William L. Fox '75
William L. Fox ’75 became the 18th president and a senior lecturer in history at his undergraduate alma mater on July 1, 2009, after serving as president and senior lecturer in philosophy, religion and history at Culver-Stockton College 2003-2009. He received a Master of Divinity degree from Harvard University in 1978 and a Ph.D. in American religious history from George Washington University in 1989. He is a native of Washington, D.C.
As a scholar, President Fox has published three books: a study of Harvard theologian Willard L. Sperry (1991), the award-winning Valley of the Craftsmen (2001) and Lodge of the Double-Headed Eagle: Two Centuries of Scottish Rite Freemasonry (1999). He was also the founding and general editor of a 10-volume book series in church history and a former faculty member at Claremont Theological School, Montgomery College, Howard University and Goucher College.
As St. Lawrence’s president, President Fox has focused on financial planning to achieve best efficiencies for the benefit of the St. Lawrence student body. Through a two-year, campus-wide Strategic Mapping process, he encouraged the Laurentian community to consider curricular and co-curricular innovations, to strengthen and communicate more widely the St. Lawrence story of accomplishment and value, and to continue investments in the St. Lawrence campus, in its faculty and staff, and in its alumni advocates. The University's Strategic Map that will guide its future was created in an inclusive process involving faculty, staff, students, trustees, alumni, and community members.
The St. Lawrence Promise, as the Strategic Map is titled, has four quadrants of activity: 1) improve the St. Lawrence experience for students; 2) build a wider reputation of excellence to attract students from all over the world and also recruit the best scholar-teachers for the next generation of faculty; 3) better engage and involve our alumni, parents and friends, and; 4) ensure our long-term financial strength.
With President Fox's leadership, the University has made great progress on the paths of the Map. Since 2011, for example, St. Lawrence has placed 80 students in our New York City Semester, an urban immersion experience like none other in the U.S. It has complemented the acclaimed Adirondack Semester with a Sustainability Semester, which, through the lens of science, history and government focuses on safe food production, responsible water use policy and the future of renewable energy. In 2013, the faculty modified graduation requirements to include environmental literacy. Also in 2013, the University launched a new major called Business in the Liberal Arts, designed with a rigorous structure that takes an already existing double major pattern, such as Economics and Philosophy, and hitches it to experiential learning, such as internships.
One of the goals of the Strategic Map, a Facilities Master Plan, supports the new (2014) 155-bed new residence hall, adjacent to the central Quad, the first new residence hall at St. Lawrence in nearly 50 years. The Quad itself has more a playable and level main lawn and more green space with many more opportunities for outdoor campus events. St. Lawrence has restored Herring-Cole, on the National Register of Historic Places, to a quiet study space that has the small-scale feel of a grand reading room in a famous library.
Today, St. Lawrence has the largest representation of states and countries ever in its 160-year history, with a total enrollment of around 2,440 and room for 2,500 students. Currently, 360 students are alumni legacies. The Class of 2018 will be among the top five largest during the last 30 years. St. Lawrence has the highest diversity percentages in its history with U.S. students of color and international students making up more than a fifth of our student body. A year-long study by the Presidential Commission on Diversity submitted its report to President Fox in February 2014, and faculty and staff are acting on its recommendations.
President Fox has had a national voice through published essays in Inside Higher Education, Best Practices in Higher Education and The Huffington Post, and broadcast media such as WAMC and WPBS. In recognition of his leadership in higher education, The Council of Independent Colleges elected him to its Board of Trustees in January 2011. He also serves as a team leader for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
President Fox is married to Lynn Smith Fox. (Please read Mrs. Fox's biography here.) The Foxes have one daughter, Hallie, a graduate of Middlebury College (’09) and Stanford University (’13) who works in K-12 education.