It is not a requirement that recipients of the Provost’s Awards be Red Sox fans, although our recipient clearly meets that standard. During some Octobers I have seen him wearing his Red Sox cap at work, and you might expect to see baseball memorabilia all over his office. But what I have seen on his walls are not Major League stars but the faces of Guatemalan children. And the colors of the Central American land.
For more than a decade, he has led World Focus teams to Latin America, promoting the study of language and ministry. Although he usually brings students to Guatemala during the Christmas break, he has often returned during the summer. He also assists Partnership Ministries, an organization connecting North American churches with Central American ones. Kirk McClelland, our former director of service learning and missions, tells me that this man’s “gifts of administration” and “his systematic and detailed oriented mind” have led to innovations and practices that have influenced “various educational institutions around the U.S.”
Early in his career at Gordon, he was a member of the Student Development staff, serving as a resident director. The number of former RAs who still keep in touch with him is a testament to his good work with them. For years he directed the LEAD conference, and he has taught several sections of Christianity, Character and Culture. At present, he works in the Development Office, where he manages, with prudence, his duties in fundraising compliance. He also uses the Phonathon as an opportunity to teach leadership and customer service skills.
But his great love has always been his work with Central American peoples. “His connection to Guatemala,” Kirk McClelland states, “runs deep. When he says ‘mis hermanos,’ my brothers, he really means it.”
I am pleased, therefore, to present to Phil Williams, mi hermano, the Provost’s Award for 2009.
March 16, 2009