Tuskegee University’s provost and executive vice president to retire


TUSKEGEE, Ala. (September 12, 2013) — Luther S. Williams, the university’s executive vice president and provost, has announced his retirement from the university effective Sept. 15. 

Walter A. Hill, vice provost and dean of the College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences, has been promoted to provost. Hill received his doctorate in agronomy and environmental chemistry from the University of Illinois, master’s degrees from both the University of Arizona and the University of Chicago and his undergraduate degree from Lake Forest College in Illinois. Hill currently serves as director of the George Washington Carver Agricultural Experiment Station and the 1890 Research and Extension Programs at Tuskegee University.  Under his tenure as dean of CAENS, there have been several additions to the university’s agriculture and science capabilities such as the completion of the James Henry Meriwether Henderson Hall Agricultural Life Science Teaching, Extension and Research Building, the first new science building on campus in 80 years. 

Williams has served in his recent post since Dec. 1. He was responsible for administrative oversight with respect to the holistic integration of enrollment and retention; adequacy of physical facilities; associated development requirements; budget and fiscal affairs; and academic effectiveness. Williams also held the positions of interim director of the Robert R. Taylor School of Architecture and faculty representative for athletics. 

Previously, Williams was provost and vice president for academic affairs for two years, with additional service as dean of Tuskegee’s graduate school, director of the Ph.D. program in integrative biosciences. Included among his significant accomplishments is an early warning system and extensive tutoring assistance for at-risk freshmen, which has resulted in major improvement in pass rates for basic courses and consequent student retention. 

“Dr. Williams has been an invaluable asset to this institution. His commitment to improving the performance and experiences of the students and faculty has been unwavering.” Tuskegee University President Gilbert L. Rochon said. “Truly, Tuskegee is better place for him having been a part of our community. He is excellence personified.”

During Williams’ tenure as provost, the university had several undergraduate and graduate programs approved by the Tuskegee University Board of Trustees. Also, the College of Engineering programs recently received continued accreditation by ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology). The Andrew F. Brimmer College of Business and Information Science at Tuskegee University also maintained its business accreditation by AACSB International (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business). Moreover, the student retention rates for first and second year students increased dramatically.

Former president of Atlanta University

Williams’ career spans from faculty positions at major American universities to administrative roles in higher educational and government agencies, including serving as president of Atlanta University. Williams was the William T. Kemper Director of Education and Interpretation at the Missouri Botanical Garden prior to coming to Tuskegee University. In 1990, he was appointed assistant director of education and human resources at the National Science Foundation, where he also served as senior science adviser.

His other work includes assistant professor of biology at Purdue University, associate professor of biology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, associate professor of biology, assistant provost and professor of biology at Purdue University, professor of biology and dean of the Graduate School at Washington University; vice president for academic affairs at the University of Colorado and special assistant to the director of the National Institutes of General Medical Sciences. 

Williams also served as chairman of the White House Biotechnology Science Coordinating Committee and as vice chairman of the Federal Coordinating Council for Science, Engineering, and Technology Committee on Education and Human Resources. Additionally, he has served as vice chairman of the National Science and Technology Council's Committee on Education and Training and served as chairman of its subcommittee on Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Education. 

Honored for science research

Williams earned his bachelor’s degree in biology with distinction from Miles College in Fairfield, Ala.; a Master’s of Science from Atlanta University in Atlanta; and a Ph.D. in microbial physiology from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. He also completed postdoctoral work at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Williams was also named one of the 50 most important blacks in science research by Spectrum Magazine in 2005 and was recipient of the Catalytic Award for Systemic Change by Quality Education of Minorities Inc. in 2006. He served as a member of the National Advisory Council for the National Center for Minority Health Disparity, National Institutes of Health in 2007-2010 and was appointed a member of the Council of Councils, Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health in 2009. He also has received six honorary doctoral degrees.

Luther S. Williams
Walter A. Hill

© 2013 Tuskegee University




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