San Antonio – Dr. George Williams currently serves as the Vice President of Student Affairs at Our Lady of the Lake University, but growing up in a rough inner-city Miami neighborhood the path to success was not always shiny and bright.
“It wasn’t full of palm trees in my neighborhood. It was a lot of violence. I witnessed a lot of crime that occurred and unfortunately, I did at one period of time find myself in the wrong environment” said Williams.
Born into a single-parent household and the eldest of three, Williams found it difficult to identify strong role models in his life. Through education, Williams was able to find his mentors and credit them for helping him stay on the right path.
“Being a black male it was rough to identify people that I trust and love, so I heavily relied on teachers in high school and college professors and advisors to help guide the path”
Williams discusses the impact of The Black 100 Role Models of America, an organization that he joined in high school that supported Black Males who did not have strong male role models.
Dr. Williams has been an influential leader on campus during his time at OLLU and continues to inspire his peers, faculty, staff, and students.
Erika Blancarte Sanchez, The Contract Manager of Academic Affairs, fellow friend and co-worker of Williams over the years, shares the impact Dr. Williams has done, “I have definitely seen the positive change Dr. Williams has made at the university, he’s supported student services and bought the campus more vibrancy”
Melissa Franco a student turned co-worker of Dr. Williams shares her love for the VP of Student Affairs, “Dr. Williams provides passion and dedication for students and the OLLU community. His compassion allows an open space for students to feel welcomed and heard.”
Dr. Williams highlights the importance of recognizing yourself and accepting who you truly are. You were not allowed to pick what race or religion when you were born, but whatever you were given you must accept and truly allow yourself to be free. Despite Dr.Williams’s achievements, he faced imposter syndrome due to his race which led him to question if he had belonged.
“I struggled with that a lot over the last several years. Sometimes I still do, I know when I walk inside of a room people know that I’m a black man and I have to recognize that”
With struggling with imposter syndrome, Williams continues to remind himself he belongs here, whether he looks like the person he is sitting next to.
“It’s important for me and the lessons that I’ve learned in spaces where not many people are sitting next to me or across from me look like me, to know and recognize that I’m supposed to be here”
During Black History Month, we want to recognize those leaders who are making positive changes to our community. Many colleagues have agreed, Dr. Williams has been a great example of this leadership to our community.
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