John I. Williams Jr. was named the next president of Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania. When he takes office on July, he will be the first African American to serve as president of any of the 26 higher educational institutions affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Muhlenberg College enrolls about 2,500 undergraduate students. African Americans make up 3 percent of the student body.
Williams has had a successful career in business. He worked for Bain and Company in Massachusetts and then started Softbridge Microsystems. He was vice president for strategic planning at American Express and CEO of BizTravel.com.
Since 2000 Williams has worked as a higher education consultant and for the past four years was an expert-in-residence at the Harvard Innovation Lab.
Trustee Eric L. Berg, the chair of the Presidential Search Committee at Muhlenberg, stated that “John Williams is an inspiring and innovative leader with a deep and thorough understanding of the range of issues facing selective liberal arts colleges. Members of our committee were uniformly impressed by and enthusiastic about the depth and breadth of his talents and abilities to lead our institution forward.”
Williams is a graduate of Amherst College in Massachusetts and the Harvard Law School. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Below is a video of the announcement of Williams’ appointment.