The Board of Trustees at Williams Baptist University welcomed U.S. Senator John Boozman to their regularly scheduled meeting on Friday, Dec. 4. The Arkansas senator joined the trustees for lunch and heard an update on recent developments at WBU in general and on the Williams Works program in particular. The Senator also shared news from Washington with those gathered.
â€œWe were honored to have Sen. Boozman back on the Williams campus and to hear firsthand about important issues facing our nation and our region,â€ said Dr. Stan Norman, president of WBU. â€œWe were also grateful to have the opportunity to share with him the exciting things happening at WBU, especially about the new initiatives we recently launched as part of our Williams Works initiative.â€
WBU launched the Williams Works initiative this fall. Students selected for the program work 16 hours per work throughout the fall and spring semesters, and in exchange their tuition and fees are covered. Students who work full-time through the summer can also have their room & board expenses paid, giving them the chance to graduate debt-free.
â€œIâ€™ve enjoyed hearing about the Williams Works program and I think it is a great thing for students. We look forward to seeing it grow in the future,â€ Boozman said. â€œIt is great to be on a campus when you can talk all about the important things that need to be discussed, but also a campus where you can share your faith. That is really at the center of everything.â€
About half of the board attended the socially-distanced meeting in person, while other board members took part virtually.
Norman briefed the board on WBUâ€™s response to the coronavirus pandemic, noting that the university has been able to maintain in-person instruction throughout the fall semester and plans to continue doing so in the spring semester.
â€œThe pandemic has presented multiple challenges to our campus, and it has impacted a number of families that are dear to us. We have taken this very seriously,â€ the president said. â€œWBU has taken a proactive approach toward contact tracing, quarantines and isolation for those who test positive, and that approach has enabled us to keep the campus open.â€
Norman noted that WBU has had options for students to attend classes virtually, enabling them to keep up with their coursework if placed in quarantine or isolation due to covid-19.
â€œThis has been a challenging year, to say the least, but in the midst of it, we have been blessed. I am so thankful for this campus community in pulling together and meeting these challenges directly,â€ Norman added.
The board also welcomed several new trustees at the meeting. Trey Stafford of Jonesboro and Dr. Ben Rainwater of Little Rock are starting their first terms as WBU trustees, while Dr. Heather Moore of Cabot and Clint Emfinger of Searcy are returning to the board after serving previously.
The Williams Board of Trustees is composed of 24 members. They are selected by the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, which owns and operates the university.
WBU is a private, Christian university in Walnut Ridge.