Ithaca College President Emerita Peggy R. Williams Elected to AAUW Board
ITHACA, NY — Peggy R. Williams, president emerita of Ithaca College, has been elected to the board of directors of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), a national organization that advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research. She was among 10 directors-at-large elected by the AAUW membership to serve a two-year term on the board.
“I am honored and excited to have the opportunity to focus some time and energy on critical issues affecting the quality of life for women and girls,” said Williams. “AAUW’s work to advance equity — particularly in breaking through educational and economic barriers for women and girls — resonates with work I have done in other arenas over the course of my professional life.”
AAUW board members work in partnership with the executive director and staff in shaping implementation of the organization’s mission and vision. Among other duties, they are responsible for representing and promoting AAUW to its members and the public, participating in strategic thinking to provide organizational direction linked with sustainable resources and measurable outcomes, appraising and recommending public policy programs and priorities, and serving on working groups, task forces or special committees.
Williams brings a lengthy record of achievement and advocacy on behalf of women and girls to her role with the AAUW. She served for many years on the American Council on Education (ACE) Commission on Women in Higher Education, including a term as commission chair. She also played a significant role in promoting women’s leadership through collegiate sports while serving on the NCAA Presidents Council Subcommittee on Gender and Diversity Issues.
Williams consistently encouraged women to participate in programs such as the HERS (Higher Education Resource Services) Institute and the National Association for Women in Education’s Emerging Leaders program. During her tenure at Ithaca College, the college joined AAUW’s college and university partner program and she participated in the rejuvenation of the New York State ACE Women’s Network in the Southern Tier region. While president of Lyndon State College in Vermont, she was a founding board member of the Vermont Women’s Fund, an organization that promotes the advancement, self-sufficiency, and economic and social equality of women and girls.
In 1984 she was honored with the Jackie M. Gribbons Leadership Award from Vermont Women in Higher Education, which also established the Peggy R. Williams Emerging Professional Award in her name to recognize the accomplishments of young female professionals in higher education. In 2009 she was honored with the Donna Shavlik Award from the ACE Office of Women in Higher Education and the Catherine McAuley Award from the regional chapter of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas.
Williams began her career as a social worker, and upon entering the field of education she held various faculty and administrative positions within the Vermont State Colleges system and at Trinity College in Burlington. She served as president of Lyndon State College for eight years prior to being named president of Ithaca College in 1997. She retired in 2008, at which time she was named president emerita. She holds a bachelor’s degree from St. Michael’s College of the University of Toronto, master of education degree from the University of Vermont, and doctorate in administration, planning and social policy from Harvard University.