New scholarship created to honor John R. Williams

New scholarship created to honor John R. Williams A scholarship has recently been established to honor the memory of John R. Williams, founder and director of the Alcohol & Drug Abuse Studies Department (ADAS) at The University of South Dakota.

Williams died Sept. 4, 2001. The $1,000 scholarship will be given annually to a junior or senior majoring in ADAS.

Students may apply both their junior and senior year but may only receive the scholarship once. The due date for applications is April 19, 2003.

Application requests and completed applications should be returned to: ADAS Department, Julian Hall Room 304, The University of South Dakota, 414 E. Clark St., Vermillion, SD 57069-2390.

The ADAS faculties select the recipient for this scholarship. The award winner will be announced by the end of the school year. The award will be sent directly to the recipient.

Individuals interested in contributing to the scholarship fund may send their contributions to: Attn: John R. Williams Scholarship, USD Foundation, P.O. 5555, Vermillion, SD 57069.

Williams was honored posthumously on Aug. 30, when his former office was dedicated as the John. R. Williams Conference room.

Williams was born in Hot Springs, to Joe and Stella Valandry Williams. At age 6 he moved with his family to his mother's allotment on the Pine Ridge Reservation. On this ranch, John learned three important qualities � patience, kindness and spirituality. He carried these three qualities throughout his lifetime of teaching, counseling and mentoring.

Williams served in the United States Army during the Korean conflict. Following his honorable discharge, he earned a bachelor of science degree in industrial arts at Southern State Teachers College in Springfield. He went on to earn his master's of education degree in guidance and counseling at the University of Wyoming, Laramie.

While working on his doctorate of education degree in guidance and counseling from The University of South Dakota, he developed, directed and taught in The University of South Dakota Alcohol & Drug Abuse Studies Department (ADAS). He continued to direct and improve this department until his death.

The current ADAS Department originated from a National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) grant that was awarded in May 1973. The first year 20 alcohol related mini-courses were taught. These courses followed the university requirement of a course syllabus approved by the sociology department and was conducted through State Wide Educational Services (SWES).

The course required no formal university admission and focused specifically on Indian alcoholism.

A new grant in 1976 included a consultative college model. This model allowed training needs for both Indian and non-Indian South Dakota alcoholism counselors to be served.

The purpose of the department then shifted to curricula, job descriptions, funding needs and various delivery mechanisms. While waiting department status from the Board of Regents, courses were shifted from the School of Education, Health, Physical Education & Recreation to the School of Medicine.

The degree was approved Dec. 1, 1977 and the responsibilities for the ADAS Department came under the Division of Health Science. The ADAS Department has made several moves before returning to Division of Health Sciences in July 2001.

Each transfer has increased the program's momentum and visible support within the academic community, enabling the program to continually grow.

Williams not only developed the ADAS Department, he was also instrumental in raising the standards for alcohol and drug counselors in South Dakota.

He served on the initial Chemical Dependence Association board formed in December 1980. Today the Certification Board for Alcohol and Drug Professionals certifies alcohol/drug counselors and prevention specialist.

Williams' vision for the ADAS Department was one of continual growth. Just days before his death, Williams was working on a proposal for a masters degree in addiction studies at The University of South Dakota. This program will again help raise the standards for alcohol/drug professionals in South Dakota.

Williams served The University of South Dakota for 28 years. Not only patience, kindness and spirituality but also his sense of humor and genuine desire to help people made it possible for him to touch many lives � students, faculty, staff and members of the Vermillion community.

Williams is survived by his wife of 42 years, Diane Williams, their two children, Monty and Joni, a son in-law, Kyle, grandsons, Damon and Devon, and many other family members. He also has a special place in the hearts of many members of the Wase Wakpa Community and The University of South Dakota.

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