President William L. Fox

William L. Fox '75

William L. Fox ’75 is the 18th president and a senior lecturer in the Department of History at his undergraduate alma mater, St. Lawrence University.

From 2003 to 2009, he served as president and senior lecturer in philosophy, religion, and history at Culver-Stockton College in Missouri. In the previous five years, Fox was special assistant to the president at Goucher College in Maryland. Earlier in his career, he served as a faculty member at Claremont Theological School, Montgomery College, and Howard University. 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.

President Fox is unwavering in his belief that a liberal arts education is the best investment with the greatest return possible in both moral and material terms. He credits his liberal arts background as the foundation for his own personal and professional varieties of opportunity. He describes a liberal arts degree as intrinsic and personal in accrued value, one that opens doors and possibilities, never sealing anyone’s fate.

A St. Lawrence experience, he says, is distinguished from other university experiences by a deeply-rooted sense of community with shared values and respect for diversity. It emphasizes “Three R’s”: Relationships, Research, and Rhetoric. He constantly affirms the university’s commitment that every student will deeply connect with a professor, an administrator, or coach who will positively influence her of his life as the one who made a difference; that every student will have access to resources for significant primary research and experiential learning in his or her discipline; and that every student will graduate with sharpened abilities for oral and written communications.

As a scholar, President Fox has published three books: a study of Harvard theologian Willard L. Sperry (1991), Lodge of the Double-Headed Eagle: Two Centuries of Scottish Rite Freemasonry (1999), and the award-winning Valley of the Craftsmen (2001). He also was the founding and general editor of a 10-volume book series in church history studies by Peter Lang Publishing.  

President Fox has a variety of published essays on the necessity of liberal arts learning in Inside Higher EducationBest 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. In 2015, he was appointed to the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (cIcu) Board of Trustees.

President Fox is married to Lynn Smith Fox. The Foxes have one daughter, Hallie, a graduate of Middlebury College, Hunter College and Stanford University, who works in high school education. President Fox is a fourth generation native of Washington, D.C.

Today, St. Lawrence has a total enrollment of around 2,500 students from 45 states and 47 countries, the broadest geographical representation ever in the university’s 160-year history. Currently, 360 students are alumni legacies. The Class of 2019 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 its student body.