worked with Williams
for many years and asked his
mentor to participate in Hencken's first commencement as interim president. "Dr. Williams
had a significant impact on my professional career at
...Williams, who retired from Eastern in 1992, served as the keynote
speaker seven years ago when the university celebrated its centennial.In conjunction with that honor, he
was named one of EIU's Centennial 100 - an elite group of persons chosen as those most influential to the institution's growth and reputation during its first 100 years.
energy and the dedication he's
shown to the university since his
retirement is any indication at all, there's no doubt Williams
surely deserved the honor bestowed upon him.
The retired vice president continues to hike the mountains near his
adopted home of Colorado Springs, Colo., year-round.He
supplements that activity with skiing during the winter. He
tutors graduate and doctoral physics students from Cal-Tech and MIT
and teaches (as a guest lecturer) at The Air Force Academy
Despite all this activity, however, he's
never forgotten the university where he
served under five presidents - another EIU distinction that only he
holds. A native of Columbus, Ohio, Williams was serving as high school principal in the city of Worthington when he decided to pursue his Ph.D. in philosophy from his alma mater, Ohio State University.
Less than a month after graduating, the then-34-year-old began teaching at Eastern
as an assistant professor in education.
had no intention of returning to the field of administration, the environment at Eastern
mind.Enrollment began booming and a need developed for personnel with administrative experience.
In 1962, with 10 years of experience behind him, Williams easily stepped into the role of associate dean of student academic services, intending to fill the slot for the remainder of the school year only.President Quincy Doudna had other ideas, however -- and a salary offer Williams
didn't feel he
when Doudna installed Williams
as dean of student academic services.
In 1969, Williams
accepted a Fulbright Fellowship to Sri Lanka for the purpose of advising that government in the ways of setting up a community college.He
received a telegram from Doudna announcing that a vice presidency position had opened.
"I shall not ask you if you are a candidate for this position," the telegram read."You are hereby appointed.Come home." Williams
did as he
was asked, and it was there he
stayed for the next 22 years.
Before leaving Eastern
wife, Joan, became known as strong supporters of women's athletics at the school, proving their passion by endowing a woman's basketball coaching position, as well as a woman's athletic scholarship. They also donated the 13-foot-high bronze sculpture of a female basketball player which now graces the north door leading to EIU's Lantz Arena.And, in 1995, Eastern
's softball complex was named in the couple's honor.
In addition, Williams
is a recipient of the Livingston C. Lord Award, the highest honor the university can bestow on an employee or member of the community.The award is named after the university's first president.
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