Former Dean David B. Williams and Margie Williams honored with named space
Emeritus Dean and Professor David B. Williams and his wife, Margie, were honored recently with the naming of the “Dave and Margie Williams Auditorium” in Mars G. Fontana Laboratories.
The dedication was made possible by approximately 25 alumni and friends who gave over $800,000 in honor of the Williams’ 10 years of distinguished service to the College of Engineering. Their generous gifts support the construction of the Biomedical and Materials Engineering Complex (BMEC).
“It’s always gratifying to say we had a fundraising goal to name this space and then surpass that goal,” said Chief Advancement Officer Chris Yates. “That’s a tribute to our wonderful and generous donors, but most of all it’s a tribute to Dave and Margie Williams and their tremendous impact on the College of Engineering.”
The 159-seat, state-of-the-art auditorium is the largest education space in Fontana Labs. It hosts classes, industry seminars, colloquium speakers and other special events. It was officially dedicated on October 8, 2021.
“I have had the pleasure of serving on the dean’s External Advisory Council since 2012,” said Lamme Meritorious Achievement Medal recipient and Distinguished Alumna Nancy Dawes, who was one of the donors in the collective effort. “Dave is great at setting a vision. He set the vision and then over the years I would just see it unfold, and it’s just been miraculous.”
During Williams’ tenure as the college’s 22nd dean from April 2011 through February 2021, the College of Engineering transformed in size, stature and impact. During his two terms as dean, the college’s annual budget increased more than 40% to $300 million, and external gifts and donations totaled nearly $500 million. Faculty ranks climbed from 289 to 412, with a 112% increase and 121% increase in female faculty and minority faculty, respectively.
“Dave is a leader, and a leader is a very rare entity,” said External Advisory Council member and Meritorious Service Citation recipient Elliot Ross, an alumnus who also donated in the Williams’ honor. “He is able to get things done in an academic environment. He is a visionary and his vision is going to continue to have an impact for more than just the next decade.”
Over the Dean Williams era, the college invested $300 million-plus in new and renovated facilities. In addition to Fontana Laboratories, new facilities include the Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence, Center for Electron Microscopy and Analysis, ElectroScience Laboratory, Simulation Innovation and Modeling Center, Spine Research Institute and the $15 million Austin E. Knowlton Executive Terminal & Aviation Learning Center at The Ohio State University Airport. [Read more about Williams’ decade of impactful leadership]
Dedication speakers also recognized Margie Williams’ decade of stalwart support of and service to the college.
“Dave and Margie are a true team,” Ross said. “They’ve accomplished this together. It’s really special and it’s a function of leadership, vision and teamwork.”
After thanking those who honored him as well as the college’s faculty, staff and students, David Williams also recognized the person who deserves the most credit for his success.
“More than anyone else, Margie has made it possible for me to be successful in my career,” Williams said. “She raised our three sons while I was at conferences and writing textbooks. She opened up our home to hundreds—and in some years, thousands—of people to come and socialize. We’ve been a successful team for 50 years.”
by Candi Clevenger, College of Engineering Communications, email@example.com