Independent Minds, Working Together

OFIC honors Wooster trustee Ruth Williams and student Brittany Cook

Awards to be presented on April 16 in Columbus

28 March, 2014 by John Hopkins

WOOSTER, Ohio – The Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges will honor College of Wooster trustee Ruth Whitmore Williams and junior Brittany Cook at the organization's 28th annual Evening of Excellence on April 16 in Columbus, Ohio. Williams will receive the Earl F. Morris Trustee Award, which recognizes trustees who have demonstrated commitment and service to their institution and its students that goes above and beyond the norm. Cook will receive the OFIC Service-Learning Leadership Award.

Ruth Whitmore Williams attended The College of Wooster from 1958 to 1961, and has been a member of the college's board of trustees since 1994. She and her husband, A. Morris Williams, Jr., have been strong and consistent supporters of the college. Their philanthropy has touched many areas of campus life, from the Williams Fitness Center in the Scot Center, the college's new athletic and recreational facility, which opened in 2012, to the Whitmore-Williams Professorship in Psychology, endowed in 1998, and the Whitmore-Williams Scholarship Fund, established in 1978.

In 2013, Ruth and Morris Williams announced the largest single gift in the college's history, $15 million to support science education. Ten million dollars will help fund construction of a new, integrated science facility, $2 million will endow the Whitmore-Williams Professorship in computational biology or bioinformatics, and $3 million will endow new scholarships for science majors.

Brittany A. Cook, a junior communication sciences and disorders major from Bolingbrook, Ill., is being honored for her work as a teaching intern with the Alabama Higher Achievement Summer School, a rigorous, four-week residential summer academic program that serves high-achieving, underprivileged students in eighth through tenth grades.

In the summer of 2013, Cook taught and assisted with curriculum planning and program development, earning the respect of the program director, and learning about herself in the process. Reflecting on the experience, she wrote, "Even if I am a little uncertain, if I lead with confidence, the kids respond well."

The College of Wooster is America's premier college for mentored undergraduate research. Wooster offers an excellent, comprehensive liberal arts education, culminating in a rigorous senior project, in which each student works one-on-one with a faculty mentor to conceive, organize and complete a significant research project on a topic of the student's own choosing. Through this distinctive program, every Wooster student develops abilities valued by employers and graduate schools alike: independent judgment, analytical ability, creativity, project-management and time-management skills, and strong written and oral communication skills. Founded in 1866, the college enrolls approximately 2,000 students.