Penn State Lehigh Valley announces endowment honoring retiring chancellor

July 07, 2015

The Dr. Ann M. Williams Visiting Innovator Program Endowment has been established by Penn State Lehigh Valley. This fund, which honors Williams’ 15 years of service to Penn State, will bring national and international leaders in innovation to the Lehigh Valley to work with the campus's students in the classroom, as well as visit corporations in the community.

Williams will retire as chancellor of Penn State Lehigh Valley on July 14. In lieu of gifts for her retirement, Williams suggested creating this initiative to benefit students and the surrounding community. She believes that innovation and entrepreneurial thinking are the crucial elements that will move the campus toward its full potential.

At a retirement event honoring Williams on June 12 at Bear Creek Mountain Resort and Conference Center in Macungie, Pennsylvania, a major announcement was made that an impressive $105,860 has been raised so far for the Ann M. Williams Visiting Innovator Program Endowment.

“When I decided to retire, I wanted to leave something behind that would benefit not just our students, but our partners in the region as well,” said Williams. “Innovation is important in today’s world. I wanted to establish a program that would inspire people and position Penn State Lehigh Valley as a leader in this field. I am truly grateful for the generous donations that will make this program possible.”

Kenneth Thigpen, director of academic affairs at Penn State Lehigh Valley, said Williams has emphasized the importance of partnerships between business and the University as a significant way to maintain the vitality of the region.

“Innovation and entrepreneurial thinking have been crucial for her in linking education and economic development. To ensure that this legacy of innovation continues, Penn State Lehigh Valley's Ann M. Williams Visiting Innovator Program will bring national and international leaders in innovation to the campus to work with Penn State Lehigh Valley students as they join with leaders in the community to continue the innovations she has begun.”

A special committee was led by Penn State Lehigh Valley Advisory Board Chair Howard Kulp, a 1973 Penn State graduate, to solicit gifts to help found the fund.

“Dr. Williams is more than deserving of this endowment in her honor,” said Kulp. “The fact that she was a proponent of establishing this program, which will help advance students and local businesses, speaks to the person she is and the kind of leader she has been to Penn State Lehigh Valley.”

The Dr. Ann M. Williams Visiting Innovator Program Endowment will be coordinated through the campus' Office of Corporate and Community Education.

“The Lehigh Valley is a tremendous growth area. We want to be part of the dialogue and propel the conversation on innovation and entrepreneurialism," said Nancy Coco, director of corporate and community education at Penn State Lehigh Valley. “Through this endowment, we will have the resources to bring in thought leaders who will offer an infusion of new ideas and add value across the lifespan. All of our constituents, students, faculty, community and corporate partners, will benefit from this program.”

Anyone interested in honoring Williams and supporting the Dr. Ann M. Williams Visiting Innovator Program Endowment may make a gift by contacting the Office of Development at 610-285-5159.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated July 08, 2015