.
As an undergraduate at Williams, Dudley was captain of the water polo team, a member of the swimming and diving team, and the recipient of a Herschel Smith Fellowship to study at Cambridge University from 1989 to 1990. He worked from 1990 to 1993 for AES Corp. before pursing graduate studies at Northwestern.
Dudley received fellowships from the Williams College Oakley Center for the Humanities and Social Sciences, the American Council of Learned Societies and the Humboldt Foundation. He served as the Gaudino Scholar at Williams from 2010 to 2011, a presidential appointment to lead the Robert L. Gaudino Memorial Fund and to encourage curricular innovation and experiential learning at the college.
As Williams's provost since 2011, Dudley oversaw operations that directly support the college's academic mission, allocating budgets and positions and undertaking strategic initiatives in admission, financial aid, the libraries, information technology, the science center, institutional research, the Williams College Museum of Art, and the Zikha Center for Environmental Initiatives. He was intimately involved in aligning fundraising efforts with the college's needs, including establishing priorities for Teach It Forward: The Campaign for Williams, which was launched in October 2015 with a goal of $650 million.
Dudley serves as a trustee and vice-chair of the board at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, the public liberal arts college for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. He received a gubernatorial appointment to that board in 2010 and became the vice chair in 2015. He also served as president of the Williamstown Community Chest from 2007 to 2009 and served on the board of that non-profit for six years.
He is the father of two children, Cole and Ella.