Bilal W. Ansari

Photo of Bilal W. Ansari

Assistant Vice President for Campus Engagement and Co-Director of the Davis Center

57 Spring St, 3rd Floor


A.S. Ohlone College, Liberal Arts
B.S. Springfield College, Criminal Justice
M.Div. Hartford Theological Seminary
M.A. Hartford Seminary, IslamicStds&Christian-MuslmRel
Bilal Ansari is Assistant Vice President for Campus Engagement in the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Williams College. Immediately prior to assuming his current role, Bilal served as the Acting Director, Associate Director of the Davis Center.  Bilal had previously served as Williams’ Muslim chaplain and Assistant Director in the Center for Learning in Action between 2011 and 2014. Between his current and previous positions at Williams, Bilal also served as Dean of Student Services and Director of Student Life at Zaytuna College, Berkeley California, the first accredited Muslim liberal arts college in the United States. While at Zaytuna, Bilal began doctoral studies at the Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley. His doctoral dissertation is an auto-ethnographic critical analysis of the literature on his pastoral and social justice work as a community faith leader in prisons, hospitals, and on college campuses.
Bilal has worked in both federal and state prisons for over 16 years challenging the system of racial, gender, and religious inequalities. As a chaplain in some of the most volatile environments, Bilal counseled and managed interventions through intense institutional crises. Bilal has worked as a community organizer. In 2013, Bilal was awarded the Connecticut Center for a New Economy’s Outstanding Leadership Award for 15 years of community activism and organizing that improved the economic and social well-being of working families in urban centers and rural communities. That work included campaigns to raise wages of the working poor, improving public education and training, securing public health care and preserving affordable housing. In 2016, based on his efforts, achievements, and writing, which includes a number of critical and reflective social commentary articles, Bilal was named to The MPower 100, a list of American Muslim top social justice leaders.
Bilal began his community activism in 1994 in Oakland, California at the height of the Rodney King Uprisings.  Bilal is a first-generation college student when he earned the Associate of Science in Liberal Arts from Ohlone College, Bachelor of Science in Human Services from Springfield College, and Master of Arts in Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations and Graduate Certificate in Islamic Chaplaincy from Hartford Seminary. Bilal is a legacy staff member: His great-grandfather and great-grandmother worked at Williams for over 40 years from 1926 to 1970.