Office of the President

February 13, 2019

Dear Gardner-Webb family,

It’s my great privilege to announce, on behalf of the Board of Trustees, that Dr. William M. Downs has been named Gardner-Webb University’s 13th president. Dr. Downs currently serves at East Carolina University (ECU) as the dean of the Thomas Harriot College of Arts & Sciences in Greenville, N.C. He will begin his term as GWU’s President on July 1.

A distinguished academic leader and accomplished administrator, Dr. Downs brings decades of experience to GWU. In his current role at ECU, he administers 16 academic departments and 17 interdisciplinary degree programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, which has more than 6,000 arts and sciences undergraduate majors and more than 730 graduate majors. In his role as dean of the Thomas Harriot College of Arts & Sciences, he also ensures the quality of general education curriculum for more than 23,000 undergraduate students.

A North Carolina native, Dr. Downs earned his Bachelor of Arts from North Carolina State University and his Master of Arts and Doctoral degrees from Emory University. He has been a research fellow at Harvard University’s Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, a graduate research associate at the Carter Center’s African Governance Program and a Fulbright Research Fellow in Belgium.

I want to thank the Search Committee members for their work and especially committee chair David Royster for his leadership throughout this year-long search.

I am delighted to welcome Dr. Downs to Gardner-Webb. He brings vision, academic depth, and significant leadership experience to the position. We expect great things ahead.

Best regards,

Jennifer Marion Mills
Chair, Board of Trustees