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Thad Williamson - TDC Board Member; Associate Professor, University of Richmond

Thad Williamson - TDC Board Member; Associate Professor, University of Richmond

Thad Williamson is an associate professor of leadership studies and philosophy, politics, economics and law at the University of Richmond, where has taught since 2005. 

He is author, co-author, or co-editor of seven books, including Community Wealth Building and the Reconstruction of American Democracy (2020), co-edited with Melody C. Barnes and Corey D.B. Walker. His previous books include Sprawl, Justice and Citizenship: The Civic Costs of the American Way of Life (Oxford, 2010), Making a Place for Community: Local Democracy in a Global Era, with Gar Alperovitz and David Imbroscio (Routledge, 2002), and Property-Owning Democracy: Rawls and Beyond, co-edited with Martin O’Neill (Wiley, 2012). He has also written dozens of academic journal articles, essays, and reviews, and well over 100 articles for popular media outlets on a wide variety of topics. 

Having grown up in Chapel Hill, NC, Williamson earned his A.B. in Religious Studies from Brown University (1992), a Master’s in Religion from Union Theological Seminary of New York (1998), and a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University (2004). 

Williamson has been professionally involved in systems change and economic justice work for nearly three decades. From 1992 to 1996 he worked for The Good Society Project led by Gar Alperovitz, then based at the Institute for Policy Studies and the National Center for Economic and Security Alternatives (NCESA), and later worked as a consultant for NCESA and then the Democracy Collaborative. He was a member of the editorial collective for Dollars & Sense: The Magazine of Economic Justice based in Boston from 1998 to 2005. Later in Richmond, he wrote the Mayor’s Anti-Poverty Commission Report (2013), then served as the inaugural director of the City of Richmond’s Office of Community Wealth Building, the first office of its kind in the U.S., from 2014 to 2016. He then worked in the Richmond Mayor’s Office as a Senior Policy Advisor from 2017-18. 

Williamson continues to be actively engaged in Richmond civic affairs, while also working on several long-term writing projects: a historical study of contemporary Richmond’s evolution since the 1980s; a series of essays on democracy’s future with Corey D.B. Walker; and an in-depth study of community wealth building as a comprehensive policy paradigm for the 21stcentury. In 2020-21 he served as president of the University of Richmond’s Faculty Senate, and he also serves on the board of the Richmond Public Schools Education Foundation. He is married to Dr. Adria L. Scharf, project director of the Curriculum Library for Employee Ownership at Rutgers University.