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Shirley S. Williams, former assistant vice chancellor for academic development and minority programs and services at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, died Monday, June. 20.

Williams was named to her role as assistant vice chancellor at UW Oshkosh in September of 1983. She also served as an education professor–starting as an assistant professor in 1966 and eventually climbing the ranks to full professor–and as the founding director of Head Start.

From Williams’ obituary:

“Shirley followed in the footsteps of her parents and grandfather and in 1959 became a teacher. She worked in the Chicago Public Schools until 1964 when she decided to pursue advanced degrees in education. Shirley enrolled at Vanderbilt University’s George Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville, Tenn., where she earned a Master’s in Elementary Education (1964) and continued her doctoral studies there. … Six months later she accepted a position at the Wisconsin State University at Oshkosh (WSU-O)–which is now known as University of Wisconsin Oshkosh–while simultaneously finishing her dissertation. On top of all of this, Shirley learned that not only were there no blacks at the university, there were none in the entire city of 30,000 people!

“Appointed by the university as the local director of a new national initiative called Head Start in 1967, Shirley worked with a staff of eight to provide preschool children of low-income families with a comprehensive program to meet with emotional, social, health, nutritional and psychological needs. … Shirley was granted tenure by the university in 1970. She then was awarded her Ed.D. by Vanderbilt University in 1972. She continued to make her mark at the university, rising up from associate and assistant professor to vice chancellor. This later led to her position at the University of Wisconsin System as a Senior System Academic Planner in 1985 with the responsibility of overseeing the teacher education programs at the 11 state university campuses.”

Funeral services will be held at Mount Zion Baptist Church, 2019 Fisher St., Madison, at noon, on Saturday, June 25. Interment will take place at Oak Hall Cemetery after the conclusion of the service. Visitation will be held at the church from 4:30 until 6:30 p.m., on Friday, June 24, 2016, and from 11 a.m. until the time of the service on Saturday. A repast will take place at the church immediately following the burial.

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