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Release: Dec. 11, 2002

Gregory Williams, former UI law professor, is first on-campus candidate for UI president

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Gregory H. Williams, president of The City College of New York and a former University of Iowa law professor and administrator, will visit the UI campus Thursday, Dec. 12 to interview for the position of UI president. Williams will meet with faculty, staff, students and community leaders throughout the day. He will also participate in a 4 p.m. symposium on "The Future of Public Higher Education" in the Richey Ballroom of the Iowa Memorial Union. The symposium is open to the public.

Williams has held the presidency of City College since 2001. He is also a professor of law and political science at that institution, which is part of the City University of New York in New York City. City College consists of 11,000 students and seven schools and divisions, including architecture, arts and humanities, education, engineering, science, social science, and the Sophie Davis School of Medicine.

Williams was associated with the University of Iowa from 1977 until 1993, when he left to become dean and Carter C. Kissell Professor of Law and Political Science at The Ohio State University College of Law in Columbus, Ohio. While at OSU's law school, he led a major fund-raising campaign, securing $57 million for the school to fund 50 endowed scholarships, six endowed chairs and three professorships.

The candidate is also an award-winning author for his autobiography, "Life on the Color Line: The True Story of a White Boy Who Discovered He Was Black" (Dutton NAL Press, New York, 1995). The book won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in 1995 and in 1996 was named the outstanding book on the subject of human rights by the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in North America.

He came to the University of Iowa in 1977 as associate professor, assistant dean and director of admissions for the College of Law. He was promoted to professor of law in 1983 and served as associate dean of the College of Law from 1983 to 1987. From 1991 to 1993, he served as associate vice president for academic affairs with responsibility for retention, diversity, international programs, athletics, and student discipline.

Williams began his professional career in 1963 as a deputy sheriff for the Delaware County Sheriff's Department in Muncie, Ind. From 1966 to 1970, he was a public school teacher in Falls Church, Va. He was a legislative aid with the United States Senate from 1971-73; a coordinator of community service programs with George Washington University in Washington, D.C. from 1973-75; and a lecturer at the National Law Center at George Washington University from 1974-77.

The candidate earned a bachelor of arts degree in social science and Spanish in 1966 from Ball State University and a master's degree in government and politics in 1969 from the University of Maryland. He holds three advanced degrees from George Washington University: a J.D. (1971) as well as a master of philosophy (1977) and a doctorate (1982) in political science.

The National Association of Public Interest Law named Williams Dean of the Year in 1999. That same year, he was also named the first recipient of the National Bar Association's A. Leon Higginbotham Jr. Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Preservation and Promotion of Human and Civil Rights.

Williams currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Council on Legal Education Opportunity and on the Commission on Minorities in Higher Education of the American Council on Education. He was president of the Association of American Law Schools from 1999-2000 and served on that association's executive committee from 1997-2001. He also served on the Board of Directors for the National Association for Public Interest Law in 2001.