Moving Boldly Forward

As my term as president of the Society of Alumni comes to an end, I find myself reflecting on my volunteer journey. It began innocently, as a way to stay connected after graduation, and then continued as a way to make new friends when I moved. In those early days, I could not have predicted how deeply involved I would become and how much time I would give to Williams.

Through this service, I have indeed made new friends at every turn—extraordinary people who have never failed to surprise and impress me. Ephs like Michael Eisenson ’77, a first-generation student at Williams, now chair of the Board of Trustees. He has devoted endless hours of purple blood, sweat and tears to our alma mater over the years, most recently by guiding the search for our 18th president with integrity and grace. While Michael has exceptional responsibilities, he is not exceptional in that there are thousands of Williams volunteers around the world wearing purple, working to engage and connect, mentoring undergrads, talking to prospective students, organizing homecoming telecasts, making playlists for reunion or encouraging classmates to participate in the Alumni Fund. Each of you inspires and motivates me.

I could not have predicted how deeply involved I would become and how much time I would give to Williams.

While I hoped to remain connected and meet new friends, what I did not expect was the opportunity my volunteer work gave me to see Williams from the inside, a vantage point that a limited number of alumni experience. Sitting on the Board of Trustees these past two years, I have learned so much about what Williams is and how Williams works. It has been an enormous honor and privilege to serve as a member of the Presidential Search Committee, listen to alumni discuss how to preserve the past while moving boldly forward and hear from current students and faculty about the unique challenges of pursuing high-pressure academics in today’s world. And as I look at where Williams stands today, I am incredibly proud and gratified. Our next college president will find a school that is stronger than ever and ready to face the challenges the future inevitably holds.

Being an Eph and being able to give back as an alumni volunteer have brought me and my family so much joy, and for that I am eternally grateful. I want to thank Williams and the Alumni Relations and Development Office staff for all they do every day to foster and nourish our relationships with each other and with the college. They are truly the gold standard for this work. In June, at reunion, I turn over the reins to Tom Gardner ’79, who has been a terrific VP and partner with me these past two years. I am confident that he will be a fabulous Society of Alumni president.

There will be many opportunities for us to celebrate who we are as Williams alumni in the coming years. September 2021 marks the Bicentennial of the Society of Alumni—a time to celebrate how we started, how far we’ve come and where we hope to go. Mark your calendars. I can’t wait to meet more new friends.

—Jordan Hampton ’87, President, Society of Alumni
hamptonjordan@hotmail.com