John Gray Williams, director of recruitment for the College of Natural Resources and Environment, has received the university’s 2018 Presidential Principles of Community Award.

The award was established in 2013 by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, now the Office of the Vice Provost for Inclusion and Diversity, to recognize faculty and staff members who exemplify and promote a welcoming and inclusive environment in accordance with the university’s Principles of Community. Each recipient is awarded a $2,000 cash prize.

As a student at Virginia Tech from 2005 to 2008, Williams was heavily involved in diversity and inclusion efforts. He served as an officer in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Alliance, SGA Diversity Committee and represented diversity concerns on the Commision on Student Affairs. In 2006, he starred in the first version of the Principles of Community video.

Since returning to Virginia Tech as a professional, Williams has continued his inclusion efforts. He is one of the founding board members of the university’s newest alumni organization, the Ex Lapide Society for LGBTQ Alumni. He spearheaded the organization’s signature annual event, Out at Work: An LGBTQ Networking Reception. The event serves to brings together students, alumni, employers, faculty, and staff for the purpose of assisting LGBTQ students with navigating the transition from college to work.

Williams has worked as one of the primary organizers of Virginia Tech’s inaugural participation in the Capital Pride festival since 2014. He has assisted with the creation of an official alumni networking reception, as well as managed a booth at the Pride street festival each year. His goal is to convey a strong message of support from the university to LGBTQ alumni and students in the region.

He has been the primary organizer of “Year Zero Reunion,” an annual graduation reception for new LGBTQ graduates, for the past three years. For the first two years, he opened up his home for the reception.

Williams currently maintains several leadership positions, including serving on the executive board of the LGBT Faculty/Staff Caucus and on the board of directors of the Women’s Resource Board of the New River Valley.

Written by Lindsey Grooms, Class of 2019

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