Distinguished Service Award bestowed


Teresa Williams, former chair of the Western Carolina University Board of Trustees, received one of the highest honors bestowed by the university, the Distinguished Service Award, during Homecoming activities in October. As part of a ceremony at A.K. Hinds University Center, WCU Chancellor David O. Belcher presented the service award to Williams, a Huntersville resident who served on the Board of Trustees a total of eight years, including two years in each of the positions of board secretary, vice chair and chair. A native of High Point, Williams was appointed to serve a four-year term on the board in 2007, and then reappointed to another four-year term in 2011.

Belcher said that Williams, in her role as a trustee, “always brought extraordinary ideas to the table, always looking for ways to raise the bar.” One of those ideas was the creation of WCU’s Board of Visitors, he said. That board, which eventually will consist of up to 30 members, serves in an advisory role to the chancellor, and as advocates and ambassadors for the university. “I am excited about the impact this board is already having and its potential to help our university further tell its story across our state and throughout our region,” Belcher said.

In her role as chair of the Board of Trustees, Williams was “insightful, wise, strong and forward-thinking,” Belcher said. “She mentored individual board members. She planned and ran a great meeting. She advocated on Western Carolina University’s behalf with elected officials. She was, and is, passionate about the university and the role it plays in serving Western North Carolina and our state. She has been my great partner in leadership, and with her many contributions she has changed Western Carolina for the better.”

As she accepted the Distinguished Service Award, Williams praised the university’s faculty and staff for creating “this most wonderful place that is famous for opening new growth patterns for discovery and exploration for everyone who
would participate.”

“I came to you a stranger, and you took me in,” she said. “In the days and weeks and years that would follow, I came to know that’s simply your way, with your own special blend of friendship, of community, of compassion, and support and encouragement. You do that every day for students and adults alike.”