Farewell, Dr. Williams

Dr. Willie T. Williams was honored at her Retirement Celebration.

Willie T. Williams greeted friends, colleagues and former students in a bright red two-piece suit and boutonniere at her retirement party Sun. evening at the Doubletree Hotel. A keyboard player to the right of the honoree table kept the mood light and festive as he played all evening. To the left of the honoree table was a table that held Dr. Williams’ Teacher of the Year trophy and a monitor playing a picture slide show of Dr. Williams from her youth to retirement.

“Dr. Williams is truly a woman among women,” Arie Sailor, Executive Director of One Church One Child of Florida, said to the audience. “Through your support and presence tonight, you all attest to the fact that she is somebody very special to you, as well as worthy of this honor from her fellow men and women.”

Sailor opened the ceremony giving praise to Williams and after a trumpet solo, there was a honoree and family processional led Dr. Williams and her husband.

Throughout the ceremony, old colleagues, friends, students and family took turns at the podium to express their appreciation to Williams.

“The Department of English at Florida A & M University is losing one of its jewels,” said Yakini Kemp, chair of the department of English at FAMU. “I have been chair for three years now and Dr. Williams was our most well-liked professor, and that’s saying something.”

Reverend Dr. Melvin Roberts, Greater Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Monticello, Fla., led the guests in a dinner blessing. After most of the plates were cleared, Combined Junior & “little Folks” Choir of Great Fellowship and Tillman Gospel Chorale, directed by Mr. David Richardson gave musical tribute to Dr. Williams.

Mable Young, Natalie King-Pedoroso and Mae O. Clemons gave student reflections and read letters from students who were unable to attend the celebration, each reminiscing on moments where Williams helped and touched their lives.