New president keeps up Montevallo spirit

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 17, 2006

&8220;You, the generous benefactors of the University of Montevallo have helped us to come this far. Now it is our turn to do everything in our power to make you as proud of us as we are of you.&8221;

&045;Dr. Philip C. Williams, Fourteenth President University of Montevallo

The University of Montevallo inaugurated its 14th president, Dr. Philip C. Williams, this past Thursday with all the pomp and circumstance fitting such an occasion.

Members of the presidential search committee, those charged with filling the tremendous void left by the departure of Dr. Robert M. McChesney [the university&8217;s president for 14 years] were faced with the challenge of finding a very special person to serve a very special group of students, faculty and staff. They found that person in Dr. Williams.

Dr. Williams came to Montevallo from Methodist College in Fayetteville, N.C., where he served as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College.

But before one forms an opinion of Dr. Williams based solely on his new role at Montevallo or perhaps his impressive experience in academia, it would be helpful to consider some of his, shall we say, unconventional life experiences.

For example, how many individuals or university presidents can claim just one of the following pedigrees?

uB.A. degree with honors in history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he was a Morehead Scholar

uJ.D. degree at Columbia University

uMPH and Ph.D. degrees in public health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

uAdministrative vice president and legal counsel for Sea World

uPublished author on subjects running the gamut from mysteries to children&8217;s books

uFluent in Mandarin Chinese

Dr. Williams remarkably would raise his hand for each. Indeed, Dr. Williams possesses a very special skill set. He spoke at length about the &8220;Montevallo Spirit&8221; during his inaugural address, that special something that makes the university such a wonderful place.

The continuation of the &8220;Montevallo Spirit&8221; will depend on the lending of special gifts and talents from those that serve the university; most certainly that spirit has received a tremendous shot in the arm with the arrival of Dr. Williams.