HICKORY — Charlotte Williams, coordinator for the Bachelor of Arts in Human and Community Services (HCS) program, and associate dean of engaged and global learning at Lenoir-Rhyne University, was recently honored with the 2018 Civic Engagement Professional of the Year – Sustainer Award.
The award was presented by the North Carolina Campus Compact in recognition of a higher education administrator in the state who works to implement a campus-wide vision of service, supports the engagement of faculty and students, and forms innovative campus-community partnerships. The Sustainer distinction recognizes an honoree who has been at the campus for more than five years.
Since 1999, Williams has served as HCS program coordinator, working to connect students with opportunities for civic engagement. During her tenure at LR, participation in the program has doubled. In 2008, Williams was named associate dean of engaged and global learning.
“It is vital that we prepare Lenoir-Rhyne students to have an understanding of various traditions and cultures and to be able to connect and communicate with people from different backgrounds and countries,” she said.
In addition to teaching service learning courses in the HCS program, Williams advises and mentors students, works to secure grants to expand programming, and administers fieldwork placements. She also serves as an adviser to the Circle K club, a service leadership program of Kiwanis International which promotes services, leadership, and fellowship.
“Charlotte has a natural way of meeting students where they are and listening with patience and compassion,” said Rita Purvis, career and community outreach coordinator at LR and graduate of the HCS program.
Last fall, Williams was appointed by Governor Roy Cooper to serve as a representative on the North Carolina Human Relations Commission. Previously, she was elected and served two terms on the Hickory Board of Education. She has served on numerous non-profit boards, including the United Arts Council of Catawba County, Catawba County Habitat for Humanity, and the Women’s Resource Center, where she was board president. In 2008, she received LR’s Community Service Award. She was also honored by the Hickory Schools Foundation with the 2014-15 Outstanding Community Partner Award. She was recently chosen as the new Ward 2 representative on Hickory City Council.
Williams received her undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois-Champaign/Urbana before pursuing a graduate degree at the University of Chicago. She worked in mental health and medical social work before taking a position with the Chicago Mayor’s Office in the Health and Human Services department.
N.C. Campus Compact is a statewide coalition of 37 public, private, and community colleges and universities that share a commitment to civic and community engagement.