Gregory H. Williams
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Gregory H. Williams
Gregory Howard Williams
28th President of University of Cincinnati

Nancy L. Zimpher
Santa J. Ono
11th President of the City College of New York

Stanford A. Roman Jr., interim; Yolanda T. Moses, President
Robert "Buzz" Paaswell, interim; Lisa Staiano-Coico, President
14th Dean of Moritz College of Law

Francis X. Beytagh
Nancy H. Rogers
Personal details
Alma materGeorge Washington University

Gregory Howard Williams is a scholar, attorney, law school professor, author, and formerly the 27th President of the University of Cincinnati (2009 to 2012)[1] and the 11th President of the City College of New York (2001 - 2009).[2][3][4]

Early life and education

Williams was born November 12, 1943 in Indiana,[5] but grew up in Gum Spring, Virginia, until his parents separated, and his father lost his business. At the age of ten years old, Williams and his brother moved to Muncie, Indiana [6] where his father had family, and he first became aware of his father's African American heritage.[7] Despite a period of confusion about his own identity, Williams embraced his father's passion for education.[8]

Williams earned a bachelor of arts degree from Ball State University in 1966, where he paid tuition by earning money as a deputy sheriff in the Delaware County Sheriff's Department in Muncie, Indiana, from 1963 to 1966. Between 1966 and 1970, Williams taught classes in Virginia state government and history George Mason Junior - Senior High School in Falls Church, Virginia. In 1969, he earned a master's degree in government and politics from University of Maryland. Williams earned a J.D. from George Washington University in 1971. From 1971 to 1973, Williams was a legislative assistant to Senator Vance Hartke (D-Indiana) of the United States Senate, Washington, D.C.. In 1977, Williams earned a master's degree in political science, and in 1982, a doctorate in political science, both from George Washington University with a thesis "Legal and political problems of police discretion".[9][10] He also earned an MBA from Mercy College (New York).[11]


Williams joined the University of Iowa Law faculty in 1977, where he taught criminal law, criminal procedure, and legislation. Williams was faculty scholar from 1990 to 1993. At Iowa, Williams served as Associate Dean of the Law School, from 1977 to 1993, where he oversaw admissions, financial aid, student and faculty recruitment, and student support, and he served as Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs from 1991-93.[12]

From 1975 to 1977, he consulted to the Foreign Lawyer Training Program in Washington, DC. He was a member of the Iowa State Advisory Commission to the United States Civil Rights Commission from 1978 to 1988, and a member of the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy Council from 1979 to 1985.[13]

Williams was appointed visiting professor on faculty of law at Durham University, Durham, England, from 1984 to 1986, and visiting scholar at Selwyn College at Cambridge University, Cambridge, England, from 1986 to 1987.

From 1991 to 1993, he held the position of Associate Vice-President for Academic Affairs at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. From 1993 to 2001, Williams held the positions of Carter Kissell Professor of Law and Dean of the Michael E. Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University.[14][15] While Dean, the size of the faculty increased by 40 percent, the number of named chairs and professorships doubled, and $25 million was raised from alumni of approximately 7,000 graduates.[16][17]

College presidencies

In 2001, Williams was appointed to the position of the 11th President of the City College of New York - the flagship campus of the City University of New York system. His appointment followed his tenure as a law school dean at Ohio State from 1993, where Williams taught courses in criminal law, and he raised $25 million and hoversaw the increase of the school's endowment by about 50-percent.[18] During his tenure as dean of the law school at Ohio State, Williams also served as the president of the Association of American Law Schools, and his autobiographical book, Life on the Color Line: The True Story of a White Boy Who Discovered He Was Black, (Dutton, 1995) won the 1995 Los Angeles Times Book Award.[19][20][21] Prior, the City University of New York Trustees pressured former College president Yolanda T. Moses to resign in 1999. Thereafter, Stanford A. Roman Jr.,[22] dean of CUNY's medical school, served as interim president of City College, to begin to redirect the campus.

Under his presidency of the City College of New York Williams achieved a decade of growth. Enrollment increased by 60 percent and academic standards improved significantly; nearly 90 percent of the student body continue to represent racial minority groups.[23][24] Williams successfully oversaw the first capital campaign at City College,[25] raising more than $230 million and effectively establishing a culture of philanthropy, and more than double City College's research funding.

During his tenure as president of the City College of New York, Williams served as Chair of the Commission on Access, Diversity, and Excellence (CADE) of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. Williams moderated and presented at the 2001 Association of American Law Schools annual meeting.[26][27] Upon his departure, Williams left behind a City University of New York campus in Harlem, New York, where more than one-third of the students are Hispanic, and nearly 30-percent are African or African American, and half are born outside of the United States of America. In total, ninety languages are spoken on campus.[28]

Williams began his tenure as president of the University of Cincinnati on November 1, 2009.[29] During William's first year in the office of president, he launched a strategic plan, UC2019 - Accelerating Our Transformation, which took its name from the university's upcoming bicentennial year.[30] During his presidency at the University of Cincinnati, enrollment reached an historic level; the university established a new health system.[31][32][33] In 2012, Williams resign from the position of president, citing personal reasons.[34] That same year, Williams chaired the search for a new commissioner of the Big East Conference.[35]

Professional recognition

Williams has been recognized for his contributions in scholarship, academic leadership, and fundraising. In 1998, President Bill Clinton invited Williams to join the United States President's Call to Action to promote diversity and pro bono legal services. The following year, Williams was selected by the National Association of Public Interest Law (NAPIL) as Dean of the Year. That same year, the National Bar Association awarded Williams the A. Leon Higginbotham Jr. Award for Contributions to the Preservation of Human and Civil Rights.[36]

Notably, he received the National Bar Association's A. Leon Higginbotham Jr. Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Preservation of Human and Civil Rights (1999); Governor's Tribute to African-American Leaders of Excellence in State Service (2004) from New York Governor George Pataki; Austrian Decoration for Science and Art in the Division of for Science and Art, Vienna, Austria (2006); Proclamation of Dr. Gregory Howard Williams Day and Honorary Mayor-President by Mayor Kip Holden of Baton Rouge, Louisiana (2006); Key to the City from Mayor Daniel Canan of Muncie, Indiana (2006);[37]Langston Hughes Award from The City College of New York for contributions to the Arts and Letters (2009); Bridges for a Just Community Distinguished Service Citation (2012); and George Washington University Law School Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award (2015).[38] Williams is also honored by the Gregory H. Williams Chair in Civil Rights & Civil Liberties of the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University.[39]

Williams also received honorary doctorate degrees from the California Western School of Law (1997), Ball State University (1999),[40]College of Wooster (2000), New York Law School (2009),[41]Skidmore College (2010),[42] and Columbia University (2016).[43]

Corporate and public boards

  • Independent Trustee, Franklin Templeton, Franklin Managed Trust and Value Investors Trust, San Mateo, California, 2008- [44]
  • Finance Committee, Nominations Committee, Independent Director, Urban America Fund II, 2005 -
  • Chair, Iowa Law Enforcement Academy Council, 1982-83, 1985, Vice-Chairperson, 1981-82,1984-85; Member, 1980-85, appointed by the Governor of Iowa for two terms, and confirmed by Iowa State Senate
  • Chair, Iowa Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights, 1983-1985; Member 1978-1988


Williams published autobiography, Life on the Color Line: The True Story of a White Boy Who Discovered He Was Black - was awarded the 1995 Los Angeles Times Book of the Year.[45][46] The term the color line, a reference to racial segregation, was famously used in an article "The Color Line" by Frederick Douglass, published in the North American Review(NAR) in 1881, and repeated by W. E. B. Du Bois, in his book The Souls of Black Folk, in 1903.

Williams' own account is a reflection on his life growing up as the son of a white mother and a father who passed for white and identified himself as Italian American.[47][48] At age 10-years-old, Williams moved from his home in Virginia to Indiana, where he learned his father was African-American.[49]

Williams' book Life on the Color Line was awarded the Outstanding Book on the Subject of Human Rights in North America by the Gustavus Myers Center for Human Rights.[50][51] Williams has been a featured author on Dateline NBC, Larry King Live, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Nightline, NPR, and public lectures.[52][53] His book has been cited in academic journals [54][55] and syllabus.[56]


  • Williams, G. H. (1995, 1999, 2014). Life On The color line: The true story of a white boy who discovered he was black. New York, N.Y: Dutton.[57][58][59]
  • Williams, G. H. (1986). The Iowa guide to search and seizure. Iowa City: University of Iowa.[60]
  • Williams, G. H. (1984). The law and politics of police discretion. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press.[61]

Articles and other contributory publications

  • Williams, Gregory H. (1998) "Transforming the Powerless to the Powerful: the public responsibility of law school." 1, New Mexico Law Review Journal, 28, 17 pages.[62]
  • Williams, Gregory H. (1993) "Controlling the Use of Non-Deadly Force: Policy and Practice," 10 Harvard Black Letter Journal 79, 25 pages.
  • Williams, Gregory H. (1992) "Teaching Criminal Law: 'Objectivity' in Black and White," 9 Harvard Blackletter Journal 27, 16 pages.
  • Williams, Gregory H. (1991) "The Supreme Court and Broken Promises: The Gradual but Continual Erosion of Terry v. Ohio," Criminal Justice Symposium, 34 Howard Law Journal 567, 22 pages.
  • Williams, Gregory H. (1990) "America's Drug Policy: Who are the Addicts?" 75 Iowa Law Review 1119, 15 pages.
  • Williams, Gregory H. (1990) "Good Government by Prosecutorial Decree: The Use and Abuse of Mail Fraud," 32 Arizona Law Review. 1, 35 pages.
  • Williams, Gregory H. (1989) "Police Discretion: A Comparative Perspective." 64 Indiana Law Journal 873, 33 pages.[63]
  • Williams, Gregory H. (1987) "Where is Freedom: Federal or State Constitutions?" 30 Howard Law Journal 799, 7 pages.
  • Williams, Gregory H. (1989) "Police in the Dock: Law or Fact?" Criminal Law Review 719, 7 pages.
  • Williams, Gregory H., et al. (1986). Discrecin?, justicia y democracia: Una perspectiva de la polt?ica pb?lica. Mx?ico: Noema.
  • Williams, Gregory H. (1984) "Police Rulemaking Revisited: Some New Thoughts on an Old Problem." 47 Law and Contemporary Problems 123, 61 pages.[64]
  • Williams, Gregory H. (1984) "Use of Citations in Lieu of Custodial Arrest." Report of the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy Council to the Iowa General Assembly.
  • Williams, Gregory H. (1983) "Police Discretion: The Institutional Dilemma--Who Is In Charge?" 68 Iowa Law Review 431, 63 pages.


  • Williams, G. H., Brown, T., Smith, K., & Ashby, W. (2006). The man who is black and white--not half white. New York: Tony Brown Productions Inc.[65]


Born Gregory Howard Williams on November 12, 1943, in Muncie, Indiana; the son of James Anthony, a businessman, and Mary, a homemaker, Williams married Sara Catherine Whitney, (m. August 29, 1969) Their children are Natalia Dora, Zachary Benjamin, Anthony Bîadîmir, Carlos Gregory.[66]


  1. ^ "Dr. Gregory H. Williams". The City Club of Clevland. Retrieved 2016.
  2. ^ Simon, Ellis (September 9, 2009). "CCNY President DR. Gregory H. Williams Resigns To Become President Of University Of Cincinnati". The City College of New York. City University of New York.
  3. ^ Holmes, Marie (October 2002). "College President Series: Gregory H. Williams: President, City College". Education Update, Inc.
  4. ^ Mabunda, L Mpho; Phelps, Shirelle (1996). Contemporary Black biography. Volume 11 : profiles from the international Black community. Detroit, Mich: Gale Research Inc. ISBN 9781414435398.
  5. ^ "Gregory H. Williams | The HistoryMakers". Retrieved .
  6. ^ Moten-Foster, Bea; et al. (May 5, 2002). "Gregory Howard Williams". Muncie Times. Muncie, Indiana: The Muncie Times. 11 (9).
  7. ^ Perry, Michael (December 8, 2009). "UC's new president has a powerful story to tell". CBS Interactive.
  8. ^ "The History Makers: The Nation's Largest African American Oral History Collection". Retrieved 2007.
  9. ^ Williams, Gregory Howard (1982). Legal and political problems of police discretion (Ph.D. thesis). George Washington University. OCLC 10315748.
  10. ^ Rieselman, Deborah. "New UC president Gregory Williams embraces diversity". UC Magazine. University of Cincinnati.
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Gregory H.Williams". University of Iowa Law Library. The University of Iowa. Retrieved 2016.
  13. ^ "Williams, Gregory 1943". Retrieved 2016.
  14. ^ Arenson, Karen W. (March 27, 2001). "Ohio Law School Dean Is Named As New President of City College". NY Times.
  15. ^ Lassiter, Luke E (2004). The other side of Middletown : exploring Muncie's African American community. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press. p. 41. ISBN 0759104832.
  16. ^ "Prominent Law School Dean Gregory H. Williams Named City College President". CUNY. The City University of New York. March 26, 2001.
  17. ^ Rose, Derek; Hutchinson, Bill (March 27, 2001). "11th CCNY Prez Named -- Ohio law school dean, author to head school". Daily News.
  18. ^ Arenson, Karen W. (March 18, 2001). "2 Law School Deans Are Finalists for City College Presidency". The New York Times.
  19. ^ Arenson, Karen W. (December 12, 2002). "The President Of City College May Leave Post". The New York Times.
  20. ^ Graff, E. (December 10, 2001). "Being Black and White". The American Prospect.
  21. ^ "Midwestern Law School Dean Assumes City College Presidency". CUNY Matters. City University of New Yorkj. Retrieved June 2001. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  22. ^ Wallace, Robert (November 1999). "The Pinch-Hitter President: Dr. Stanford A. Roman, Jr". The Messenger.
  23. ^ Foderaro, Lisa W. (September 9, 2009). "President of City College Is Taking Helm at Cincinnati". NY Times.
  24. ^ Rivers, Voza; Williams, Lloyd A (2006). Forever Harlem: Celebrating America's Most Diverse Community. Champaign, Ill.: Sports Pub. p. 256. ISBN 9781596702066.
  25. ^ Mwamba, Jay (May 25, 2006). "CCNY'S 160th Commencement Set For June 1; President Gregory Williams To Address Graduates". City College of New York. City University of New York.
  26. ^ Chander, Anupam; Coates, John C; Association of American Law Schools (2001). "AALS scholarly paper presentation". Millersville, MD: Recorded Resources Corp. OCLC 45763678. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  27. ^ Association of American Law Schools. Annual Meeting;; Association of American Law Schools, section on Student Services (2001). "Treading the waters : public interest values - law school and beyond". Millersville, MD: Recorded Resources Corp. OCLC 45753904. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  28. ^ Rieselman, Deborah. "New UC president Gregory Williams embraces diversity". University of Cincinnati.
  29. ^ Foderaro, Lisa W. (September 9, 2009). "City College President Leaving for Cincinnati". The New York Times.
  30. ^ Peale, Cliff (September 8, 2009). "UC set to name new president". Cincinnati Enquirer.
  31. ^ "Office of the President, University of Cincinnati: Gregory H. Williams". University of Cincinnati. Retrieved 2016.
  32. ^ "Gregory H. Williams Chosen To Lead UC". University of Cincinnati Foundation.
  33. ^ "Five Graduates Receive Alumni Achievement Award". GW Today. George Washington University. Retrieved 2015.
  34. ^ Stripling, Jack (August 21, 2012). "U. of Cincinnati President Resigns Abruptly, Citing 'Personal Reasons'". The Chronicle of Higher Education.
  35. ^ Weiss, Dick (May 7, 2012). "John Marinatto resigns as commissioner of Big East Conference, Joseph A. Bailey III takes over on interim basis". NY Daily News.
  36. ^ Grofman, Bernard; Federal Judicial Center (2000). Legacies of the 1964 Civil Rights Act : [...papers given at a 1994 conference..., held at the Federal Judicial Center]. Charlottesville, Va.: University Press of Virginia. p. xiii. ISBN 0813919207.
  37. ^ "Ex- Muncie resident visits alma mater to talk about his life on the Color Line". 16 (5). The Muncie Times. March 16, 2006. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  38. ^ "Two Graduates Receive Alumni Achievement Award". George Washington University. Retrieved 2015.
  39. ^ "Is Perception Blind: Understanding Breakthrough Mind Science Research on Racial and Other Biases". The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation.
  40. ^ "Conferment of Honorary Degrees: Gregory H. Williams, Doctor of Humanities" (PDF). Ball State University. May 8, 1999.
  41. ^ "President of The City College of New York, Gregory H. Williams, to Speak at New York Law School Commencement May 15". New York Law School.
  42. ^ "Skidmore College to honor Clive Gillinson, Gwen Ifill, Gregory Howard Williams with honorary degrees at 99th commencement". Saratogian News. The Saratogian. May 10, 2010.
  43. ^ "Racial Passing and Masquerade in American Culture from the Mid-Nineteenth Century". Department of English and Comparative Literature. Columbia University. Retrieved 2016.
  44. ^ "Gregory H. Williams Ph.D., J.D."
  45. ^ "The Los Angeles Times Book Prizes 1995". The Los Angeles Times. September 24, 1995.
  46. ^ Williams, Gregory H. (October 29, 2003). "A Line Through a Nation's Soul". Los Angeles Times.
  47. ^ Haynes, Monica L. "Passing: How posing as white became a choice for many black Americans". PG Publishing Co., Inc. Retrieved 2003.
  48. ^ Delgado, Richard; Stefancic, Jean (1997). Critical white studies : looking behind the mirror. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press. pp. 493-498. ISBN 9781439901519.
  49. ^ Metress, Christopher (2002). The lynching of Emmett Till : a documentary narrative. Charlottesville, Virginia: University of Virginia Press. pp. Chapter 5. ISBN 081392121X.
  50. ^ Parrott, Steve (December 11, 2002). "Gregory Williams, former UI law professor, is first on-campus candidate for UI president". The University of Iowa News Service. University of Iowa.
  51. ^ A multicultural reader. Collection two (Many voices literature series) (2nd ed.). Logan, Iowa: Perfection Learning Corporation. 2008. pp. 462 pages : illustrations, 23 cm. ISBN 9780789171498.
  52. ^ "What's New : Dr. Williams Program". The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.
  53. ^ "CI to host Author Gregory H. Williams". California State University Channel Islands.
  54. ^ Williams, Tyrone (2009). Masterplots II. / African American literature 4 Pos - Z (1st ed.). Pasadena, Calif.: Salem Press. pp. S. LXXVII - XCI, S. 1557-2046. ISBN 9781587654428.
  55. ^ "Today's best nonfiction : Robert Timberg; Gregory Howard Williams; Andrew A Rooney; Jeffrey Good; Susan Goreck;". Reader's Digest. Pleasantville, New York: Readers Digest Association. 36 (1): 573 pages : illustrations, portraits, 24 cm. 1995.
  56. ^ "Living In The Shadow Of Family Secrets". National Public Radio. Retrieved 2011.
  57. ^ Williams, Gregory Howard (1995). Life on the color line : the true story of a white boy who discovered he was black. New York: Dutton. ISBN 9780525938507.
  58. ^ Williams, Gregory (1999). Life on the color line: The true story of a white boy who discovered he was black (Special Ball State University ed.). New York: Plume. ISBN 0613035364.
  59. ^ Williams, Gregory Howard (2014). Life on the color line : the true story of a white boy who discovered he was black. New York: Plume. ISBN 9781440673337.
  60. ^ Williams, Gregory Howard (1986). The Iowa guide to search and seizure. University of Iowa. ISBN 0874140447.
  61. ^ Williams, Gregory Howard (1984). The law and politics of police discretion. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0313240701.
  62. ^ "New Mexico Law Review" (PDF). 28 (1). Albuquerdue, New Mexico: University of New Mexico Law: 1-18. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  63. ^ Williams, Gregory H. "Police Discretion: A Comparative Perspective". Indiana Law Journal. Retrieved 2016.
  64. ^ Williams, Gregory Howard (October 1, 1984). Allen, Ronald J (ed.). "Police Rulemaking Revisited: Some New Thoughts on an Old Problem". 47. Law and contemporary problems. Durham, N.C.: Duke University School of Law. 4: 312. OCLC 908031874.
  65. ^ Williams, Gregory Howard; Brown, (Journalist), Tony; Smith, Karen; Ashby, Wally (2006). "The man who is black and white -- not half white". New York: Tony Brown Productions Inc. OCLC 881547619. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  66. ^ Stephen, Stratton (March 3, 1995). "Williams, Gregory 1943--" (Contemporary Black Biography). Detroit Free Press: 1-4. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
Academic offices
Preceded by
Nancy Zimpher
President of University of Cincinnati
2009 – 2012
Succeeded by
Santa J. Ono
Preceded by
Yolanda T. Moses
President of City College of New York
2001 – 2009
Succeeded by
Robert "Buzz" Paaswell, (interim)
Preceded by
Francis X. Beytagh
Dean of Moritz College of Law
Succeeded by
Nancy H. Rogers

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