Tuesday, July 6, 2010

SBU Presents Honorary Doctorate to Marie Williams

Southwest Baptist University News Release
Contact: Sharina Smith, Office of Marketing & Communications
417-328-1803 / scsmith@sbuniv.edu

BOLIVAR, Mo. – Southwest Baptist University alumna Marie Williams was presented with an honorary doctorate of business at The Hughes Senior Center in Lebanon on June 23.

Biography of Marie Williams

Mrs. Marie Williams was born in Richmond, Ind., on June 30, 1915.  Following her high school graduation, she began her first business.   In 1942, Marie built a motel, the first of many, in Tulsa, Okla.  She relocated to Kansas City, Mo., where she built the Rainbow Motel and El Rancho Motel and was owner of the Riverside Motel and Restaurant in Brunswick, Mo. 

Mrs. Williams first moved to Lebanon in 1957 where she met and married her late husband, Bill, in 1958.  They left Lebanon shortly after their marriage and in 1964 returned to the area permanently and built and operated the Vista Motel and Holiday Motel on historic highway 66 near Lebanon, Mo.  She and her husband served on the Missouri Tourism Commission from 1976 through 1981. 

In 1978, Mrs. Williams was honored with the National Woman of the Year Award given for exceptional achievement in the motel industry.  Mrs. Williams was very resourceful during tough economic times working at a variety of jobs.  She sold advertising and magazines in Newton, Iowa, and became a real-estate broker and licensed insurance agent. 

Mrs. Williams is a member of First Baptist Church in Lebanon.  Throughout her life she has been involved with Bible study and other church related activities.   Currently, she writes a weekly article for The Lebanon Daily Record, sharing her vast knowledge of community history.  Her husband, Bill, passed away in 1995.  Her step-son, Bill, is self-employed and resides in Lebanon with his wife, Janet, who teaches special education classes at Greene Valley State School in Springfield.  

PHOTO: Front row left to right: SBU President C. Pat Taylor, Marie Williams, SBU Professor and Dean of the Courts Redford College of Theology & Ministry Dr. Rodney Reeves. Back row left to right: Granville Watson, Billy J. Williams, and Gary Longenecker.

Southwest Baptist University is a leader among private universities in truly integrating Christ-centered academic pursuits with comprehensive professional programs at an affordable price. Since 1878, the faculty and staff have created a caring, academic community to prepare students to be servant leaders in a global society. The University has been named one of America’s Best Christian Colleges® for 13 consecutive years, one of America’s 100 Best College Buys® for 14 consecutive years, and it has been named among institutions with America’s Best College Scholarships ® for the past three years by Institutional Research and Evaluation, Inc. For more information, visit www.SBUniv.edu.

SBU’s Office of Marketing & Communications is available to news media 24/7 at 417-399-7918.