Earlier this month, Ursinus College said goodbye to a member of its community, Carol Williams, who lost a long, difficult battle with cancer.
The former assistant to the registrar was only sixty.
Her main responsibility in the registrar’s office was to audit records of all students at Ursinus, as well as create the Commencement list, order diplomas, post grades and update the status of Students. On top of this, she also assisted the Registrar in correspondence with faculty and students and supervised the student assistants and generally helped with the everyday operations of the office.
She had been a member of the Ursinus community since her arrival at Myrin Library in 1991 and eventually got her full time position in 1993.
According to her obituary on Legacy.com, Williams was born August 26th, 1959, in Norristown, to Kathryn E. (Hollingsworth) and the late John Wesley Canavan.
She was well regarded by her coworkers and peers, Barbara Boris, Christine Mariani, and Michelle O’Leary who all work at the Registrar’s office.
Throughout her time in the office she developed a close relationship with Boris.
Boris reflected on the friendship she shared with Williams.
“I not only worked with Carol, but she also became my best friend. I frequently vacationed with Carol and her husband. I will always remember sitting on the beach soaking up the rays, enjoying the sound of the surf and people-watching,” she said.
Williams was no stranger to work. She always made sure the job got done: her own as well as her peers’, bringing humor and an all-around pleasant aura to the Registrar’s Office.
Boris recalled, “Carol was always very organized and stayed on top of things. She had her deadlines and processes to work on, but always checked to see if there was something else that needed to be done first, or if any of us needed help with anything. She always tried to help with other duties if someone was out so they would not be overwhelmed when they returned to work. Carol never slacked off. She was devoted to Ursinus and here to do her job, but she could also always make us laugh.”
Mariani, responsible for processing transfer credit evaluations from colleges and updating students’ transcripts with AP credits, began working at the office just last year. She reflected on how Williams guided her into the new work environment.
“I only started here at the Ursinus College Registrar’s Office in April. Carol helped me immensely with the names of professors and students. She was excellent with procedure and policy and easily answered my questions when I needed help.”
One remark shared in common between her peers was that she could recall anyone solely based on their description.
Mariani stated, “She knew everyone, I could describe a person and she’d know exactly who I needed to contact/who they were, what year etc.”
O’Leary, responsible for processing all transcript requests, echoed this. “[She] would surprise a lot of [people], because she remembered their name.” Boris said, “As soon as I described someone to her or pointed them out she could tell me their name and usually their major too .”
Her generosity and care for the students went just beyond names, however.
“She loved working with the students and faculty. Finding ways to help them out,” shared Boris.
“She liked to follow the sports teams and comment to athletes that came in about the games played over the weekend,” recalled O’Leary.
When two alumni lost their homes in a fire, she sent a campus-wide email asking the Ursinus family for donations for replacement clothes and more.
O’Leary continued, “As they have lost everything even the smallest things you may think insignificant would be greatly appreciated. The brothers are very appreciative of our generosity and it is my hope we can deliver for them.”
It became very obvious after hearing all this that Williams truly cared not only about her job, her friends, but also the members of the Ursinus community.
Boris leaves us with these final remarks.
“Carol was an inspiration in her devotion to her job, her friends, and her family, always caring for everyone else. We will remember Carol and continue to laugh at her funny stories and wonder about names that Carol would have known that we have to figure out on our own now.”