Emeritus Professor Raymond Williams Named Dean
by Jim Amidon
May 12, 2005
Wabash President Andrew T. Ford has appointed emeritus religion
professor Raymond B. Williams as Dean of the College. Professor
Williams, who retired from a distinguished teaching career in 2002,
steps in for Mauri A. Ditzler ’75. Ditzler will become President of
Monmouth College on July 1.
"It is hard to imagine anyone better suited for this assignment," said
Ford in a note to the Wabash community. "Raymond knows the College
extremely well, and he earned the respect and admiration of all our
constituencies. He enjoyed a distinguished teaching and advising career,
and he has a long history of vigilantly guarding faculty prerogatives
and advising deans and presidents."
Williams joined the Wabash faculty in 1965, rose to full professor in
1977, and became the Charles D. and Elizabeth S. LaFollettee
Distinguished Professor in the Humanities in 1989. In 1995, through a $5
million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., he founded the
Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion. He
served as Director of the Wabash Center until his retirement.
A magna cum laude graduate of Johnson Bible College and Phillips
University, Williams earned his master's degree and Ph.D. from the
University of Chicago. He also earned his master's of divinity degree
from Phillips University in 1960.
"Raymond has also managed an extraordinarily effective administrative
career, most notably as chair of the Philosophy and Religion Department
and founding director of the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning
Theology and Religion," added Ford.
In 1993, Williams received the Ray L. Hart Award from the American
Academy of Religion for his work in organizing Lilly-funded teaching
workshops for young scholars in the field of religion. Those workshops
served as the precursor to the establishment of the Wabash Center.
Williams is a leading international authority on Swaminarayan Hindusim
and the religions of immigrants to the United States by people of India
and Pakistan. He has written six books on the subject, including An
Introduction to Swaminarayan Hinduism and Christian Pluralism in
the United States.
During his teaching career at Wabash, Williams was honored with the
McLain-McTurnan-Arnold Award for Excellence in Teaching; he also won the
McLain-McTurnan-Arnold Research Fellowship. He is an honorary member of
the Wabash Class of 1968.
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