Alumnus Leroy Williams Leads Massive Renovation Effort on Campus
transformational leader: n. - a person with vision and passion, who inspires others to achieve great things; one who injects enthusiasm and energy into something they care about or something they want to see succeed.
September 17, 2009
Bluefield College prides itself on preparing innovative learners and transformational leaders to impact the world. The best measure of that vision and mission is the outcome of the school's alumni.
Alumnus Leroy Williams certainly fits the bill. This transformational leader from the class of 1957 had a vision to restore married student housing facilities on the Bluefield College campus, and with his own passion and energy he inspired a hundred more supporters to care about and join in the massive renovation project.
Williams, a native of Tunstall, Virginia, earned an associate's degree in liberal arts from Bluefield College in 1957 while serving as a leader with the Baptist Student Union. After BC, he attended Baylor University in Texas and studied finance at the University of Richmond in Virginia.
He had a long, successful career in accounting, serving as a special projects administrator and manager with Phillip Morris, before retiring in 1992. That's when he began to demonstrate his leadership skills even more through his passion for carpentry and construction.
"I've been doing this for 17 years," said Williams about his work in construction and renovation as part of missions. "It's something I can do. The Lord has prepared me for this all my life."
A member of New Bethesda Baptist Church in Mechanicsville, Virginia, and the Dover Baptist Association headquartered in Ashland, Virginia, Williams used those two organizations to feed his passion, not only serving, but leading dozens of construction mission projects in Virginia, across the region, Canada, Europe, South America, and India.
"Leroy has mentored a lot of people in missions, getting them to have a heart for mission work," said Wayne Smith, missions and adult minister at Cool Spring Baptist Church in Mechanicsville.
"Lots of men and women have become involved in missions in their community and around the world, because of Leroy. I know he's been a blessing and an influence on me."
His most recent project: the renovation of four cottages on the Bluefield College campus to create valuable married student housing. And, Williams not only participated in the restoration work, but organized more than 100 volunteers from 15 different churches to join in the effort.
"He's the brains behind this whole operation," said Smith. "This was a lot of hard work. He organized it all and certainly deserves to be recognized."
For five weeks, the missionaries, under Williams' leadership, installed new windows, doors, and vinyl siding to the exteriors of the four cottages. They laid new flooring, mounted new walls, and installed new plumbing, wiring, appliances, and cabinets inside the structures.
In addition to the sweat equity, Williams solicited thousands of dollars in financial contributions and numerous gifts-in-kind to support the renovation effort.
"We are extremely appreciative of Leroy's time and energy," said BC president, Dr. David Olive. "He not only provided a significant financial gift for this project, but also volunteered to coordinate the entire effort. He single-handedly prepared the scope of the project, organized all the volunteers who participated, and spent the entire month of June working alongside those who came to serve."
While admittedly an exhausting task, Williams said the orchestration and implementation of the renovation work has been rewarding. "It's the Lord's work," he said, "and anytime you're doing the Lord's work, it's fun."
When asked why he chose the Bluefield College job as his next transformational leadership project, Williams stated matter-of-factly, "because I went to school here, and that's what you do. This school did a lot for me, so this is my way of giving back."