Remembering Dr. Carolyn G. Williams: Melissa Kirk, Former Director of Disability Services and Student Life

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I cannot think back on my 11 years at Bronx Community College without considering the impact Dr. Williams had on me personally and on my career. She was a trailblazer in so many ways, but I believe her fierce advocacy of the college’s global initiative may have been among her greatest contributions.

During her tenure, she established the global initiative steering committee, of which I was a member. So many inspiring initiatives sprung from this group, including our work with the Salzburg Global Seminar, which offered students, faculty and staff annual seminars in Salzburg, Austria to learn about global citizenship and how to infuse global perspectives into the fabric of the college. We established Global Perspectives, an annual collection of global co-curricular offerings, designed by faculty and staff, for students to explore global issues inside and outside of the classroom. Finally, the college was engaged in multiple international projects, most notably higher education development in South Africa. I had the pleasure of traveling to South Africa numerous times, with Dr. Williams and other dear colleagues. I will always be proud of that work and how it shaped my thinking about the future of higher education in the US and beyond.

So, cheers to Dr. Williams – she was kind, generous of her time, and she always pushed me, gently, to be a better, stronger, more inclusive and thoughtful administrator. Our work together fueled my passion for international education, my doctoral studies, and is no doubt a major force in my career in higher education. Thank you, Dr. Williams. Your spirit will remain with me, always!

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