Stillman Grad Lt. Gen. Willie Williams to Serve as Guest Speaker at Dearborn Mobile YMCA Annual Meeting
The Nation’s Third-Highest Ranking Marine
to Speak at Mobile’s Dearborn YMCA Annual Meeting
Lt. Gen Willie J. Williams, Director, Marine Corps Staff will speak and share his powerful message of “No Excuses” at the Dearborn YMCA’s Annual Meeting themed “Leadership, Commitment, Compassion, and Community.” Williams is a humble servant leader striving to lift others and leave a legacy of dedication and commitment.
General James F. Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps has been a close friend and comrade to Williams for more than a decade.
“Lieutenant General Williams is a consummate professional--an aggressive Marine Corps general officer who always accomplishes the mission, and a concerned and caring leader who keeps faith with the men and women he leads,” Amos said. “His accomplishments are a testament to the virtues of hard work and die-hard adversity. Lieutenant General Williams serves as a shining example for all Marines.”
The Dearborn YMCA Annual Meeting will take place Thursday, March 31, with cocktails at 5:30 p.m. and dinner/program from 6-9 p.m. at the Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel located at 64 South Water Street. Admission is $50 per person and $80 per couple. Singing the National Anthem will be Alicia Garcia, who now resides in Mobile. She performed with the Contemporary Christian group TRUTH, where she recorded her first signature song, “There is Hope.”
Dearborn YMCA’s CEO Eric B. Jefferson is honored to have the Lieutenant General serve as the guest speaker at their annual meeting.
"The fact that LtGen Willie J. Williams has agreed to speak at the 2011 Dearborn YMCA Annual Meeting gives testament to the importance of the programs and services at the Dearborn YMCA, which is one of six remaining Heritage YMCA’s started by African-Americans in this country," Jefferson stated.
Williams likes to create an environment where others can excel. He learned early in life that success occurs when opportunity meets preparation. Being prepared enables individuals to not have excuses for why they can’t achieve, and he is looking forward to sharing his message in Mobile.
Williams is a Livingston, Ala., native who grew up in Moundville, Ala. He also spent several years growing up in Theodore.
“We grew up poor and on welfare,” Williams said. “My mother raised my four siblings and me as a single mom. She had a profound impact on my life. She taught me how to serve God and love my country, the importance of cleanliness, how to iron clothes and carry myself as a gentleman. She had an amazing work ethic.”
As Williams was preparing to graduate from Moundville Public High School in 1970, he and two friends decided that they would join the Air Force. Several of the high school teachers along with Principal Norman Cephus heard of their plans to join the Air Force and approached them about why they were not going to college.
“They took us into a room and said ‘if we can get you some help, will you go to college,’ and I answered ‘yes.’” Williams continues, “I did so because they took my excuse away by telling me they could help me go to college.”
With financial resources provided by teachers, Williams and his two friends received scholarships for their first semester and continued their educational journey at Stillman College. Williams worked his entire four years of college and graduated from Stillman with honors. He is grateful for the support of his brother Willis and uncles Henry Bolden, Bud Bolden and Buddy Jackson.
Williams earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Stillman College, a master’s degree in business administration from the National University in San Diego, California and a master’s degree in strategic resources management from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University. He has an honorary doctorate of law from Stillman College and an honorary doctorate of philosophy from Albany State University.
Williams said with his degree in hand, he searched for a job at the company where he had worked during college, but was not hired because of the institutionalized racism. While in college, he had participated in a 10-week summer Platoon Leaders Class or PLC, which gives individuals who are sophomores and juniors an opportunity to go through officer candidate training prior to their senior year. Because of that positive experience, he decided to pursue a career in the Marine Corps.
“I have spent 37 years in the Marine Corps,” Williams said. “When I began my career, I was told that the Marine Corps wouldn’t promise me a “rose garden,” however, I would benefit from the basic characteristics of Honor, Courage and Commitment. The Marine Corps valued diversity.”
President Barack Obama nominated Williams and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates made the announcement in August 2009, which confirmed his promotion to the rank of Lieutenant General, making him one of 16 Lieutenant Generals in the Marine Corps.
Williams has received numerous awards and decorations such as the Legion of Merit with gold star in lieu of second award, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and the Department of Defense Service Badge.
As a young boy who picked cotton after school until sun set, he never envisioned that he would be able to attend college and hold the status as one of two African-American Lieutenant Generals currently serving in the Marine Corps.
Although challenging at times, Williams works to keep his life in balance, focusing on his faith, wife, family and his career. He enjoys playing golf, driving and working on his classic cars. Williams is married to Bobbie, a native of Cottondale, Ala. They have one daughter Yolanda Williams, who is now deceased. Williams and his wife reside at Marine Barracks, Washington D.C.
The Dearborn YMCA strives to be the top service provider in the Mobile area with activities for the entire family. The Y is the nation's leading nonprofit committed to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.
For more information about attending the 2011 Annual Meeting call Beverly Cooper or Stephanie Knight at (251) 377-5489. For more details about supporting the Dearborn YMCA, visit www.dearbornymca.org <http://www.dearbornymca.org/> or call Eric B. Jefferson at 251-432-4768.
Email to Friend
Fill in the form below to send this campus news to a friend: