Craig Wilder, associate professor of history, has accepted a position at Dartmouth College and will leave Williams after this school year for personal and professional reasons. At Dartmouth, Wilder will be a full professor of history.
“Craig is an amazingly valuable member of the community,” said Morton Owen Schapiro, president of the College. “Our hope is that Craig, who is such a fantastic teacher, scholar and college citizen, is going to do what I did and come back.”
Opinion about Wilder’s impact on the student body has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Professor Wilder brought a lot of young blood to the history department,” said Mike Simerman ’02, one of Wilder’s thesis students. “He also brought a lot of really intelligent and well-respected work. Losing all of that really hurts the College to an enormous degree.”
“He is universally respected by his students, and he offers classes in areas not addressed by other professors,” said Kathryn Hibbert ’02. She also mentioned his great dedication to his students and his effectiveness as a professor, “not only because he is an excellent teacher, but also because he encourages students to become better scholars, writers and people.”
In addition to his responsibilities in the history department, Wilder is the chair of the Faculty Steering Committee â€“ one of the more prestigious positions a faculty member can hold. He also served as the chair of the African-American studies program from 1999-2001.
Wilder’s contribution to the community was consistently noted in comments by staff and alumni.
“As a student, former employee and alum of Williams, I think Professor Wilder’s departure will certainly be a great loss to the Williams Community,” said Medha Kirtane ’00, former assistant director of the Multicultural Center. “His poise and presence was something to be admired in and out of the classroom. In addition to being a fine professor in his own right, it’s a definite loss for the faculty body in losing one of the few professors who offers a historical perspective often ignored in the typical canon.”
Kirtane also said that Wilder’s departure is a particularly tremendous loss given that the administration is currently addressing issues of minority faculty retention.
“Beyond everything, he was one of the best professors I’ve had, hands down,” she said.
Wilder graduated from Fordham University in 1987 and did his graduate work at Columbia University, earning two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. His academic specialties lie in American urban history, religion and the mechanics of race.