Chancellor Ford Remembers Anna Maria Williams

Published: April 17, 2015
Anna Maria Williams may have been small in stature but she was a giant as a woman, a giant as an educator, and a giant as a community steward.  Anna Maria was passionate about her profession, the students she prepared for successful careers in medicine, and was particularly fond of preparing the next generation of high school students for careers as doctors, dentists, and medical researchers.

Since her retirement from UW-Parkside and relocation to Madison she made several trips to campus each year. She regularly attended the May Commencement Ceremony to celebrate with the graduating class and to honor her past students who received the Alumni Achievement and Service Awards. Dr. Williams has nominated more of the Alumni honorees than any other person. She wanted her graduates, now doctors, dentists, scientists, and surgeon generals to be recognized for their accomplishments. It is through her graduates that her legacy lives on and impacts the lives of others.  

Another passion for Anna Maria was the Doctors of our Community (DOC) Summer Learning Program for area high school students. She helped arrange for shadowing experiences and lectures at UW-Parkside and organized field trips to the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. She always attended the "graduation ceremony" for this intensive summer program and proudly presented certificates to aspiring doctors. She gave the students advice about the importance of studying hard, enrolling in science and math courses, and of course, encouraged the students to apply to UW-Parkside for a one of a kind university experience.  

I first met Anna Maria Williams at the DOC program graduation in August 2009 during my first week as Chancellor and knew I had made the right choice about UW-Parkside. 

During all of her trips to campus, Anna Maria took time to nurture the Anna Maria Williams Nature Trail. She took great pride in making sure that Wisconsin trees and state trees from throughout the U.S. flourished on campus and that we honored and memorialized special colleagues and friends with a tree named in their honor. Now, it is time for us to plant and name a tree in honor of Anna Maria.  

Anna Maria Williams will be greatly missed by so many and her inspiration and legacy will live on. Thank you Dr. Williams and rest in peace.  

Deborah L. Ford

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