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With former athletic director David Williams’ unexpected death on February 8th, a great light has dimmed among us.  David was a fierce defender of equality and justice on the Vanderbilt campus and in the world around us—being more than an AD, he was a thorny conscience that reminded us of the importance of institutional justice and creating a wide space so that many could enter and learn here—students, faculty, staff, administrators.  David was a welcoming presence who took time with folk and cared deeply about others.  He was not a perfect man, but he was an honest and caring one and there was comfort in knowing that he was in our lives.

A great light has dimmed, so it is up to us to pick up our lanterns, trim them well and carry on in his name and in the name of lighting the way for others to help make our journey on this planet one of care, justice, and love.

We will miss  you, David.  And we will carry on.


Emilie Townes

Emilie M. Townes

E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Chair
Professor of Womanist Ethics and Society

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