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Former Lyndon State College Leader Dr. Peggy Ryan Williams Named President Emerita

Dr Peggy WilliamsDr. Peggy Ryan Williams, former Lyndon State College president and Vermont State Colleges System (VSCS) administrator, has been awarded the status of president emerita of the college by the VSCS Board of Trustees. 

Emerita and emeritus status are granted to retired faculty and administrators with outstanding professional achievements who have given distinguished service to the VSCS and meet certain other criteria.  Williams holds an Ed.D. from Harvard University, an M.Ed. from the University of Vermont and a B.A. from St. Michael’s College of the University of Toronto.

Williams was president of Lyndon State College, now Northern Vermont University-Lyndon, from 1989 to 1997 and served in various VSCS administrative positions in the ’70s and ’80s. “I had a terrific experience in the time I was at Lyndon State College, and I see this as a wonderful recognition of my time there,” she says of the emerita status honor. 

Among Williams’s accomplishments at Lyndon State College were overseeing construction of Samuel Read Hall Library and Academic Center above the existing library; overseeing the addition of programs in math, liberal studies and sports medicine; and establishing the campus computer network and technology infrastructure. She also established the college’s division of institutional advancement — which enhanced student recruitment, admissions and retention initiatives — and raised enrollment to then-record levels.

“I had a good senior team and was able to keep people for a while. I had a good relationship with the faculty. We started to build on some fundraising experiences. It was challenging and rewarding at the same time because we always had to be sure we met the enrollment numbers we needed,” Williams says. “External support and friends were becoming more and more important, and we started to do more and more outreach. I think the institution has benefited over time.”

The Peggy Williams Leadership Award at Lyndon State College was established in her honor. Also established in her name is the Vermont Women in Higher Education Peggy R. Williams award. Williams received the Jackie Gribbons Award for Leadership from Vermont Women in Higher Education in 1984. She was the first recipient of the award.

Williams, who has homes in Johnson, Vermont and Fernie, British Columbia, also is president emerita of Ithaca College, where she was president from 1997-2008. She is on the Vermont Public Radio Board of Directors and served on the Saint Michael’s College Board of Trustees.