News

Davidson Taps Williams College Molecular Biologist as New Academic Affairs VP

by Davidson College

Wendy E. Raymond, Professor of Biology and former Associate Dean for Institutional Diversity at Williams College, will become Davidson College's Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty on August 1.

As the chief academic officer for Davidson College, Raymond will lead the college's 170 full-time faculty members and a half-dozen associated administrative officers to advance the college's academic mission. Raymond's core responsibilities will be recruitment, support and evaluation of faculty members and administrative staff, development of the curriculum, and management of the division's $35 million budget.

"Wendy brings a creative and thoughtful vision for the future of a liberal arts education," said Davidson College President Carol Quillen. "Her infectious spirit and commitment to innovation, collaboration, community, and diversity epitomize our community - and we are thrilled to embark with her on a shared future for Davidson."

In her 19 years at Williams, Raymond has become a leader on campus and known nationally for the promotion of innovative undergraduate education and diversity initiatives. Raymond served as Williams College's inaugural Associate Dean for Institutional Diversity, working with department chairs on inclusive hiring practices and mentoring faculty of color. Her work on the national scale includes writing a successful grant proposal to sponsor a series of "Symposia on Diversity in the Sciences" to bring together administrators, faculty and students from colleges and universities committed to building and sustaining inclusive science programs.

A molecular biologist, Raymond has taught a variety of biology courses at Williams, including genomics, immunology, genetics, biochemistry and molecular biology. Her research uses molecular genetics to discover how cell division responds to signals from some of life's most ancient and important cellular components. Raymond has received several top teaching prizes, including Faculty Member of the Year at Williams and the Harvard Danforth Center Teaching Award. She currently serves on the Congressionally-mandated Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering (CEOSE). That committee advises the director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) on policies and practices that encourage full participation of underrepresented groups in scientific and engineering fields.

"Wendy has a proven track record of strong, transparent, collaborative leadership in many contexts within her institution and outside it," said Davidson College Professor of Biology Karen Hales, who headed the committee charged with seeking candidates for the VPAA position. "We believe she will be dedicated to working vigorously and creatively to help Davidson reinforce its strong identity as a liberal arts college and shape curricular initiatives for the future."

Raymond has an undergraduate degree in chemistry from Cornell University and earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from Harvard in 1990. She spent four years studying genetics as an American Cancer Society post-doctoral fellow at the University of Washington and joined Williams as an assistant professor of biology in 1994.

Raymond's spouse, David Backus, is a lecturer in geosciences at Williams. The couple has a 17-year-old son, Caleb Raymond. Dave and Caleb will remain in Williamstown during Caleb's final year in high school (2013-14); Dave will join the Davidson faculty in Environmental Studies in 2014.

"I am so excited to join the Davidson community," said Raymond. "I believe the school is poised for great things, and I look forward to being a part of it. It is a rare honor to be invited to join such exceptionally talented and aspiring students, staff, and faculty."

Raymond will replace Clark G. Ross, who has held the post for the past 15 years. Following a year-long sabbatical, Ross will rejoin Davidson's economics department as a full-time faculty member.

About Davidson College
Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,900 students located 20 minutes north of Charlotte in Davidson, N.C. Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently regarded as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Through The Davidson Trust, the college became the first liberal arts institution in the nation to replace loans with grants in all financial aid packages, giving all students the opportunity to graduate debt-free. Davidson competes in NCAA athletics at the Division I level, and a longstanding Honor Code is central to student life at the college.

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Wendy E. Raymond