William W. Towns
Assistant Vice President, Neighborhood Initiatives
William W. Towns is Assistant Vice President within the Office of Civic Engagement and is responsible for Neighborhood and University Initiatives which include off campus real estate development projects, stimulating community reinvestment, local business and workforce development efforts, campus planning, and community relations. His goal is to increase the standard of living within the communities served by the University of Chicago in collaboration with community partners and stakeholders, while positioning the University as a key contributor to urban redevelopment.
Utilizing his past experiences, William leads these initiatives by introducing various innovative projects and efforts which further the mission of the Office of Civic Engagement. Recently, Neighborhood Initiatives played an integral role in the successful launch of the Arts Incubator in Washington Park, an innovative 10,000 square foot redevelopment of a 1920s terra cotta commercial and retail property. This flagship building was developed as a part of the University’s Arts and Public Life Initiative and fosters the growth of art and culture in the mid-south side communities of Chicago.
William and his team have also established partnerships with external partners to initiate important developments for the University and the community, including a revised Employer Assisted Housing Program, which provides an opportunity for University employees to purchase homes in and around campus. Other neighborhood initiatives include an economic development partnership that will provide Gigabit high-speed broadband internet accessibility to the mid-south side, as well as local hiring initiatives that aim to develop the workforce by providing job opportunities for citizens in the surrounding communities.
William is an alumnus of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, Notre Dame’s Mendoza School of Business, University of Wisconsin’s Madison Graaskamp Center for Real Estate, and Loyola University Chicago’s Quinlan School of Business.