The William & Mary Board of Visitors unanimously voted Friday to confirm its current leadership: Charles Poston J.D. ’74 P ’02, ’06, Barbara L. Johnson J.D. ’84 and Ardine Williams were elected to new terms as rector, vice rector and secretary, respectively. 

“I am honored to continue in this role during such an important time in the university’s history,” Poston said. “I very much appreciate the confidence of my colleagues on the board and look forward to working closely with President Rowe and the entire W&M community to advance the needs of the institution, the Commonwealth and the nation. I am especially thankful for the willingness of Vice Rector Johnson and Secretary Williams to continue in these important leadership roles.”

The rector of the university serves as chair of the Board of Visitors, the governing body of the institution. The officers’ new terms begin July 1, 2024.

President Katherine A. Rowe expressed appreciation for the elected leaders of the board and their leadership advancing key priorities within Vision 2026, the university’s strategic plan. 

“We are fortunate in the wise, principled leadership of Rector Poston, Vice Rector Johnson and Secretary Williams,” Rowe said. “William & Mary continues to evolve the liberal arts and sciences. In the past two years, we have hit major, strategic milestones. I am grateful to the board for their expertise and strong commitment to this work.”

Charles E. Poston J.D. ’74, P ’02, ’06

Charles Poston

Poston was first appointed to the board of visitors in 2019 and reappointed in 2023. 

Following his retirement as a judge in 2014, Poston currently works with the McCammon Group – a provider of mediation, arbitration and other services. His judicial service, spanning over two decades, was honored by a resolution from the Virginia General Assembly.

During his judicial career, first with the Norfolk Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court and then with the Norfolk Circuit Court, Poston served as a chief judge for four and three years respectively. He served as a member of Lawyers Helping Lawyers, the Judicial Council of Virginia and the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee, which he also chaired. Additionally, he was the presiding judge for the first Mental Health Court in Virginia.

Previously, Poston had practiced law privately in Hampton Roads, serving as chair of the Citizens Advisory Council, vice chair of the Virginia Health Services Cost Review Council and as an administrative hearing officer.

Poston, also a former adjunct faculty member of W&M Law School, Averett University and St. Leo College (now St. Leo University), obtained his J.D. from William & Mary Law School in 1974, following a B.A. from the University of Richmond and an M.A. from the University of Virginia.

His wife, Anita Owings Poston J.D. ’74, is also a graduate of W&M Law School. She served on the W&M Board of Visitors from 2003 to 2011 and is a member of the W&M Real Estate Foundation Board of Directors. Two of their children are also William & Mary graduates.

Barbara L. Johnson J.D. ’84

Barbara L. Johnson

Johnson is the founder of BLJohnsonLaw and counsel with Potter & Murdock PC, a women- and minority-owned law firm where she represents management in labor and employment matters. An employment lawyer, workplace consultant and public speaker with over 30 years of experience, she has represented a wide array of employers ranging from Global 50 companies to nonprofit organizations.

Johnson advises employers on the complete range of workplace issues and litigates and serves as trial counsel, investigator, arbitrator and mediator for employment disputes. She also advises organizations on diversity and inclusion strategies; and is the co-host of “Today’s Workplace,” a podcast focusing on the intersection of employment law and human potential.

Johnson was appointed to the Board of Visitors in 2017 and reappointed in 2021; currently, she serves as vice chair of the board’s executive committee, chair of the Committee on Academic Affairs, and a member of the Richard Bland College Committee.

A Fellow of the American Bar Association College of Labor & Employment Lawyers, Johnson obtained her B.S. from Hampton University and her J.D. from the William & Mary Law School in 1984. Her husband, J. Michael Payne, is an honorary 2017 alumnus of the law school.

Ardine Williams

Ardine Williams

Currently employed as a consultant, Williams previously worked at Amazon for eight years – most recently serving as vice president for workforce development, focusing on the company’s HQ2 in Arlington, Virginia. In this role, she worked closely with community and state leaders to develop a strong and digitally fluent talent pipeline for the region.

Before Amazon, she worked in various positions at Intel Corporation, Hewlett Packard and Behring Company.

A U.S. Army veteran known for supporting veteran hiring, Williams was honored with a Seven Seals Award from the U.S. Secretary of Defense. At Intel, she served as executive sponsor of American Veterans; and was a member of the White House’s Joining Forces Initiative industry working team and the President’s Job Council working team.

Williams was appointed to the William & Mary Board of Visitors in 2021; alongside her role as executive committee secretary, she chairs the Committee on Administration, Buildings and Grounds, and is a member of the Committee on Audit, Risk and Compliance and of the Richard Bland College Committee.

Williams has a B.A. from Pacific Lutheran University and completed the executive program at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

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