Morty Schapiro was a very impressive and effective president at Williams — he set the standard. He was present and personable, engaged and available on campus. He quietly prided himself in knowing each Williams student by name and something about them, so that when you saw him walking across campus, he would greet you by name and might stop to briefly ask you about your sports team’s recent struggles or accomplishments or how your workload is coming in that particularly tough Economics class you are taking that semester.
The students, alums and faculty (so far as I could tell) loved and respected Morty. He is the best speaker I have ever heard in academia. He rarely talked for more than 5 or 10 minutes, even at major occasions, but you sat with your gaze riveted to the dais, lest you miss a word. He would say fresh, insightful things, appropriate to the occasion, laced with his characteristic understatement, humor and dry wit (much of it self-deprecating), and you found yourself ruminating on his remarks hours or days later. He rarely made himself or his role the focus of his remarks. He was comfortable in his own skin, and it put everyone else at ease and made you feel comfortable as well. In an elite, innately competitive environment like Williams, that is no small feat.