William John Frawley served as the seventh president of the University of Mary Washington from July 2006 to April 2007. His areas of specialty were linguistics and cognitive science.
He came to Mary Washington from George Washington University, where he served as dean of the Columbian College of Arts and Science. There, Dr. Frawley was responsible for more than 40 academic departments, including the School of Public Policy Administration, School of Political Management, and School of Media and Public Affairs. Also charged with institutional fundraising, Dr. Frawley helped raise more than $45 million for George Washington’s College of Arts and Sciences. External funding from grants increased 28 percent during his tenure as dean. He also developed collaborative partnerships with corporations and with state and federal agencies.
Before joining George Washington University, Dr. Frawley served for 23 years on the faculty and administration at the University of Delaware. He was appointed to highest faculty rank – professor – at the age of 32 and held a variety of administrative positions, from department chair to director of undergraduate studies for the institution.
At Mary Washington, Dr. Frawley continued to teach as the Distinguished University Professor of Linguistics. His academic specializations within linguistics included meaning systems, cognitive and computational architectures for language, and discourse and text structure. He served on the editorial board of numerous academic journals, including membership on the advisory board of Oxford University’s U.S. Dictionary Projects. He also served on the Dictionary Society of North America’s executive board.
Dr. Frawley earned a doctorate from Northwestern University and a master’s degree from Louisiana State University, both in linguistics. He graduated magna cum laude with a degree in English from Glassboro State College, now Rowan University. He authored or edited more than a dozen books and published more than 60 scholarly articles.
In addition, Dr. Frawley served on the board of the Center for Innovation in Public Service and represented the Linguistic Society of America on the Consortium of Social Science Associations.