Alumnus honored during ceremony, tree-planting on Veterans Day

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – As part of a commitment to innovation, cutting-edge programming, and academic opportunities, Stillman College’s Veterans Resources Center has launched the Lieutenant General Willie J. Williams Institute for Leadership, Education Equity, and Race Relations in America.

The Institute expounds upon the life and legacy of Stillman alumnus Willie J. Williams, one of the first three African-American Marines to wear the rank of three-star general. Williams retired in 2013 from his position as the director for Marine Corps Staff.

The William Institute is an effort to afford Stillman College and the community extensive access to scholarly research, interdisciplinary study, discourse and debate and advocacy on cutting-edge issues related to leadership, education equity, and race relations in America.

Stillman announced the Institute Thursday during its Veterans Day festivities, including a tree-planting on the quad in Williams’ honor.

“This world needs knowledgeable leader,” Williams said. “I’ve seen the best and worst of them, and those that are well-balanced in their knowledge and understanding of leadership, equity, and race – without even continuously categorizing them as such – have a much greater positive impact on their organizations.”

Stillman College alumnus Lt. Gen. Willie J. Williams was honored Thursday for his service in the Marines and to his alma mater.

Williams said his path from “extremely humble beginnings” to Stillman College “statistically should not have happened.” He credits being an active student at Stillman for helping shape him into a leader and one of the most respected voices in the U.S. military.

“I have received many awards and honors in my lifetime,” Williams said. “However, being the namesake of this endeavor supersedes them all.”

DeMarcus Hopson, dean for enrollment management and executive director of Military Student Services, leads this initiative, with senior business major Ronnie Williams, Jr. serving as student director. Hopson said the WI’s mission reflect Lt. Gen. Williams’ legacy as a cornerstone in the foundations of innovation and opportunity.

“This institute will serve as a celebrated mainstay in our region and amongst our benchmark institutions,” Hopson said. “The research and programming that have been carefully tabbed, developed and prepared will dramatically challenge the status quo and mediocrity often associated with this work and will confidently awaken a generation of global leader; this institute is revolutionary for Stillman College.”

The WI’s lectures, symposiums, brown-bag lunches, working group sessions, leadership retreats, and special program initiatives will include students, administrators, practitioners, staff members, parents, business leaders, and community partners. The WI activity heralds three unique programs in full support of its purpose and objectives.

  • The Black Male Initiative, a student development initiative focused on increasing matriculation, retention, and graduation rates for males of color
  • The 1876 Project, community engagement initiative
  • The Alabama Troops to Teachers Program, an alternative teacher certification program for veterans

These special programs will stabilize the WI’s framework and stand as the pillars of its research, programming, and partnerships. The WI will seek and attract the support of key community institutions in its work. Not only will the WI’s efforts collaborate with diverse groups of people, but it will also seek to secure cross – cultural understanding through community building, anti-racism/diversity training, conflict resolution, and educational equity initiatives.

Stillman alumnus Lt. Gen. Willie J. Williams, right, and Stillman Executive Vice President Derrick C. Gilmore shovel dirt onto a magnolia tree that was planted in Williams’ honor Thursday.

Hopson noted the approach to the WI’s work is boldly framed as a triad continuum of research, student development and civic engagement within a Ten-Point Mission:

  1. Demonstrate the counter – narrative of black males in education.
  2. Honor diverse experiences through narratives of excellence that support student success.
  3. Motivate community stakeholders to cultivate and promote positive change.
  4. Empower students to thrive academically, civically and socially.
  5. Dismantle negative stereotypes cross-culturally.
  6. Advance military and veteran student issues and contributions as well as innovative social science research and programming.
  7. Train emergent leaders prepared to excel in a global society.
  8. Foster community engagement locally and nationally.
  9. Promote student success by creating holistically supportive environments.
  10. Develop mentoring, peer connection, and student involvement opportunities through institutional and grant-funded research and student development programming.

“I am excited about the work Mr. Hopson and other will do,” Lt. Gen. Williams said. “I foresee this framework being adopted by campuses across the country and I look forward to participating and leveraging my influence to move the needle in the right direction.”

About Stillman College
Stillman College is a liberal arts institution with a historical and formal affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). It is committed to fostering academic excellence, to providing opportunities for diverse populations, and to maintaining a strong tradition of preparing students for leadership and service by fostering experiential learning and community engagement designed to equip and empower Stillman’s students and its constituents. For more information, visit

Proposed facility would replace King, Williams dorms on Stillman Campus

Stillman College President Dr. Cynthia Warrick (right) and Elisha Rhodes, interim CEO and COO of YWCA USA, sign a MOU to collaborate on a health and wellness recreation center project on Stillman’s campus.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Stillman College and YWCA USA have partnered to pursue development of a facility to provide childcare, health, and recreational services to one of Tuscaloosa’s critically underserved areas.

Representatives from both Stillman and the YWCA signed a memorandum of understanding Thursday on Stillman’s campus and will soon begin raising funds and support for the center, which will serve Stillman students and employees, as well as residents in Tuscaloosa’s West End.

Stillman College President Dr. Cynthia Warrick said there is a scarcity of accessible parks and activities for both children and seniors in the West End. The planned facility will provide education, fitness and health activities to a multi-generational West End populations.

Stillman College and the YWCA USA signed a partnership agreement Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021, that will lead to the construction of a YMCA facility on campus. The new facility will be named in honor of Vivian Malone Jones, the first Black person to graduate the University of Alabama. William Hall, right, and King Hall, former residence halls contaminated with asbestos and lead paint, are the two buildings that will be torn down and replaced by the new facility. [ Yahoo News Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

“We need this space for both the campus and our community,” said Dr. Cynthia Warrick, president of Stillman College. “And the YWCA, which provides housing education and childcare services, is a perfect partner.”

The plan is for the center to replace both King Hall and Williams Hall, a part of dormitories no longer in use and are planned for asbestos abatement and later demolition. The Stillman Foundation recently received a Brownfields Assessment Grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to develop a cleanup plan for the structures. The Stillman Foundation will soon pursue an additional grant to perform the cleanup itself.

“The YWCA is excited to partner with Stillman College as it works to create innovative approaches that forge new ways to bring about equity and access to resources in underserved communities across the country,” said Elisha Rhodes, interim CEO and COO of YWCA USA.

“YWCA works to fight for justice, advance economic opportunity, and enable greater access to education and health care to make the communities we serve more equitable,” Rhodes said. “This partnership with Stillman College is essential to that work and will help us continues to deliver programming, services, and other resources that support our mission to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.”

Official plan to name the facility the “Vivian Malone Jones YWCA at Stillman College.” While Malone Jones is the first African-American to graduate the University of Alabama, her husband, Dr. Mack Arthur Jones, was a Stillman student who served as her personal driver during her time at UA. Malone Jones’ family credits the support from Stillman and Tuscaloosa’s West End for helping her graduate from UA, Warrick said.

The development of the Vivian Malone Jones YWCA at Stillman College will also enhance community-based programs that currently operate on Stillman’s campus, including Arts & Austism, which holds classes and activities at Stillman; and the Girls Scouts, which is headquartered at the Hay Center. Additionally, The House Tuscaloosa, a literacy initiative for children on the West End, is located in the historic president’s house on Stillman’s campus.

Warrick said Stillman students will benefit greatly from the numerous layers of engagement, which will provide opportunities to manage recreational programs, tutor and engage in STEM education activities, and connect with seniors, which ties into Stillman’s Quality Enhancement Plan to prepare students for a multi-generational workforce.

“Stillman is so central to this community – an anchor for over 100 years,” Warrick said. “We should be able to draw and enhance the services for our students, youth and seniors. We’re excited to begin this mission.”

About Stillman College
Stillman College is a liberal arts institution with a historical and formal affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). It is committed to fostering academic excellence, to providing opportunities for diverse populations, and to maintaining a strong tradition of preparing students for leadership and service by fostering experiential learning and community engagement designed to equip and empower Stillman’s students and its constituents. For more information, visit


hrdCHICAGO, IL – This past June, HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) held its 3rd annual HBCU Royalty Dictionary competition with the theme “Rulers of the Throne”. The competition highlights newly historically black colleges and universities campus Queens, Kings and SGA Presidents.

The HBCU Royalty Dictionary is an initiative that spotlights the newly elected and crowned campus leaders through a pre-submitted biography with a series of questions relating to their campus improvement, strengths, motivation and upcoming plans during their reign or term.

This year’s competition featured a mixture of 20 campus leaders who holds the title of Queen, King and SGA Presidents that were voted by the public to be featured in the dictionary. The leaders are represented from the following schools: Florida Memorial University, Huston-Tillotson University, Stillman College, North Carolina Central University, South Carolina State University, Saint Augustine’s University, Grambling State University, Virginia Union University, Savannah State University, Bennett College,  Benedict College, Fisk University, Claflin University,  University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Morris College, Savannah State University, Philander Smith College and Chicago State University.

After two (2) years of the competition, this year was the first publication of the HBCU Royalty Dictionary as a magazine. The HBCU Royalty Dictionary is usually published to the HCF’s website featuring the present year induction class.

The 2016 HBCU Royalty Dictionary is now available and can be viewed in PDF format on HCF’s website here. You can purchase the magazine copy for $7.99 + shipping in support of the featured student leaders here.

All proceeds from the magazine will benefit and assist supporting the next HBCU Royalty Dictionary competition, student scholarships, services at HBCU’s and operations of HBCU Campaign Fund.

For more information regarding the HBCU Royalty Dictionary, contact or call HCF office at 773.988.2106.