Wilbur & Ardelia Williams Share Graduation Spotlight

Wilbur & Ardelia Williams Share Graduation Spotlight

By Alan Miller


The 1,700 students who received Indiana Wesleyan University diplomas April 28 had to share the spotlight with two long-time IWU professors, Dr. Wilbur Glenn Williams and Professor Ardelia Williams.


Wilbur Williams marked his 40th year as an IWU professor by speaking at three graduation ceremonies. It was the first time in at least 50 years that IWU has asked one of its own professors to speak at graduation.


During the morning graduation, Ardelia Williams received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree. She retired in 2002 after 35 years as the coordinator of the IWU Art Department and now is an emeritus professor.


The 77-year-old Wilbur Williams, an Associate Professor of Biblical Literature and Archaeology, still teaches full-time at IWU. He has been named IWU’s Professor of the Year or Professor of Excellence a record 10 times


When Ardelia Williams began teaching at IWU, she was the only art teacher and there was one art student. When she retired, there were six full-time faculty members and more than 100 art majors.


Wilbur and Ardelia Williams both received their undergraduate degrees from IWU in 1951 and both returned to join the faculty in 1967.


The couple taught for many years for $1 a year, so that their regular salaries could be used to pay for Williams Prayer Chapel. The small Gothic-style chapel in the center of campus opened in August 2001.


Of the 1,700 students who received diplomas Saturday, 440 of them earned degrees through traditional programs on IWU’s main campus in Marion. The remaining graduates earned degrees through adult education programs.


IWU also has multiple graduations in August and December.


Dr. Earle Wilson, General Superintendent of The Wesleyan Church, spoke at a baccalaureate service April 27. Dr. Wilson had a daughter and a granddaughter who received degrees the following day.



Alan Miller is the University Relations Director at Indiana Wesleyan University.


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