Williams give back through Greater > Than campaign

Richard Williams ’63 is still so grateful for the scholarship he received to attend Cornell College that he gladly gives back. Along with his wife, honorary alumna Marlene Williams, he’s giving $500,000 to Cornell’s Greater > Than campaign science facilities project.

Richard and Marlene Williams
Richard and Marlene Williams

“I gave because, to a great extent, it’s a payback for the scholarship help I received when I was there. We’ve done reasonably well and we figure when you’ve been successful you’ve got to give back to society. Cornell is one of the ways we give back,” said Williams, a member of Cornell’s Board of Trustees since 1989.

Cornell’s $35 million science project will more than double the college’s STEM space with the construction, now underway, of the four-story Russell Science Center and renovations of West Science and portions of Law Hall. In just under two years, the college has exceeded $32 million in gifts toward the project.  

“Richard and Marlene’s devotion to Cornell is remarkable,” said Cornell President Jonathan Brand. “Their leadership and support has had a direct impact on student life in and out of the classroom. We are thankful that their generous gift to the sciences widens their impact even further.”

Williams received Cornell’s Distinguished Achievement Award in 2013 for his outstanding career as a partner in a Chicago law firm. He and Marlene have supported the renovations of the first-year residence halls and the Thomas Commons, the Beta Omicron Distinguished Alumni Visitors Program, Law Hall Technology Center, the Program for Law & Society, the Class of 1963 Endowed Scholarship, and Cornell’s Annual Fund. He and Marlene established The Richard and Marlene Williams Fund, which since 2008 has supported campus lectures and special events such as the Second City Touring Troupe, the Capitol Steps, and in 2017 the pop singer Daya.