WILLIAMSBURG, Va., (June 17, 2014) – The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation has appointed Mitchell B. Reiss president and CEO, effective October 6, 2014. Reiss will succeed Colin G. Campbell, who has held the position for 14 years.
Reiss joins The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation from Washington College, a leading liberal arts college in Chestertown, Maryland, where he serves as president. Previously, Reiss held positions at the College of William & Mary, where he increased funding to support academic positions, expanded international programs and exchanges, and taught in the School of Law. Throughout his career he also served as an international negotiator, a national security expert and a consultant to governments, corporations and philanthropic foundations.
“In Mitchell Reiss we have found the ideal candidate who has a range of experience in the public and private sectors,” said Thomas F. Farrell II, Chairman of the Board. “Colonial Williamsburg will benefit from his understanding of the intersection of education and preservation in a contemporary world.”
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Reiss will focus on advancing Colonial Williamsburg as a leading center for history and citizenship with innovative, interactive experiences for the living history museum’s visitors.
“Colonial Williamsburg has long been an institution committed to keeping alive the conversation about America’s founding principles,” Reiss said. “This conversation is as relevant today as it was at our country’s origin, and increasingly important to individuals around the world seeking their own pathways to freedom and human dignity.”
Campbell led Colonial Williamsburg through both the tourism and economic challenges that followed 9/11 and the great recession of 2009. He oversaw a $200 million investment to modernize hospitality facilities and directed a shift in programming that capitalized on the introduction of interactive strategies including street theater, new media and digital devices.
“On behalf of the board, I also wish to thank Colin for his invaluable service these past 14 years,” said Farrell. “He will leave a legacy for which we are enormously grateful. He changed the institution from one that simply imparted historical facts to one that uses the past as a platform to teach civics, focuses on the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and stimulates thought about the ‘Idea of America.’ The institution overall is stronger both in its mission and its financial health due to his leadership.”
“It has been an honor and a pleasure to lead Colonial Williamsburg through challenging times,” Campbell said. “Mitchell Reiss is the perfect choice to lead this extraordinary place into the future. I have known him for many years and have great respect for his intellectual curiosity and his deep commitment to community. I look forward to doing everything I can to support his presidency.”