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Albert "Bill" Williams (BA '73)

By Lindsay Welbers ('08)

BillWilliams.jpgPhoto: Jacob Boll ('12)

Here is Bill's Story:

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Theatre faculty member Albert "Bill" Williams has called Columbia home for most of his life, so much so that in 2010 he was one of the first alumni to make a generous donation to the Alexandroff Legacy Society, Columbia's planned giving recognition society.

Williams didn't hesitate when the college approached him about making Columbia a beneficiary in his will. As a Columbia graduate and instructor, he understands the importance of the college's mission and wanted to help continue the legacy. Williams decided to donate in part because of his close relationship with late president Mike Alexandroff.

"Columbia trains people who will author the culture of their times," he said. "Mike would very much want to keep with the times and continue to influence the culture of the time."

After graduating with a music degree in 1973, Williams worked on various shows in Chicago and New York City. He returned to Columbia as a faculty member in 1985 to design and teach Singing for the Actor, a course that instructs actors on the basics of music and signing. Today, he is a coordinator of the Theatre Department's musical theatre program and teaches Musical Theatre History as well as Singing for the Actor. In May 2011, he organized the Columbia-hosted Chicago Theatre Symposium.

Williams also has written theatre and music reviews for the Chicago Reader since 1985, spending more than 15 years as the theatre assignment editor and chief senior critic. In addition, he and former Music Department chair Bill Russo wrote, among others, the off-Broadway production Isabella's Fortune.

Williams said he's delighted to continue to grow with the college: "I think it's a really important institution."