The Davis Center seeks to ensure that all students can thrive and to foster a more inclusive environment benefitting the entire community, by advancing broad campus engagement with complex issues of identity, history, and cultures as they affect intellectual, creative, and social life.
Williams's fundamental goal is to educate high-achieving, intellectually curious, ambitious students who want to leave the world, and Williams, better than they found it.
Today, through the Davis Center Initiative, we are investing in students who fall under the purview of the Davis Center, by expanding our most successful initiatives and building out new ones to meet the needs of current and future students.
From the founding idea of a center that "serves the unique social and cultural needs of students of color and international students" the impact and vision have grown as Williams has become more diverse. We have been creating, evaluating, and evolving, and expanding programs to meet student needs for generations, but the college--and society at large--must do more.
Williams is a microcosm of our country and all of its complicated heterogeneity. We are proud to be at the forefront of trying, experimenting, and evolving with our students, faculty, and staff as we consider how to fashion an equitable and inclusive environment for every person on campus. We won't always get it right, but we will never stop working at it.
- The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion strategic plan working group issued recommendations in fall 2019.
- President Mandel adopted that report in the draft strategic plan released in April 2021.
- President Mandel wrote to the campus about community building in October 2020.
The Alumni Fund is key to supporting the month-to-month work of building community and creating an equitable environment where every student feels a sense of belonging and ownership. You can positively impact these efforts by making your gift here.
For more than three decades, the buildings comprising the Davis Center (known before 2012 as the Multicultural Center) have been the physical, intellectual, and programmatic heart of our campus-wide effort to build an inclusive community. The renovation and reconstruction of Rice and Jenness Houses will create a center with universal access and increased space to accommodate student gatherings, meetings, dialogue, classes, socializing, and studying.
The new Davis Center will welcome everyone, with a particular focus on those from historically underrepresented identities. With modernized space built for current and future needs, The Davis Center will be a vastly more pleasant and effective hub for the education, activism, community building, academic exploration, well-being, and celebration that happens within. It will provide the space for students to dream bigger dreams about a more inclusive Williams as well as a more inclusive society, and then space for them to work to realize those dreams.
For many Williams students, the Davis Center is the "living room" of their Williams experience and with this investment, the Center will make manifest the real value we place on the social, emotional, and academic growth of all of our students.
The Davis Center building project site will track the progress of the design and construction.
Established in 1999, the Allison Davis Research Fellowships (ADRF) provide opportunities for students from traditionally underrepresented groups to spend their last two undergraduate years in partnership with faculty mentors, honing their research and analytic skills preparing for graduate school and life in the academy.
In twenty years, 63 Fellows have gone on to earn terminal degrees, 23 have completed PhDs, 14 are currently in their Ph.D. programs, and 19 are now teaching at top colleges and universities around the country.
With philanthropic support, we could nearly double the number of students we serve--jumping from 10 to 18 Fellows--and expand on our important legacy of graduating top scholars who spread the educational spirit and intellectual drive of Williams to colleges across the country.
Through myriad internships, fellowships, and job shadowing, Williams ensures the student experience moves well beyond the classroom and the campus.
Williams provides support for a wide variety of internships that enhance and deepen learning and give students the chance to explore new pathways. As a component of our Davis Center Initiative Williams seeks to enhance support for internships in the specific area of social/racial justice.
Students today are looking for their time at Williams to provide more than classroom learning; they want to have an immediate impact on the world around them. To that end, internships that advance equity through social and particularly racial justice allow students to learn alongside advocates and promote initiatives that matter to them and to the world.
Through the Summer Science Program and the Summer Humanities and Social Science Program, students come to campus for five weeks before their first year to take courses, refine their quantitative reasoning, hone skills, familiarize themselves with the campus, connect with advisors, enjoy cultural activities, and to build a cohort of peers who further buoy their success.
Currently about 400 students are invited each year to fill 50 spots. With new endowed funding, we can expand each of these programs dramatically