Briefing Room
David Williams II


The college remembers David Williams II

February 14, 2019 | College

David Williams II, former professor at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and celebrated university administrator, died on February 8, 2019. He was 71.

An expert on tax law, law and education, and sports law, Williams joined Moritz as an assistant professor of law in 1986 and achieved the rank of professor in 1995. In addition to directing the University of Oxford – Ohio State summer law program, he also served as vice provost for minority affairs and as vice president for student and urban/community affairs at Ohio State.

Williams was appointed vice chancellor, general counsel and secretary of Vanderbilt University in 2000–in addition to joining the faculty of Vanderbilt Law School–marking the start of a groundbreaking career there that spanned nearly two decades. He was named vice chancellor for athletics and university affairs as well as athletics director in 2012, becoming the first African American vice chancellor at Vanderbilt and the first African American athletic director in the Southeastern Conference. Vanderbilt won four national championships under his tenure, and celebrated many other athletic successes.

He also spearheaded a number of initiatives for student-athletes at Vanderbilt, including a lauded summer internship program, guided major renovations of several of Vanderbilt’s athletic facilities, and was instrumental in launching the university’s Sports and Society Initiative. He returned to Vanderbilt Law School in January 2019, where he launched a Sports, Law and Society Program.

Williams is survived by his wife, four children, six grandchildren, and a great-grandchild. The college offers condolences to his family at this time.

Services are scheduled for Friday, February 15 at The Temple Church, 3810 Kings Lane in Nashville. They will be open to the public. In lieu of flowers, his family has requested donations be made to the Perry E. Wallace Jr. Basketball Scholarship at Vanderbilt University.

More information about Williams and his upcoming memorial service can be found here.