William G. Durden is President Emeritus of Dickinson College, where he served for 14 years (1999-2013). He is currently President of the International University Alliance (IUA), Chief Global Engagement Officer, Shorelight Education, a Joint Appointment Professor (research) in the School of Education, Johns Hopkins University and an Operating Partner of Sterling Partners, a diversified investment management platform founded in 1983 and based in Chicago with branch offices in Baltimore and Miami.
Dr. Durden received his undergraduate degree from Dickinson College in German and philosophy and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in German Language and Literature from the Johns Hopkins University. Directly following graduation from Dickinson, he was a Fulbright-Hays Scholar at the University of Basle, Switzerland. He has also studied at the University of Freiburg and the University of Muenster, Germany. He was a Klingenstein Fellow at Columbia University and American Council of Learned Societies’ Fellow in Wolfenbuettel, Germany. He served as an officer in the U.S. Army, Military Intelligence Branch and most recently chaired the Middle States accreditation process for the United States Military Academy (West Point).
Directly prior to his 14-year tenure at Dickinson College, Dr. 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—a joint venture of MCI and Sylvan. Prior to Sylvan Dr. Durden was a member of the German Department at the Johns Hopkins University and founding Executive Director of the Center for Talented Youth (CTY) for 16 years. During his Hopkins’ engagement at CTY, he was also a senior education consultant to the U.S. Department of State for 11 years and chaired the Advisory Committee on Exceptional Children and Youth. He served as a “private tutor” to then Prime Minister Tony Blair on the topic of talent development and global competitiveness.
Dr. Durden served as chair of the advisory board of the Council for the International Exchange of Scholars (the Faculty Fulbright program) and as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Institute of International Education (IIE) as well as a trustee of St. Paul’s School (MD) and Indian Mountain School (CT). He currently serves as a director of Walden University and Squashwise Baltimore, a non-profit organization to help Baltimore City youth achieve their academic goals through squash and associated academic tutoring. He is also chair of the board of trustees of Columbia College Hollywood/Flashpoint College, Chicago, a joint non-profit, higher education institution focused on the liberal arts, the arts, film and media.
He was appointed to the Honorary Council of LEAD WITH LANGUAGES campaign commencing March 1, 2017. This campaign was undertaken at the bipartisan request of the U.S. Congress. He was also appointed in 2019 as Ambassador to Maryland for the University of Freiburg, Germany—a top-tier global research university in Freiburg, Germany.
Dr. Durden has published and spoken widely on topics ranging from German literature to gifted and talented education, international education policy, higher education, first-generation college students, international education, the distinctiveness of U.S. higher education and the liberal arts.