March 30, 2016
Vice Admiral (retired) Mel Williams Jr. will leave the George Washington University at the beginning of April to join the University of California at Davis as chief of staff for finance, operations and administration.
Adm. Williams joined the George Washington University in 2013 and shortly thereafter launched GW Veterans Accelerate Learning Opportunities and Rewards (VALOR), the catchall initiative coordinating the several university offices that help military members, veterans and their families find success at GW. The VALOR team helps veteran and military students network, navigate their benefits and find jobs or scholarships.
“As the associate provost for military and veterans affairs at GW, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed supporting and observing the success of VALOR students as I served on a team with wonderful people at a top private university,” Adm. Williams said. “This has been an absolute privilege for me.”
During Adm. Williams’ tenure, veteran and military initiatives at GW included the Ribbon Project and a partnership with the U.S.S. George Washington. Military and veteran enrollment has increased by at least 200 students since VALOR was founded in 2013, and the program has grown accordingly, receiving a $1 million grant to the School of Nursing for the “Transition to Nursing” program and major gifts to launch initiatives such as the Mark R. Shenkman Career Services Fund. Citing these and similar projects, the Military Times has repeatedly named GW among their top “Best for Vets” and “Military Friendly” private universities.
“I am deeply appreciative of Admiral Williams’ dedication to the university and to the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs, which has flourished under his leadership,” said Forrest Maltzman, interim provost. “In the past three years the office has greatly enhanced its academic and student support services and deepened the university’s understanding of the unique challenges facing military students.”
Students will be able to access all VALOR services through existing VALOR staff, who are working in conjunction with the provost’s office.