The Phi Theta Kappa Foundation has announced that the Society will be honoring the memory of long-time staff member West Williamson by establishing the West Williamson Convention Scholarship Endowment, which will provide annual scholarships for advisors and members from a newly chartered chapter to attend the Annual Convention.
West was currently serving as Phi Theta Kappa’s project manager for information technology at the time of his death on June 25 at the age of 45. He had served Phi Theta Kappa for 23 years, and it was the only organization with which he worked during his professional career.
West began his relationship with Phi Theta Kappa as a part-time staff member while attending Holmes Community College, where he earned membership in Phi Theta Kappa. He transferred to Delta State University on a Phi Theta Kappa scholarship, graduated, and returned to work with the Society full time. Over the years West served in many key leadership roles – including information technology, membership services, and chapter programs.
“Phi Theta Kappa has lost a dedicated soul. He loved the organization and worked tirelessly for it,” said Phi Theta Kappa’s Executive Director and CEO Dr. Rod Risley. “We have lost a brave, kind, and compassionate young man, and now commit his leadership to our history.”
Dr. Nancy Rieves, CEO of the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation, said creating and naming the scholarship for West was a way to honor his great contributions to the Society over 23 years.
“West touched the lives of both students and advisors, and knew the importance of early engagement of chapters. Fittingly, he was responsible for chartering chapters and the launch of convention scholarships for advisors given each year,” Dr. Rieves said. “Encouraging newly chartered chapters to attend the Annual Convention increases their chance of active participation in the full ‘Phi Theta Kappa Experience’ for years to come.”
Based on earnings available from the endowment fund, the Williamson Scholarship will provide registration and travel expenses each year for at least one advisor and one student from a newly chartered chapter of Phi Theta Kappa to attend Annual Convention.
Anyone wishing to make a donation to the Williamson Scholarship Endowment in memory of West may do so by visiting the Foundation website, mailing a check to the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation office at 1625 Eastover Drive, Jackson, MS 39211 with the memo line marked West Williamson Scholarship, or with a credit card payment by phoning the Foundation at 601.987.5507.
Dr. Risley also encourages individuals and chapters to take a moment to share their recollections of West by writing a note to be delivered to his family. “So that West’s family might be consoled by knowing the far-reaching impact of his work in touching the lives of advisors, members, and alumni throughout Phi Theta Kappa, we plan to bundle the notes and present them to his family in the days ahead,” he said. Notes may be addressed to the West Williamson Family, Phi Theta Kappa, Center for Excellence, Jackson, MS 39211.
Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, headquartered in Jackson, Miss., is the largest honor society in higher education with 1,285 chapters on college campuses in all 50 of the United States, plus Canada, Germany, the Republic of Palau, Peru, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the British Virgin Islands, the United Arab Emirates and U.S. territorial possessions. More than 2.5 million students have been inducted since its founding in 1918, with approximately 135,000 students inducted annually.