Alumnus of the Year 2012-13 John Eddie Williams Jr. Reflects on the Path Taken
John Eddie Williams (BBA ’76, JD ’78) remembers the first time that he stepped into what was then Baylor (currently McClane) Stadium in 1972 as a freshman granted an athletic scholarship. His father and grandfather were longshoremen, and the young John did not imagine that he would one day be honored as Alumnus of the Year (2012-13) for his contributions to Baylor University.
He planted firm roots in Baylor, motivated primarily by his bond with fellow athletes unofficially memorialized in the amusing club called the Stud Ducks. It started with 31 members, most of whom remain connected to each other and their alma mater, where it all began.
Williams has shown his loyalty to the university numerous times in the past, including scholarships funds and construction of facilities in and around the university. One of his latest was as a major contributor to the project to build a new stadium despite his earlier skepticism. He felt that the money could be used for other things instead of for a facility that would be used only a handful of times a year. Head coach Art Briles called upon the successful lawyer’s love of football and his university to change his mind. Now the new stadium with a capacity of 55,000 spectators is a major benefit to the community and students alike.
Williams and his wife Sheridan are also active in charitable programs outside Baylor, such as the Goodfellows, which bestows toys to children from poor families during Christmas, and research done at MD Anderson and Memorial Hermann hospitals. His philanthropic spirit is peculiarly suited to his profession. As one of the premier personal injury lawyers in the state, Williams knows all about giving those in need a helping hand.