Spring 2022 Issue

Recognizing Excellence

By Tina Eshleman

An internationally recognized cellular biology scholar, a leading proponent of engaging descendant communities in historical research and a developer of techniques to make computers more efficient, reliable and secure — these professors are among the recipients of this year’s Plumeri Awards, which recognize faculty and athletics leadership excellence at William & Mary.

Global business executive, philanthropist and civic leader Joseph J. Plumeri ’66, D.P.S. ’11 established the awards in 2009 to reward outstanding faculty and enhance the recipients’ teaching, research and mentorship. During his 2011 W&M Commencement address — hailed by NPR as one of the best commencement speeches ever — Plumeri said that William & Mary helped him realize his dreams. Through the Plumeri Awards, he ensures that exceptional professors will continue to help new generations of students channel their passion toward lives of purpose.

“As always, the breadth of talent represented by this year’s awardees inspires me,” Plumeri says. “They not only are doing cutting-edge work, they are also providing invaluable opportunities for students to be involved in it. I know from my own experience at William & Mary what a difference a professor or mentor can make in guiding students to find their calling, define their vision and change the world.” Author of the national bestselling book “The Power of Being Yourself,” Plumeri is currently a senior advisor to global investment firm Kohlberg, Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. (KKR) and executive chairman of Switzerland-based Selecta Group, a leading provider of coffee and convenience food in workplaces and public spaces. Previously, he served as vice chairman of the Board of Directors of First Data Corp., the world’s largest payments and business solutions company and he held a variety of leadership roles over more than 30 years at Citigroup, including co-CEO of Shearson Lehman Brothers, CEO of Primerica Financial Services and CEO of CitiBank North America.

More than 200 faculty members have benefited from Plumeri’s generosity during the past 14 years. Since 2019, the Plumeri Awards also have included recognition of an outstanding coach or athletics staff member. Recipients of the highly competitive awards are selected based on their accomplishments in the areas of discovery, scholarship, teaching and athletics. Each of this year’s honorees will receive an award of $20,000. Here are the 2022 recipients:

Lizabeth Allison
Chancellor Professor of Biology and Department Chair
Michael Blakey
National Endowment for the Humanities Professor of Anthropology, Africana Studies and American Studies; Director, Institute for Historical Biology
David H. Feldman
Professor of Economics
Adwait Jog
Adina Allen Associate Professor of Computer Science
Matthias Leu
Associate Professor of Biology
Michael Luchs
Shook Term Distinguished Professor of Business, Director of the Jim and Bobbie Ukrop Innovation & Design Studio
Deborah Morse
Sara E. Nance Professor of English
Amy Quark
Associate Professor of Sociology
Juliette Smith
Associate Professor of Marine Science
Dr. Virginia Wells
Chief Medical Officer, Director of Medical Services and Team Physician, William & Mary Athletics