Dr. William (Bill) Gilligan, Professor Emeritus, returned to Emerson as Interim President of Emerson College, effective June 1, 2021.
Dr. Gilligan began his career at Emerson more than 36 years ago as an Assistant Professor in 1984 and most recently served as Vice President of Information Technology before retiring in December 2020.
Among his many achievements during his tenure, Dr. Gilligan facilitated the President’s Campus Task Force on Diversity in 2008, worked closely with other senior administrators, architectural firm Elkus Manfredi, engineers and technology vendors to design, build and equip two professional-quality television studios in the new Tufte Performance and Production Center, as well as collaborated with technology vendors to design, build, and equip professional-quality Journalism facilities.
Dr. Gilligan earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Boston College, a Master of Science in Teaching from the University of New Hampshire, and a Doctor of Education degree in Mathematics from Boston University. He was Treasurer of the ECC-AAUP union chapter from 1985-1987, a member of the Faculty Council for many years and chair of Faculty Assembly from 1992-1994, as well as the Faculty Athletics Representative to the NCAA on multiple occasions (1991-1994, 2005-2007).
Under Pelton’s leadership, Emerson expanded its academic footprint beyond its campuses in Boston, Los Angeles and the Netherlands by establishing new global programs around the world. He also established an ambitious plan to strengthen Emerson’s sense of place and identity, as part of a redevelopment of downtown Boston, by animating the streetscape adjacent to the downtown Boston campus in order to inspire, embrace, and to celebrate the city’s emerging diversity. Among the projects completed was the historic renovation of the 13-story Little Building residence hall with ground-level retail spaces as the cornerstone.
Pelton oversaw the creation of several new initiatives, including the creation of a Business of Creative Enterprises major; the first of its kind Comedic Arts major in higher education; the Office of Research and Creative Scholarship, which has set successive annual records for the number of grants and grant funds awarded to the College for innovative scholarly pursuits; the Office of Internationalization and Global Engagement, which supports faculty and research exchanges and strategic partnerships with universities abroad; HowlRound, an international center of online communication and collaboration tools for developing new theatrical work; the Elma Lewis Center for Civic Engagement, Learning, and Research; the opening of Emerson College Los Angeles (2014) living and learning facility in the heart of Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard; and a partnership between the College and leading theatre producer Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG), to operate the Emerson Colonial Theatre with a goal to restore the theatre’s status as a try-out stage for Broadway shows.
Pelton also spearheaded an alliance with Marlboro College in Vermont, finalized in 2020, which moved Marlboro’s academic program, known for its self-directed nature, to Emerson, renaming Emerson’s liberal arts and interdisciplinary studies program to the Marlboro Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies.
Pelton is the current CEO & President of The Boston Foundation, one of the nation’s leading philanthropic organizations.