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Thoughts on Wagner

A few points of needless opinion below the fold. Click

  1. Wagner is much more familiar to faculty and staff than to current students. The senior class may have seen him for a few classes in their freshman year, but that’s it. To us, he’s a resident of Hopkins Hall that we rarely see. I hope that he can be more visible towards the end of the year, especially if there’s a significant chance he will have to continue in this role as we enter the Fall.
  2. Wagner can be the “bad guy” in the budget equation, removing any additional programs and taking heat before a new President steps in. I hope this isn’t necessary.
  3. Groundwork has been laid for a “History Coup” at Williams. The battle plans from Professor Wood’s military history class might be deployed.
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#1 Comment By Nishant On April 27, 2009 @ 1:09 pm

Big downside here is that Wagner is probably up for becoming the President on a full time as opposed to interim basis. This could create conflicts for the Presidential Search Committee. That being said, I like continuity.

#2 Comment By JeffZ On April 27, 2009 @ 1:14 pm

Rumor has it that Wagner is just a figurehead to appease the masses. In fact, David Kane (aka “Wagner’s Brain”) is the man behind the curtain, and will be pulling the strings via a series of earphones and wireless communication devices … if you don’t believe me, just wait until September when, very quietly, there is no more Office of Campus Life, students are free to live not only outside of cluters but anywhere in Williamstown, (including setting up tents on Stone Hill if they so choose), and Erin Burnett is appointed Dean of Students.

#3 Comment By JeffZ On April 27, 2009 @ 1:15 pm

Actually, Nishant, my guess is that any appointment to this role would be conditioned on an understanding that they are NOT a prospect for full time President.

#4 Comment By Nishant On April 27, 2009 @ 1:17 pm

Things can start out as Interim and transition into Full time. See Trinity as an example. I hope it is conditioned on him not being a candidate, but from my understanding he was a candidate last time round (can someone verify that?).

#5 Comment By Dick Swart On April 27, 2009 @ 1:45 pm

I may be confused, but following the excellent essays on The Ring Cycle by Parent ’12 and the continuing success of Bayreuth and the Festspeilhaus, I am optimistic about the physical changes President Wagner may bring to the campus!

#6 Comment By JG On April 27, 2009 @ 2:05 pm

Hard to know if he’ll be a candidate or not – last time they picked a trustee as interim who didn’t want to be Prez as far as I knew. Of course that time the whole process seemed a bit more last minute…and yay for Carl Vogt ’58 who stepped in – great guy.

#7 Comment By hwc On April 27, 2009 @ 2:48 pm

Going the interim president route was almost guaranteed by Schapiro jumping to Northwestern. A college can avoid an interim when a president retires with an announcement coming a year or more in advance.

It would have taken a perfect alignment of the stars for Williams to identify an immediate concensus President who was also free and clear to walk away from a current job. If that had been in the cards, it would have happened very quickly after Schapiro’s announcement.

#8 Comment By Parent ’12 On April 27, 2009 @ 7:41 pm

Dick @ 5- that’s funny about your association to Wagner, & thank you for the compliment.

I, & many current students, based on Will’s opening comment, look as if we might be more familiar with Richard than Bill. Now that I have some idea who he is, or at least his role, I hope he represents the faculty fairly in the interim.

Where would you put a Festspielhaus? Architecturally, it seems to be more in the spirit of Chapin than the new academic buildings. Maybe the architect for the new library could use it as inspiration. Unless, of course the potential library has the same fate as Valhalla.