Angelo Williams

Angelo Williams, MA ’06 (Education), MA ’07 (Higher Education Leadership), EdD ’10

Growing up as the son of a civil rights activist, Angelo Williams, MA ’06 (Education), MA ’07 (Higher Education Leadership), EdD ’10 can’t remember a time when he wasn’t interested in social justice. What he didn’t know until much later is that he also shared his father’s passion for education. And for Sacramento State.

“My father was a teacher and is a Sac State graduate. He saw education as a way to give back,” says Williams, a recipient of a 2017 Distinguished Service Award, “I’m following in his footsteps.”

Over the years, the younger Williams’ giving back has included advocating to the legislature to increase student financial aid and overseeing grant programs for the country’s second largest educational philanthropic foundation. As a gubernatorial appointee to the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office he even testified on behalf of a bill to allow the CSU, and Sacramento State, to confer doctoral degrees—the same doctorate he went on to complete himself.

“For me it was a no-brainer that the CSU, and Sac State in particular, should be one that awards the doctorate in education because that’s what we do,” he says. “We teach teachers to go out and make a difference. Why not give higher education professionals the opportunity to earn the doctorate and become the administrators, leaders, chancellors and directors of the future?”

These days, Williams advises parents on how to keep their families and their communities healthy as director of community engagement and mobilization for the California Black Health Network. It’s a message that carries particular resonance for Williams, who lost his sister to congestive heart failure, and has stepped in as father to her children. He’s also introducing high school students to the power of social justice through an NAACP youth chapter summer program and is on the faculty at Sacramento City and Sierra colleges and took part In the Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program.

He credits his ability to juggle multiple projects to his Sac State training.

“One of the things about the education I received that was so important is that I can shift among subject matters and then apply all the lessons I learned, he says. “I get to be someone who can help someone else. I can make the impact that I want.

“I owe a lot of that to Sac State. I’m so appreciative of the all the opportunities I had. I want to be one of those people who feel like now because of the degree, because of the opportunities, I’m able to be of use, to be of service to others.”

This article was originally published in the Summer 2017 edition of Sac State Magazine.