“Compassion and Innovation”: Highlights From the Inauguration of Dr. Jermaine F. Williams

“My father understood that one can pursue opportunity, even if you have to create it yourself through the support of a community who cares,” Dr. Jermaine F. Williams, President of Montgomery College (MC), acclaimed during his regal inauguration. The event, held Wednesday, October 19th, 2022 at the Music Center at Strathmore in Bethesda, Maryland, featured an eclectic mix of presenters: administrators, congressmen, dancers, family, saxophonists, Dr. Jermaine F. Williams himself, and more. The greatest takeaway from the occasion, as interim President Dr. Dukes advised, aligns with Dr. Jermaine F. Williams’ call to stewardship: “to learn, listen, [and] be patient; to add their voice to the vision that Dr. Williams, the faculty, staff, and administration have for them.”

Dr. Jermaine F. Williams (far left) attentively enjoys the performance of Aaron “Exie” Triplett. (Alana McCarthy Light)

Lauren Martin, a business major who represented the Student Senate at-large, projected progression towards a better community under Dr. Jermaine F. Williams’ leadership at MC. “He has a lot that he wants to implement and get done,” the attendee commended.

Rico Newman, elder and member of the Chopitico band of the Piscataway-Conoy Nation, works to increase visibility of Indigenous students and settlements while recognizing tribal sovereignty. “Montgomery College acknowledges its presence on the territory of many indigenous nations.” He appeared in a video highlighting the vitality of the “long-standing” community.

Political figureheads attended the event, including keynote speakers United States Senator Chris Van Hollen and United States Representative Jamie Raskin, who both, according to Van Hollen, plans on “steadily increasing the size of Pell Grants”. Other present politicians included Maryland State Senator Benjamin Kramer, County Executive Marc Elrich, and Montgomery County Council President Gabriel Albornoz.

United States Senator Christopher Van Hollen calls the presence of prominent national, state, and local figures a “testament to the breath and depth of support that the college enjoys throughout our community.”
(Alana McCarthy Light)

Maryland Senator Shadow Keegan, through a deal with University of Maryland (UMD) at Shady Grove amazed the audience by “announcing a deal with university grounds agreement Institute for artificial intelligence and data visualization” and to “and “to bring life sciences research at the graduate level to Montgomery County”. This past summer, MC, ranking “second the nation in terms of Life Sciences in [the] region” partnered with Montgomery County Public Schools [MCPS], the Montgomery County Government, and multinational technology giant Apple to “build networking systems” through the coding education initiative ignITeHUB. Keegan admires Montgomery College as “a collaborative space that helps inspire innovation in Montgomery County.”

Representing the Montgomery College Foundation, a nonprofit giving emergency aid to students, Principal of Rakusin & Becker Management Kenneth Becker aspires to “build up more endowed funds over time that go out immediately to students for the next semester.” He promoted the next Scholarship Luncheon, to be held on December 9th, 2022 to promote the Foundation’s philanthropic causes in students’ lives. Regarding Dr. Jermaine F. Williams, Mr. Becker noted: “I know that he believes we fund the aspirations of students to those in need to get an education advancement and the opportunity.”

Richa D’Mello, Inauguration Planning Committee Honorary Co-chair, International Student, Sophomore majoring in Computer Science, an Treasurer of the MC Rockville Student Senate accredits a “myriad of identities” to Montgomery College, as apart of an “esteemed institution.”
(Alana McCarthy Light)

Javon Inman of the Montgomery College IT Department stated, “elevating entrepreneurship [and] serving your scholars [represents] Dr. Williams’ vision; the Office of Information Technology is behind his vision.” Mrs. Mecha Inman, CEO of CollegeTracks and wife of Mr. Inman, thinks that “Dr. Williams can inspire scholars to be entrepreneurs… by… leading by example.”

Dr. Maggie G. Williams, wife of Dr. Jermaine F. Williams, joined by Jackson and Malcom Williams [her sons], nephews, and nieces, got personal about her husband to the audience: “his love of fitness means he wakes up at four in the morning to go the gym to go to work. He can probably quote you a line from any 80s movie. The dedication he gives his family is similar to the dedication he has shown throughout his career; access to higher education were [still] his professional passions when Jermaine and I started dating 14 years ago by graduate students… and that his long term goal was to become a community college president.”

Dr. Michael Brintnall, chairman of the Board of Trustees, announced Dr. Jermaine F. Williams by calling for student “leaders who can be stewards of the public good and agents of change regardless of your roll in or connection with the college. At this time, of higher education, we need a transformative leader; a person who will change your life.”

Dr. Jermaine F. Williams announced “the essential purpose for [Montgomery College] as empowering students to change their lives” and humbly applauded the hard work put into the event. Judith, an usher volunteering for the Strathmore, praises the hall its presence as, “a very beautiful, practical venue for anything.”

The MC Performing Arts Departments embellished the spectacle with a dance team, jazz band, saxophonist Aaron “Exie” Triplett, and steel drum band performing. Alice Howes runs the dance department, and featured three of her talented students in a joyous salute to the new President.

The Montgomery College Dance Company received a standing ovation for their closing act. (Alana McCarthy Light)

Following the Inauguration, the crowd enjoyed charcuterie, served with coffee and tea. The jubilent tones of steel drums filled the air as audience members and keynote presenters alike mingled, including Dr. Williams himself. Overall, Montgomery College students should expect scholarliness and stewardship from the new President, Dr. Jermaine F. Williams and themselves with the turnover of leadership.