The purpose of the Outstanding Alumnus of the Year Award is to provide recognition for outstanding achievements by graduates of the College. The award is based on professional accomplishments and growth, further education, community and civic engagement, and demonstrated support for the goals and objectives of the College. The recipient is announced and recognized at the May commencement ceremony.
Morganton, NC – Each year, Western Piedmont Foundation recognizes an Alumnus who has given unselfishly of his or her time and talents to advance the mission and goals of Western Piedmont Community College and the local community. Larry Williamson was recently named the 2012 Alumnus of the Year at the College’s graduation ceremony.
Larry Williamson (l) receives Western Piedmont Community College’s Alumnus of the Year Award from Dr. Jim Burnett, College President.
Dedicated to his personal ethics and professional achievement, Larry Williamson is a young man worthy of recognition. As a youngster, Williamson’s life was not a comfortable one. “My family experienced economic hardships,” he said. “I grew up seeing street justice and watched friends losing their freedom—some even their lives—when they made poor life choices.” However, the honoree was continually schooled by his Mother to hold fast to high ethical values. He shared with those close to him that he wanted a better life.
Following two enlistments in the United States Navy and an honorable discharge, Williamson joined the Department of Corrections where he remains today. However, he knew that to advance in his career, he must advance his education. He chose to follow that endeavor by beginning his pursuit of higher education as a student at Western Piedmont.
Following the completion of his Associate of Applied Science in Western Piedmont’s Criminal Justice program in 1997, Williamson went on obtain a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Lees McRae College as well as two graduate degrees from Appalachian State University, one in Criminal Justice, the other in Public Administration.
Williamson’s commitment to education has been a wise investment. He is the Assistant Superintendent of Programs at Foothills Correctional Institution. But Western Piedmont is still close to his heart and his mind: Williamson serves as an adjunct instructor in Criminal Justice, a driving instructor at the College’s Foothills Higher Education Center, and as Chair of the College’s Criminal Justice Advisory Committee.
His commitment to teaching is apparent to his students. They often comment about the extra time and effort Williamson puts forth to help them. He is often requested as a guest speaker. He is a role model as he participates in the Criminal Justice club activities. He is a mentor for a student in Western Piedmont’s Burke Middle College program.
Williamson’s commitment to community service is obvious, too. He coaches youngsters and provides training in weight lifting and racquetball in local recreation and wellness centers. Particularly inspiring is Williamson’s desire to share with those less advantaged. During the Thanksgiving 2011 holiday, he rallied students and community members to prepare and serve meals to more than 200 area residents.
Williamson’s commitment to a life well lived is unmistakable. He leads by example, and encourages others to work hard and to use their talents wisely. The lessons he learned at his Mother’s knee have surely served him admirably.
Western Piedmont Community College enrolls approximately 4,000 students annually in pursuit of college transfer degrees, two year associate degrees and diplomas. More than 10,000 students enroll each year in continuing education courses for professional development and personal enrichment. The College also provides programs for high school completion. Western Piedmont received recognition for Exceptional Institutional Performance based on standards established by the North Carolina General Assembly.
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Western Piedmont Community College
1001 Burkemont Avenue
Morganton, NC 28655