Williams’ retirement brings memories, hopes for future plans

After working at Seward for 32 years, Dean of Administrative Services Tom E. Williams will retire after this semester. “I’m like that pair of pajamas everyone has worn out but isn’t ready to be thrown away,” Williams said about his decision to retire even though he’s been working for the college for so long. Williams started working at Seward in the fall of 1979 as a full time faculty member. A position opened up in 1990 for a fiscal officer, which he worked as until 1995 when he took over the position of dean of administrative services. After working at Seward for 32 years, Williams has quite a few accomplishments he says he is proud to have been able to complete at Seward. Like in 1981, when the college was able to get its first microcomputers, and also when he was the Phi Theta Kappa sponsor and Seward had the national president of PTK for the chapter, and in 1995, the passage of the bond issue for campus expansion. “Probably a real broad thing I’m proud of is just the great people I’ve had the opportunity to work with over the years,” Williams said. ­­According to Williams, all of the success the college has been able to achieve over the years is also due to the contributions by the board of trustees. “This college has been blessed with the most stable board of trustees within the state of Kansas and even the nation,” Williams said. “We’ve always had a president who was pro-student and progressive.” Even though Williams has many accomplishments to be proud of, he decided it was time to for somebody else to come over and take over the position so he can enjoy time with family. “My mother died a year and a half ago, my step-father is 93 and he still has good health, and I want to spend more time with him,” Williams said. “It’s time for somebody else to come over here and take over the position.” Williams also looks forward to having time to spend on hobbies he loves and being able to have time for himself. “I hope to have time to complete more projects around the house. I’m an avid coin and stamp collector, and I want to work on that,” Williams said. “I want to become a kid again, get out all my trains sets and be able play with those.” The administrative peers Williams has worked with have also noted the success he has had in his position at Seward while still having a sense of humor and being approachable. “He is the best in his position of all the community colleges in Kansas. He is making sure we are doing well in budgets, financing and that kind of stuff,” said Dean of Instruction Cynthia Rapp, who has worked with Williams for 17 years. “He’s a great guy to work with, he has a super sense of humor and we can talk about just anything, even if we don’t agree. He’s real open and willing to talk about things.” Rapp also joked about how Williams always enjoys playing practical jokes on her and giving her a hard time when her favorite team loses. “He loves to play practical tricks on me because I am a Jayhawks fan,” Rapp said. “He likes to play tricks on me when the Jayhawks lose a basketball game. He likes to rub it in.” Celeste Donovan, dean of student services, who has worked with Williams for four years, has also enjoyed his personality and working with him. “Tommy makes it a real joy to get up and come to work everyday,” Donovan said. One of the best memories Donovan recalls of Williams was when he ran in the Pancake Day Race alongside Dale Reed in order to raise money for student scholarships. “A couple years ago I talked him and Dale Reed into running in the Pancake Day Race and they dressed up as ladies, and they raised quite a lot of money for scholarships,” Donovan said. Through the years, Donovan said she has been able to become a close friend of Williams and thinks the college won’t be the same without him. “He’s just a really unique, genuine person. Because he’s been here so long it’s going to be hard to find someone to fill his shoes. He will truly be missed by our college community,” Donovan said. “And even though he won’t be working here he will always be a dear friend to me.” Even with his decision to retire Williams will continue to appreciate the people he’s had the chance to work with at Seward. “Even though I’ll be retired, I’ll be an avid supporter of SCCC,” Williams said. “As far as a place of employment, you won’t find a better place with as good of people as there is at Seward.”