Now in his second decade at Rhodes and his third as a college president, Dr. William E. Troutt is one of only three college presidents in America currently serving in that capacity for more than 30 years. A nationally recognized leader in education, he has worked with key stakeholders to establish strategic aspirations for Rhodes. As a result, Rhodes has strengthened its focus on excellence in the classroom and beyond through student research, internships, study-abroad, service, and stronger connections with the Memphis community. During his tenure, Rhodes was twice named the "Most Service-Oriented College in America" by Newsweek.
A new college curriculum, the establishment of endowed faculty chairs and support, key partnerships to enhance student learning, the move from scholarships to fellowships, and a nationally recognized student work program are a few of the outcomes of the Rhodes Vision. Additionally, he has worked closely with trustees to implement a new trustee governance structure that serves as a national model.
In 2005 President Troutt secured a $35 million gift, the largest in the college’s history, to build the Paul Barret, Jr. Library. Since then he has overseen a campus master plan, placing the library at the heart of the growing residential campus. He continues to secure resources in an ongoing effort to bring ambitious academic, residential, and athletic space plans to fruition.
In 2012, he lead the establishment of the Memphis Center at Rhodes to focus on the human experience of Memphis and the Mid-South region.
In 2015, he oversaw the completion of a $314 million capital campaign to support student scholarships, faculty recruitment, community engagement, and campus enhancements, including the $30 million Robertson Hall science facility.
The Bolivar, Tennessee, native has chaired national organizations (American Council on Education, National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities) and Congressional committees on higher education while remaining down-to-earth, good-humored, and always focused on the task at hand.
He takes pride in being a "students’ president" and is seen regularly with his wife, Carole, walking their dog on the campus grounds. He is also the proud father of Jack Troutt and Carole Ann Troutt Schmidt, and grandfather of J.P. Schmidt.