John Williams, dean of the Indiana University School of Dentistry, and Larry Singell, dean of the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences, recently received the highest honor an IU president can bestow.
Both deans will be leaving IU effective July 1, and they were given the President’s Medal for Excellence from IU President Michael A. McRobbie at recent events honoring their service to the university.
“Indiana University is enormously grateful for all of the outstanding contributions of deans Larry Singell and John Williams and the work they have done to strengthen the university and help ensure its future success,” McRobbie said. “Their excellent leadership, dedication and distinguished careers have brought great distinction to the university.”
Singell was the executive dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington for eight years and will leave IU to serve as senior vice provost for resource management at the University of Texas at Austin. He came to IU in 2011 from the University of Oregon, where he was a faculty member for 23 years and served as chair of the Department of Economics and as associate dean for social sciences. While at IU, Singell oversaw the establishment of the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design, The Media School, and the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies within the College, as well as the reorganization of the executive dean’s office.
Under Singell’s leadership, the College received more than $253 million in philanthropic gifts from more than 27,000 donors. These gifts include the largest individual gift in the history of the College, as well as generous contributions that have resulted in the naming of the Walter Center for Career Achievement, the establishment of nearly 900 new undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships, and more than 25 newly established faculty professorships and chairs.
Williams is only the ninth person to hold the role of dean in the 140-year history of the IU School of Dentistry on the IUPUI campus, and he served in the position since 2010. He also served in 2012 as interim executive vice chancellor of IUPUI, and during the 2012-13 academic year, he led the search for a new dean for the IU School of Medicine, which was completed in May 2013.
Williams is well-known nationally and internationally for his contributions and dedication to dental education and practice. He formerly served as dean of the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry at Chapel Hill and as a professor in UNC’s Department of Dental Ecology.
During his time at IU, Williams helped raise more than $70 million for the School of Dentistry in two capital campaigns. He also oversaw the expansion of the school’s clinic in Indianapolis, the James J. Fritts Clinical Care Center. Although he is retiring from his position as dean, Williams will resume his faculty position at the IU School of Dentistry and will serve as interim president of his alma mater, Transylvania University, in Lexington, Kentucky, on whose board of trustees he has served since 2007.
The President’s Medal for Excellence is a reproduction in fine silver of the symbolic jewel of office worn by IU’s president at ceremonial occasions. It is given to recognize exceptional distinction in public service, service to IU, or extraordinary merit and achievement in the arts, humanities, sciences, education and industry.