Dr. Debra M. Townsley is president of William Peace University (formerly Peace College), a private four-year university located in downtown Raleigh, N.C. Inaugurated as the 10th president of William Peace University in August 2010, Townsley oversees a student body of more than 700 full and part-time students, and an alumni body of more than 9,000. Prior to joining William Peace University, Townsley served as the sixth president – and first female president – of Nichols College in Dudley, Mass., for 12 years, following one year as its dean of academic affairs. Following positions in private industry, her career in higher education began in 1980, when she accepted a position at Marymount University of
Virginia as an assistant professor of business. She holds numerous professional positions on the state and national levels, including serving as chair of the audit committee and a board member of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU).