Guest Speaker

Dr. Harry Williams

This year’s convocation guest speaker is higher education advocate and Appalachian alumnus Dr. Harry L. Williams ’86 ’88 ’95. In 2013, Appalachian honored Williams with the university’s Distinguished Alumni Award.  Williams serves as president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), the nation’s largest organization exclusively representing the black college community. Williams was named to this position in 2018, making history as the first sitting university president to serve as president and CEO of TMCF.  Dr. Williams, a first-generation college student, continues his 30-year career of advocating for equal access to higher education. Previously, Williams was president of Delaware State University.  

Williams has also been a national consultant for higher education and has held notable leadership positions for the University of North Carolina General Administration (now the University of North Carolina System Office), including interim associate vice president for academic affairs and interim senior associate vice president for academic and student affairs. He also served as interim director of admissions for North Carolina Agricultural and Technical (A&T) State University.  In addition to earning a Bachelor of Science in communication, a Master of Arts in educational media and an education specialist degree in higher education, administration, Williams served Appalachian as an associate director and associate vice chancellor in the areas of academic affairs, enrollment and diversity.