Emory Williams, former chair of the Oakton Community College (OCC) Board of Trustees, passed away on April 25. Mr. Williams, a resident of Evanston, served on the board from 2003-09 and also served as vice chair and secretary. From 2011-15, he sponsored the Kenny Jackson Williams Memorial Scholarship to support a full- or part-time minority student attending Oakton.

“Emory understood in his bones what it meant to be a trustee and to hold the college in trust for the community it serves,” said OCC President Emerita Margaret B. Lee. “He believed in the power of education to transform lives and was a passionate advocate for access and opportunity for all. Also, Emory inspired so many students, faculty, staff, and administrators at the college. His words, work and life were a beacon of leadership and a promise of possibility for so many. Emory championed OCC’s commitment to diversity and we are all beneficiaries of his vision for the college.”

President Joianne L. Smith echoed Dr. Lee’s sentiments: “Emory was a strong advocate for community colleges. He was deeply connected to the Evanston community and was instrumental in moving the college forward in our efforts to be a welcoming and diverse community, particularly for students and employees of color.”

Mr. Williams was passionate about education, having served in various capacities at ETHS from 1967-94, and considered OCC as a valuable resource for local residents.