Williams had been provost and academic vice president since August 1, 2006, and plans to return to Washington, D.C., to be with her family. Speakers praised Williams in different ways—from a poem by History/Political Science Faculty Richard Unruh to a seven-point creed by Registrar Linda Pryce-Sheehan and "Eight Principles from Dr. Williams' Class" by Karen Cianci, dean of the School of Natural Sciences. Other speakers were Mark Deffenbacher and President D. Merrill Ewert. Williams was praised for her ability to build relationships, her determination to do God's will and her joyful way of expressing her faith. Among her achievements is the establishment of the Provost Faculty Scholarship Program and the emerging faculty senate and faculty rank and pay restructuring. "The word ‘can't' is not in her vocabulary," Ewert said.
In her remarks, Williams returned the love and emotion others expressed. "I am so blessed. I have loved you and I thank you for loving me," she said.
Stephen Varvis, vice president of enrollment management, will act as interim provost for the next 18 months, maintaining his current position, while a new fulltime provost is selected. In more than 20 years at FPU, Varvis has served as history faculty, business manager, undergraduate dean and director of business and civic relations.