Roger L. Williams To Retire As Alumni Association’s Executive Director

After 12 years at the top of the Penn State Alumni Association, Roger L. Williams announced his retirement as the organization’s executive director on Thursday afternoon in a press release. Williams will continue his current duties until June 30.

“It’s been the privilege of my 36 years in American higher education to serve the world’s biggest, best and most ambitious dues-paying alumni association and, by extension, my beloved alma mater,” Williams said. “With six excellent Alumni Association presidents, a talented and dedicated Alumni Council, thousands of devoted alumni volunteer leaders across the nation, a supportive University administration and a superb staff, the Penn State Alumni Association has made substantial progress in every possible dimension.”

Williams first entered the world of education in 1978 as a writer for Penn State’s Department of Public Information. He worked at two other universities before eventually finishing his career right where he started when Williams became the head of the Alumni Association in 2003. He rose through the ranks at Penn State at the start of his career, serving as the executive director of university relations from 1986 to 1995. Williams graduated from Penn State with a bachelors degree in history, a masters in journalism, and a doctorate in higher education.

“Penn State University and Penn Staters everywhere owe Roger an enormous amount of gratitude for his superb service and unflagging commitment over the past 12 years,” Rodney Kirsch, Penn State’s senior vice president for development and alumni relations, said. “The association is viewed nationally as ‘best in class’ and so much of its success as an organization is due to Roger’s leadership and love of alma mater. And the University’s recent achievements in fundraising are closely linked to the quality instilled in our alumni relations program during Roger’s vigilant tenure.”

During William’s tenure as executive director, the Penn State Alumni Association grew by 27,759 members, nearly hitting 175,000 total dues-paying members in 2014, making it the largest such alumni association in the world. Williams saw increases of $2.9 million in revenue from 2004 to 2014, a 33 percent increase from the $8.6 million total a decade ago.

The largest financial commitment to the university during Williams’ time with the alumni association was a $2.1 commitment to For the Future, a campaign that established matching trustee scholarships in every college and campus as Penn State.

“Through the years, everything we have accomplished has been guided by our mission of connecting alumni to the University and to each other, providing valued services to members, and supporting the University’s mission of teaching, research and service,” Williams said. “Now, however, it is time for new executive leadership, new energy and a new vision of how the Alumni Association can become even more effective in its service to alumni and alma mater in the years ahead.”

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Zach Berger

Zach Berger is a StateCollege.com reporter and Onward State's Managing Editor Emeritus. You can find him at the Phyrst more nights than not. If he had to pick a last meal, Zach would go for a medium-rare New York strip steak with a side of garlic mashed potatoes and a cold BrewDog Punk IPA. You can reach him via e-mail at [email protected] or on Twitter at @theZachBerger.

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