Under Peggy Ryan Williams' leadership at Ithaca, the establishment of the Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar Program; Center for the Study of Culture, Race, and Ethnicity; Center for LGBT Education, Outreach, and Services; and Center for Faculty Research and Development furthered the college’s commitment to diversity, interdisciplinary education, and pursuit of new approaches to teaching and research. New academic programs included master’s degrees in teaching and business administration and the doctoral program in physical therapy. The LeaderShip program was created during her tenure to enhance the overall quality of management and leadership at the college. Her support for sustainability initiatives included being a charter signatory to the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment and the construction of two platinum LEED buildings—the Dorothy D. and Roy H. Park Center for Business and Sustainable Enterprise and the Peggy Ryan Williams Center. Williams led Ithaca College in its largest comprehensive campaign, raising $145 million to surpass the campaign goal by $30 million.
Peggy R. Williams Served as President of Ithaca College from 1997 - 2008
The Ithaca College experience will enable you to further develop your capacities to think critically; to appreciate diversity of background, outlook, and opinion; and to engage in intelligent, informed, and respectful discourse.Peggy Ryan Williams Convocation Address, August 26, 2002
Her strong interest in community service helped boost student volunteerism. Williams championed the cause of community service, creating a “Day of Service” as part of her inauguration at Ithaca College that subsequently became an annual event for a number of years. She set a personal example by participating in events such as Women Swimmin’, a swim across Cayuga Lake to benefit Hospicare and Palliative Care Services, and the AIDS Ride for Life. In recognition of her contributions to volunteerism, a bench in the Ithaca Children’s Garden has been dedicated in her name.