President Durden's Biography
President William G. Durden '71
William G. Durden ’71 has been president of Dickinson
College since 1999. Before accepting his current responsibilities, Durden was a
member of the German department at the Johns Hopkins University and executive
director of the Center for Talented Youth for 16 years. During his Hopkins’
engagement, he also served for 11 years as a senior education consultant to the
U.S. Department of State and chaired the Advisory Committee on Exceptional
Children and Youth. He also served at the service of various U.S. ambassadors
about the world on educational issues.
Directly prior to coming to Dickinson, Durden was simultaneously president of a
division of the Sylvan Learning Systems Inc. (today Laureate Education Inc.)
and vice president of academic affairs for the Caliber Learning Network — originally
a joint venture of MCI and Sylvan.
Durden received his undergraduate degree from Dickinson in German and
philosophy and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in German language and literature from
Johns Hopkins. Directly following his graduation from Dickinson, he was a
Fulbright Scholar at the University of Basle, Switzerland. He has also studied
at the University of Freiburg and the University of Muenster, Germany.
Durden currently serves as chair of the advisory board of the Council for the
International Exchange of Scholars (the Senior Fulbright program) and as a
member of the board of trustees of the Institute of International Education.
Additionally, he serves on the boards of Meritas, a group of international college-preparatory
schools; Walden University, a for-profit higher education
institution; and the Santa Fe University of Art and Design. He also serves on
the Washington Center’s Council of Presidents and is the chair of the High I
Partnership, a collaborative initiative among local business, community,
residential and governmental leaders in Carlisle, Pa. Formerly he was the chair
of the International Schools Services and chair of the selection committee for
the German Chancellor’s Scholarship Program of the Humboldt Foundation. During
2007-08, Durden chaired the subcommittee of the Annapolis Group (120 of
America’s leading liberal-arts colleges) tasked with offering an alternative to
the U.S. News & World Report rankings.
Durden acted as a private tutor to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and
briefed him personally on the advancement of academic talent in children and
youth, American entrepreneurialism and risk-taking capacities. This
conversation led to the establishment of a Centre for Gifted Youth at the
University of Warwick, funded by the British government.
Durden has published and spoken widely on topics such as literary criticism,
gifted and talented education, foreign-language study, technology and
instruction, U.S. and international education policy and theory (at the school
and university levels), leadership, and democracy in education.