Williams President Adam Falk Named President of Sloan Foundation

Contacts: Mary Dettloff, Williams College, [email protected]
Nathan Williams, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., June 29, 2017—Williams College President Adam Falk and Williams College Board of Trustees Chair Michael R. Eisenson ’77 today announced that Falk is stepping down as president on December 31, after eight years of service.

Falk has accepted the presidency of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in New York, a position he will assume in January 2018. The foundation makes grants primarily to support original research and education related to science, technology, engineering, mathematics and economics.

“I arrived in the Purple Valley in 2010 and the ensuing years have been among the most gratifying of my career,” Falk said in a message to the campus community and alumni. “It makes me genuinely happy, looking back, to see what together we’ve achieved. Williams is attracting even greater numbers of passionate, insightful and diverse students. We’re making this place accessible to people who couldn’t consider coming here otherwise. We are renewing our campus and making major investments in its sustainability. We’re hiring and supporting the deeply committed faculty and staff who define this college. And our loyal alumni are giving and volunteering in ways that help students thrive at Williams and build successful and rewarding lives after graduation.”

“Adam has been an exceptionally fine president for Williams,” Eisenson said in a message to the college community. “He has demonstrated a keen ability to appreciate and retain the best of Williams traditions, while encouraging the College to grow through a genuine openness to innovation, always with the education and wellbeing of our students foremost in mind. His departure will be a loss for the College and the community, and I will personally miss his wisdom, friendship, and his deeply thoughtful and principled leadership.”

Under President Falk, Williams has flourished, Eisenson said, pointing to Falk’s efforts enhancing the college’s national leadership in liberal arts education, maintaining and growing its commitment to access, recruiting accomplished and sought-after scholars to join the faculty, building highly effective leadership teams, opening the award-winning Sawyer Library, launching work on a major new center for the sciences, and inspiring record-breaking alumni support for the Teach It Forward campaign.

Falk came to Williams in April 2010 to become the College’s 17th president. From 2006 to 2010 he served as the James B. Knapp Dean of the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins, following four years of service as Dean of the Faculty and Interim Dean. A high-energy physicist and award-winning teacher whose research focuses on elementary particle physics and quantum field theory, Falk is a fellow of the American Physical Society and a winner of awards from the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, the Research Corporation, and the Sloan Foundation.

Falk was as a Morehead-Cain Scholar from the University of North Carolina, graduating with a B.S. in 1987, and he earned his Ph.D. in 1991 from Harvard University. He held postdoctoral appointments at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center and the University of California, San Diego, before joining the faculty at Johns Hopkins in 1994.

A search committee chaired by Eisenson will be announced at a later date.

Read the announcement by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.


Founded in 1793, Williams College is the second-oldest institution of higher learning in Massachusetts. The college’s 2,000 students are taught by a faculty noted for the quality of their teaching and research, and the achievement of academic goals includes active participation of students with faculty in their research. Students’ educational experience is enriched by the residential campus environment in Williamstown, Mass., which provides a host of opportunities for interaction with one another and with faculty beyond the classroom. Admission decisions on U.S. applicants are made regardless of a student’s financial ability, and the college provides grants and other assistance to meet the demonstrated needs of all who are admitted.