FLORENCE – Francis Marion University announces the establishment of the Robert W. Williams Jr. Endowed Chair in Psychology.
Grace Herrington Williams (wife) and Kimberly Grace Williams (daughter) created the chair to perpetuate the memory of Francis Marion University Board of Trustees and Foundation board member Robert W. Williams who died in May 2007.
“It is befitting to remember my husband, Robert, at the institution that he loved, and served so faithfully,” said Grace Herrington Williams. “My daughter, Kim, and I are pleased to continue this support of Francis Marion’s extraordinary legacy of child development in his memory.”
The purpose of the chair is to honor current or future members of the faculty in the Department of Psychology who have training in school psychology. The recipient must be involved in activities and research associated with the Gail and Terry Richardson Center for the Child.
“Over the years, Robert Williams was a staunch supporter of the Florence community and keenly attuned to the needs and challenges facing the Pee Dee region,” said FMU President Luther F. Carter. “We are grateful to the Williams family for creating this chair in Robert’s honor. Their gift will enable us to expand our offerings in a way that recognizes his community commitment as well as our academic interests.”
Endowments can be established to support chairs and professorships, graduate fellowships, student scholarships, study abroad initiatives, equipment and library supplies, and excellence funds that enable colleges to directly support the areas of greatest promise and need. They are also a wonderful way to secure the continuation of your name within the college or to honor or memorialize a loved one. Endowments can be established to support chairs and professorships, graduate fellowships, student scholarships, study abroad initiatives, equipment and library supplies, and excellence funds that enable colleges to directly support the areas of greatest promise and need. They are also a wonderful way to secure the continuation of your name within the college or to honor or memorialize a loved one.
The first to be appointed to the chair is FMU Psychology Professor Samuel F. Broughton Jr. of Florence. He joined the FMU faculty in the fall of 1996 as an associate professor of psychology. He had been an adjunct faculty member and practicum/internship field supervisor at the university since 1986. Broughton earned the B.A. degree in psychology from Presbyterian College and both the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in psychology from the University of Georgia. Prior to moving to Florence in 1985, he taught at Southeast Missouri State University.
The awarding of the chair may be used as a recruiting incentive for new members of the psychology faculty.
Williams was president and chief executive officer of Pee Dee Electric Cooperative Inc., of Darlington, for 35 years. He retired from Pee Dee Electric on Jan. 3, 2006, for health reasons. Williams was recognized as an expert in the cooperative utility industry. His visionary leadership has made Pee Dee Electric Cooperative a leader among cooperatives in South Carolina and in the nation.
From 1967 to 1971, he served on special assignment to the United States Embassy in Manila, Philippines, to develop that country’s national rural electrification program. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter asked him to return to the Philippines during the celebration of the millionth household connection in the electrification of the Philippines. The president of the Philippines presented Williams that country’s highest civilian award for his service.
In 1966, Williams was a special electrification consultant to the Shah of Iran on an assignment by the U.S. State Department. Prior to that, he was general manager and CEO of Oconee Electric Membership Corp. in Georgia.
Williams held many positions locally and nationally in the rural electrification field, and served on the board of directors of the National Rural Electrification Cooperative Association (NRECA) in Washington, D.C., for 11 years. In 2001, he received the NRECA President’s Award given for outstanding service.
Williams was a dedicated advocate of education and economic development for the Pee Dee region. Through his leadership, Pee Dee Electric provided numerous contributions and benefits to education at all levels in the Pee Dee. He served on the boards of Francis Marion University, the FMU Foundation, the School Foundation, Florence County Progress and Florence County Economic Development Partnership. He was chairman of the Business and Industry Advisory Committee of the North Eastern Strategic Alliance and served on the board of directors of Carolinas Hospital System. Williams is past president of the board of directors of Central Electric Power Cooperative Inc. and vice chairman of the S.C. Aeronautics Commission.
In 1995, he received the Order of the Palmetto, the state’s highest civilian award. He was granted honorary membership in the FMU School of Business Honor Society, Beta Gamma Sigma, in 1997. In 1997, Pee Dee Electric’s Board of Trustees honored Williams for his dedication and success in the growth of the organization and for his contributions in bringing new industry and better jobs to the Pee Dee. In 2003, the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce presented Williams with the Distinguished Community Service Award for his significant contributions to business, industry and government.
Williams provided leadership to create the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC) to provide satellite services to the rural areas of America through the technology of large satellite antenna systems. He served on the NRTC board for 13 years and was elected president and chairman in 1990. Today, three satellites are in orbit, providing more than 200 channels of television, entertainment and data services throughout America to more than 5 million customers. By 2010, service is projected to exceed 30 million.