The following message was sent by President Katherine A. Rowe to the campus community on Dec. 14, 2023 – Ed

Dear colleagues,

After careful analysis of William & Mary’s needs and a scan of similar roles at peer institutions, I have closed the current search for a Chief Operating Officer (COO). W&M will move forward immediately with a redefined role: Vice President for Finance & Administration (VPF&A). I’m excited to share the details of the search, which kicks off this week.

This version of the senior university operations role – Vice President for Finance & Administration – is more focused in scope than COO. Reporting to the president, the role centers on business, finance, human resources, and operational functions of the university. By narrowing the scope in this way, we expand our field of candidates. Yet by retaining finance and administrative functions in one senior role and team, we continue to reinforce William & Mary’s collaborative approach to university operations.

Here is what the new VPF&A organization looks like (these positions currently report to the president on an interim basis):

  • Associate VP for Business Affairs
  • Associate VP for Budget & Financial Planning
  • Chief Financial Officer and Comptroller
  • Chief Information Officer
  • Chief Human Resources Officer

Many thanks to Sean Hughes, Jacob Long, Melanie O’Dell, Ed Aractingi and Tawanda Johnson for their input on the future of the VPF&A organization. 

Two prior reports to the COO have been moved. Government Relations now reports up to the president via the president’s Chief of Staff, Dr. Carlane Pittman-Hampton. Public Safety now reports to Senior Vice President for Student Affairs and Public Safety, Dr. Ginger Ambler.

Members of the COO search committee have been stalwart, thoughtful, and very generous with their time this fall. I trust in their ability to support a national search for a candidate with the expertise, experience, and leadership intelligence that William & Mary needs. Members who can continue will do so, as their spring workload permits, with substitutes as needed. Given Provost Peggy Agouris’s oversight of the search for a dean for the new school, unfolding on the same timeline, SVP for University Advancement Matthew Lambert will join her as co-chair for the VPF&A search. It will be a busy spring and I thank them both for their generous, steadfast leadership.

Stay tuned for more updates in the coming weeks.

Best regards,



Katherine A. Rowe