by Summer Rand

Arden Williams has been bringing honor to the University of West Georgia ever since her graduation in 1998. From earning the UWG Achievement Award from the College of Arts and Humanities to serving on UWG’s Board of Directors, Williams continues to make a mark on UWG even after leaving the campus.

Arden Williams First working as an archives technician for the Atlanta branch of the National Archives, Williams’ current position is the senior program officer for the Georgia Humanities Council. In addition to being her favorite aspect of her job, she is best known for her role in coordinating the Museum on Main Street program, in which small towns host a traveling exhibit that Georgia Humanities sponsors through a partnership with the Smithsonian Institution.

However, working for the Georgia Humanities Council demands that each person take on multiple roles, and Williams wears many other hats as well.

“One of my responsibilities is the Georgia Humanities grant program, which I assist in an advisory capacity,” Williams said. “Additionally, I have worked on a veteran’s project this past year, judged at National History Day, assisted at the Governor’s Awards, attended a variety of meetings related to projects in the planning stages as well as kept in communication with past grantees.”

With both a bachelor’s and a master’s in history, Williams’ love for the past is evident, and she stays busy even in her off time, despite her already heavy workload.

“My boss has joked with me and said, ‘You are always working, aren’t you?’” confided Williams. “The funny thing is, we had a discussion about how hard it is not to represent Georgia Humanities in all walks of life. My leisure time is not all work, but as I trained as a historian, I do love to go to antique shops, museums and travel off the beaten path to discover hidden historic treasures.”

As the old adage goes, success is earned and not given, and while it’s obvious to see that Williams’ own determination is paying off, she attributes her success in part to her time at UWG.

“I have a lot of fond memories of UWG,” Williams said. “I had some wonderful professors that I learned so much from academically, including Dr. John Ferling and Dr. Ara Dostourian, who are now both retired, as well as the witty Dr. Steve Goodson, who is now history department chair. But the person who reigns supreme is Dr. Ann McCleary. I consider her my mentor, teacher and now years later, good friend.”

Her word of advice for students entering the workforce?

“Follow your dreams, but pace yourself. You may not land the ideal job right away, but it may lead you to something much better. Talk to people without a cell phone in your hand, assume that your boss knows more than you do, and get used to saying please and thank you.”

Posted on July 11, 2017