Williamson President's Report 2021 Edition - Page 4

and , with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in June , renamed it the James R . Clemens 3W4 Dormitory . The renovation was made possible because of a generous gift from our long-serving trustee Richard Clemens , to honor his late father James Clemens , the school ’ s longest-serving president . Dick made the gift in recognition of the fact that his life benefited because his father graduated from Williamson . He wanted to help the school that helped him and the rest of his family lead successful lives .
The Class of 2W1 overcame many challenges , especially in the last half of their thousand-day Williamson journey . We are all very proud of their commitment and know that the adversity they conquered will only make them better Williamson Men as they travel through life . We were glad to send them out into the world of work as Williamson Men at the 128th Commencement . Although , to meet pandemic safety requirements , it was held on the Betty and Russell 5W0 Harvey Field with a limited audience , it was a big improvement over last year ’ s drive-through ceremony . We also were pleased to have Kenneth Langone , the co-founder of the Home Depot , as our amazing keynote speaker , who inspired our students with his words of wisdom . With a background similar to that of many of our students - Ken ’ s father was a plumber and Ken worked in the trades as a young man - there was an instant feeling of camaraderie between him and our students . Because Ken represents the ideals of Williamson so well , we presented him with an honorary associate degree in specialized technology , the first honorary degree he had ever received .
I am happy to say that despite the pandemic , our graduates did very well in their job searches , due in large part to our annual Career Fairs . Every year we hold career fairs to help the seniors connect with great companies and find the jobs that get their careers moving in the right direction . Instead of holding 1-day fairs in November and February , we held a 3-day fair in April , while maintaining pandemic safety requirements . We limited each day to no more than 50 company representatives and all wore masks and maintained social distancing . It was strange seeing everyone fist bumping instead of hand shaking , but the results were the same as past years . Seniors found full-time jobs and underclassmen found great summer jobs and internships with the 111 companies represented . As I write this letter , all of the Class of 2W1 is employed in their trained field except one who will attend college this fall and two others that have yet to settle on a job . There are few colleges in the entire country that can compete with such an outstanding employment rate .
We also were able once again to honor Henry Rowan and the entire Rowan family for all they have done for Williamson over the years , with the 4th Annual Henry Rowan Day in the Clara Schrenk Memorial Chapel . With pandemic requirements , the event was virtual with a limited in-person audience . Dr . Paul A . Reid , Williamson ’ s president from 1996 to 2009 , delivered the keynote address . Paul developed a close relationship with Henry Rowan and described to us what a great man he was , the sort of man who not only does great things , but also inspires the rest of us to try to improve what we do in all things , including our character , attitude , and values . We will forever owe the entire Rowan family a huge debt of gratitude for everything they have made possible here over so many years .
With the Philadelphia Flower Show moving outside and moving from March to June , our horticulture seniors completed a capstone project on campus instead of designing and building an exhibit for the flower show . The project was an elaborate patio on the east side of Alumni Hall . It not only gave them the opportunity to use all of the skills they acquired during their three years at Williamson , but forced them out of their comfort zone and required learning several new skills . They completed this amazing project before Commencement despite several setbacks due to poor weather conditions . Unlike flower show exhibits , which are torn down at the end of the show , this patio will be here for decades providing students , faculty and staff , and alumni , a place to gather . The seniors wanted to create a project that would leave their mark on campus and they definitely succeeded . Please check out this impressive project the next time you visit campus .
The 50th reunion of the Class of 7W0 was canceled in June and again in October of 2020 and was finally held in June of 2021 in conjunction with the Class of 7W1 . The two classes held a joint reception before moving to separate rooms for the rest of the evening . I am happy to say that each class remembered their alma mater with very nice reunion gifts to the school . The Class of 7W1 gave a gift of $ 46,771 and the Class of 7W0 gave a record-setting 50th reunion gift of $ 200,000 . It ’ s inspiring to see how much our alumni still hold a special place in their hearts for Williamson and generously give back to make sure Williamson continues on for future generations . We are so grateful to our amazing alumni !
We continue to grow and improve because of the support of those who believe in our mission . I want you to know how much we deeply appreciate all of you who enable Williamson to meet its mission each day , whether you are an alumnus , friend , corporation , or foundation . Whether you give to the Williamson Fund , our endowment , capital projects , or join the Wanamaker or Legacy Societies , you are making a significant difference in the lives of our young men .
I will close by telling you how blessed and privileged Mary Nell and I feel to be at Williamson . On behalf of everyone here , we extend a heartfelt thank you for providing the resources we need to accomplish our mission of preparing deserving young men to be respected leaders and productive members of society . As we emerge from the pandemic and begin the 2021-2022 school year , we will build on the accomplishments of the past and strive to achieve even more this coming year . Thank you for believing in us . We pledge to continue the hard work that makes Williamson worthy of your support and ask for your continued prayers . We are excited about Williamson ’ s future with you as our partners !
May God continue to bless you and your families and Williamson College of the Trades !
For Williamson !