Higher Education

GVSU business dean emerges as next president of Fisk U.

December 5, 2012
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GVSU business dean among finalists for Fisk U. president
GVSU’s Seidman School of Business embraces “changing technology” in its classrooms, and faculty are charged with preparing students for the global economy. Photo via fb.com

H. James Williams is now a president.

Williams, Grand Valley State University’s dean of the Seidman College of Business, was informed today by Fisk University that he has been selected as its president.

Williams said he is very excited to take the job at the renowned, historically black college, believing his business, ecumenical and leadership experience at GVSU has prepared him for such a position.

“I believe my experience here has prepared me for leadership at Fisk, and I just want to end on a note of gratitude for this place,” he said. “The leadership at Fisk understands I believe in the Fisk legacy and the future of Fisk. I’m convinced we can do things so Fisk enjoys the right type of future. They determined from an analysis that I’m the right fit.”

GVSU and Fisk officials still have to sit down with Williams to work out a mutually convenient transition from Allendale to the Nashville school, he said. Current Fisk President Hazel O’Leary will retire on Dec. 31, and although Williams wasn’t sure of a specific date for when he’ll be taking over for O’Leary, he is expected to be at his new job by February 2013.

As to who will be taking over his role at GVSU, Williams said he doesn’t know, but he is confident that the team he leaves behind will step up and perform admirably.

A number of professional and caring responses came his way when word got out about the new job, he said, leaving no doubt in his mind that his colleagues will miss him as much as he will miss them.

 “We’ve got a great group of leaders in the college right now, so I have no doubt the college will continue to flourish,” he said. “This is a closing chapter in our lives and our work. After a great eight-and-a-half years together, it’s a little bittersweet for all of us saying goodbye.” 

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