When Joe F. Williams, Jr. first stepped onto the Ole Miss campus in 1974, he was one of fewer than 40 students in the Journalism program. As an undergraduate, Joe would solidify his reputation as a talented student who loved his school, and transitioned to a job with the University Public Relations department following graduation. During his time on campus, Joe helped produce such radio and television shows as Ole Miss Today, Ole Miss Football and The Coach Steve Sloan Show. He was also tapped to be the announcer at home football games, serving as “The Voice of Vaught Hemingway” for several years.
A scholarship honoring this Ole Miss Broadcast pioneer has been endowed at the University of Mississippi. Established as an academic award under guidelines of the Ole Miss Department of Financial Aid, recipients of the Joe F. Williams, Jr. scholarship will be full-time students in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media.
Anyone interested in contributing to the Joe F. Williams, Jr. scholarship can do so online by visiting the Meek School of Journalism and New Media’s website (www.meek.olemiss.edu). Select the “Giving” tab, and scroll down to the “Joe Williams Scholarship Fund” designation box. Alternatively, donors can call 800-340-9542. All gifts are tax-deductible.
About Joe F. Williams, Jr.
Joe was born in Holly Springs, MS in 1955 and moved to McKenzie, TN fourteen years later, where he graduated from McKenzie High School. His father, Joe F. Williams, Sr., was high school principal and superintendent of the school systems in both Holly Springs and McKenzie. After leaving Ole Miss, Joe moved to Memphis, TN, where he worked in a variety of television news and public relations roles, most recently as Director of Public Relations for Pinnacle Airlines. His career included service on several not-for-profit Board of Directors, including Make-a Wish Foundation and Volunteer Mid-South.
Joe died August 6, 2013. He is survived by his mother, Holly Springs native and McKenzie resident Elaine Seale Williams, his wife Kathy Kelley of Memphis, his two sisters, Elaine Brown of McKenzie and Laura Williams of Ocala, FL, and his daughter DeeAnn Williams, who is currently a graduate student at the University of Mississippi.