The University of Central Arkansas honored longtime executive administrator Ronnie Williams by renaming the campus student center to the Ronnie Williams Student Center. The name was unveiled at a special on-campus ceremony on December 3.
“For this Chairman and for this Board of Directors, to feel that I have done something as important as having my name attached to this wonderful facility…is a blessing,” said Ronnie Williams. “I want you to know how thankful and thankful I am.”
The UCA Board of Trustees voted to rename the building at its August 2021 meeting. At that time, UCA President Houston Davis thanked Williams for his dedicated service to the university.
“The true measure of his work and impact is in the tens of thousands of student lives he touched and the futures he influenced. Ronnie was a man of service and conviction during his time at UCA and left our university better than he found it. We are grateful to call him colleague and friend, and his legacy will be felt long after his retirement,” Davis said.
The Ronnie Williams Student Center houses a food court, student assembly halls, offices for the Student Government Association, a convenience store, a KUCA radio station, and other facilities for students.
For more than three decades, Williams has been a mainstay of the UCA campus community. He began his career at UCA in 1980 as Assistant Dean of Students. In 1990 he became Director of Minority Affairs, and in 1992 he was appointed Assistant to the President. Williams became Vice President of Student Services in 1996. His role expanded to include Director of Diversity in 2013. Williams retired in 2021.
“I am the one who accepts this honor, but the recognition belongs, at least in part, to the phenomenal team of student, faculty and staff services professionals with whom I have had the pleasure of working at various stages of my career,” Williams said. “Thank you for partnering with me in leadership, but more importantly, thank you for your friendship. I love you so much.”
Dozens of faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members joined Williams for the celebration, along with his wife, Connie, and other family members.
Williams’ accomplishments have extended beyond the UCA campus. He served as Vice Chairman of the Arkansas Educational Television Commission. Her service also includes the board of the Community Foundation of Arkansas, the Faulkner County Shelter for Abused and Battered Women, and the Arkansas Supreme Court Committee on Professional Conduct.
He was also the first black chair of the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. The Conway Area Chamber of Commerce presented Williams with the Guy W. Murphy Distinguished Service Award in 2018. The award is the chamber’s highest form of recognition and is given annually to an individual or group who rendered a special service to the community. The chamber cited Williams’ inclusive and open leadership and guidance to UCA and to individuals and organizations in Faulkner County.
Williams was the first black person to hold a leadership position at UCA. An endowed scholarship in his name was announced in 2021. The Ronnie Williams Scholarship provides support for full-time students who are actively involved in a recognized student organization, with preference given to students in a leadership role with a 2.5 GPA or higher .