falk, adamAdam Falk will step down as Williams College President to lead the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation at the end of this year.

The Sloan Foundation makes grants to support research and education related to science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and economics. It gives about $80 million in grants from its nearly $2 billion endowment every year.

Falk has served as Williams’ president since 2010. In a message to the college community, he wrote that his years there have “been among the most gratifying” of his career.


News release from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has named Adam Frederick Falk to be the next president of the Foundation, effective January 2018. Falk is currently the President of Williams College in Williamstown, MA, a role he has held since April 2010. He is also a Professor of Physics at the College. He will succeed Paul L. Joskow, who has been president of the Foundation since 2008 and will be returning to research and teaching at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Prior to moving to Williams, Falk was a faculty member at Johns Hopkins University for sixteen years, where he served as the James B. Knapp Dean of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, Dean and Vice-Dean of the Faculty, and Professor of Physics. Falk holds a B.S. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Ph.D. from Harvard University, both in Physics. He has been recognized with several professional awards, including an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship and a National Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation. Falk’s many accomplishments at Williams include a deepened commitment to student body diversity and inclusion, increased attention to campus sustainability, and major investments in academic facilities, most significantly a new central library for the humanities and social sciences and a 178,000-square foot addition to the college’s science center, scheduled to be completed in 2020.

“From my graduate studies in physics and the start of my career as a teacher, scientist, and academic leader I’ve always been committed to research as both a learning endeavor and an engine for social advancement,” Falk said. “I am honored to lead an organization developing imaginative approaches to attract diverse populations to the sciences and economics, and powerfully attracted by the opportunity to increase the public influence of scientific and economic ideas at a pivotal moment in our nation’s history. I look forward to joining the Foundation in January, and working with the staff and board of trustees to build on Paul Joskow’s many accomplishments.”

Marta Tienda, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Sloan Foundation and Maurice P. During Professor of Demographic Studies and Sociology at Princeton University, explained that Adam was selected after a nation-wide search. “Throughout his career, Adam has shown a deep commitment to the advancement of research, to education and the development of a diverse workforce in scientific and technological fields, and to the broad communication of the research enterprise – a perfect mix for leading the Sloan Foundation,” she said.

Sandra Moose, a former Senior Managing Partner at the Boston Consulting Group who chaired the Sloan Board of Trustees until earlier this month, noted that “Paul has been an extraordinarily successful president, launching new initiatives such as the Deep Carbon Observatory, the Digital Information Technology Program, rebuilding the Economics Program, expanding the Foundation’s commitment to diversity, and forging key partnerships with other foundations and private supporters of STEM research.”

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which is based in New York City, was founded in 1934 by the long-time chairman, chief executive officer, and president of General Motors with the goal of promoting public understanding of, and research on, topics in economics, technology, and science. The foundation has an endowment of about $1.9 billion and annual grant-making of about $80 million.