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Dr. R. Owen Williams earned an A.B. degree in philosophy from Dartmouth College in 1974, then studied at Cambridge University in England, earning an M.A. in intellectual history in 1976 and setting his sights initially on an academic career. Instead, he began his Wall Street career at Salomon Brothers and spent more than two decades in increasingly responsible positions that took him to assignments from New York City to Tokyo.
During his 13 years with Salomon Brothers, Williams became director and global product manager for the firm's government bond department and was vice president, Salomon Brothers Asia. At Goldman Sachs, he was executive director, developing the company's real estate business in non-Japan Asia. After serving as a senior managing director at Bear Stearns, he became managing director and head of fixed income at First Union Capital Markets in Charlotte, N.C.
In 1999 Williams left the business world behind and returned to his first love, the academy. He prepared himself for a new career in academic administration by studying history and law at Yale University, where he earned a Ph.D. in American history and an M.S.L. in law. He was awarded the Raoul Berger Fellowship at Harvard Law School, the Samuel Golieb Fellowship at the New York University School of Law, the Fletcher Jones Fellowship at the Huntington Library, the Legal History Fellowship at Yale Law School, and the Cassius Marcellus Clay Postdoctoral Fellowship in history at Yale. He has published in several magazines, journals, and encyclopedias. He edited The Encyclopedia of Antislavery and Abolition (Greenwood Press) and was an articles editor for the Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities.
In addition to his previous business career, Williams came to Transylvania with considerable experience in volunteer work for non-profit organizations that included extensive fund-raising as well as the creation of strategic plans. As president of the Wilton (Conn.) Historical Society, he wrote a long-range strategic plan that expanded the organization's educational outreach. In financial campaigns for Dartmouth, St. John's College at Cambridge, the Multiple Sclerosis Society, and the Wilton Historical Society, Williams was responsible for raising millions of dollars to support their programs.Williams and his wife, Jennifer, have a son, Tucker, and a daughter, Penelope.
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