Saved by Williams, More than Once

by Tim Hildreth ’91

Williams alumni shaped my life as much as my time at William did. Three stories come to mind:

Tim Hildreth and faculty member
June 1991 graduation with, from left to right, Tim Hildreth '91, Professor Bushnell '20 and Jeff Low '91

1. As a junior, I had the great pleasure of working as a personal assistant/companion to Professor Emeritus Nelson Bushnell '20 whose prize for excellence in teaching and writing has been awarded to Williams faculty since 1995. One of a series of Williams students—starting with my freshman JA, then my college roommate, then me—who assisted Nelson (90 years old at the time) after losing much of his sight, I got to experience not only the history of Williams through his eyes, but much of the history of modern American education and industrial development as well.

2. I owe my career to a local Williams alum (and to the office of career counseling). After living in France for a time after graduation, I came home in 1993 without many skills and without a clear direction. I reached out to the office of career counseling and got a list of local (southern New Hampshire) alum. One (whose name I'm sad to say has faded from my memory with time)—in his first call with me—told me that I wasn't worth much and should consider joining the McDonald’s manager training program. I'm sure there was opportunity there and good intentions! Fortunately for me, his wife was listening and read him the riot act for not being more supportive and told him that it was his duty to help me find a job ... which he did, with a small software company making language-learning software in my very home town. Today, more than 25 years later, I've got a career in software product management (and an M.Ed. for when I am ready to finally go teach French!).

3. I can honestly say that the last 10 months of work from home, and Zoom calls and Covid precautions would not have been as bearable without the support and engagement of my fellow Williams alum. From Facebook groups and group chats to (virtual) reunion planning ... my fellow Ephs have never felt more like family than they do today.

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