Our College, Our Community, Our Future, and ... Our New President
Perhaps raviji, a family friend of Dr. Jermaine F. Williams, summed up the values Montgomery College’s 11th president holds dear when he recalled what Dr. Williams whispered to his two sons as he sent them off to school recently: “I love you. Be good. Ask questions.” raviji, who was staying with the Williams family, believed it to be a “ritual of seminal importance,” saying, “It is something quite reassuring to know that here is a man in whose care I would gladly place my child.”
These inspirational words of raviji’s, along with those from national, state, and local leaders, capped a weeks-long celebration of Dr. Williams—and Montgomery College—at his inauguration ceremony on Wednesday, October 19 at The Music Center at Strathmore in Rockville.
United States Senator Chris Van Hollen Jr. and Jamin B. “Jamie” Raskin, U.S. Representative from Maryland’s 8th district, provided remarks, as did Maryland State Senator Benjamin Kramer, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, and Montgomery County Council President Gabriel Albornoz.
Senator Van Hollen noted, “Dr. Williams has already hit the ground running, but today we gather to officially mark the start of this new chapter in the story of Montgomery College.” He added, “This College is defined by a tradition of excellence and service, with more students achieving success, more families seeing their loved ones earn a degree, and more dreams coming to life.”
County Council President Albornoz underscored the College’s importance as a cornerstone of education in Montgomery County, opening his remarks with a humorous anecdote: “In the early 1970s my parents met as students at [the Takoma Park Campus of] Montgomery College. So I am living proof that good things are produced at Montgomery College.” Sen. Kramer added that he was wearing the honorary degree hood presented to his father, former Montgomery County Executive Sidney Kramer, 25 years ago when he received an honorary degree from Montgomery College.
Dr. Williams, who took the helm at the College in February 2022, noted in his remarks he had a unique appreciation for the level of commitment and impact in his role. “I recognize several individuals who have had extraordinary impacts at the College, and for whom we will always be grateful,” he said. “Our work now is to build on the successes we have inherited—and identify new ones.” Drawing on the inauguration’s theme, Williams added, “I ask that we hold each other accountable. And I challenge you—from whatever role you are in—to be the change you want to see. And I will meet you there with a personal passion for social justice and an ambitious vision of achievement—as together we build ‘Our College, Our Community, Our Future.’”
“Our College, Our Community, Our Future” permeated the pre-inaugural celebration held at all three College campuses during inauguration week. Takoma Park/Silver Spring’s event featured a DJ, a graffiti art project, health and blood pressure screenings, and international street food. Food, fun, and games highlighted the Germantown event, along with demonstrations of cybersecurity and biology. The College’s Rolling Raptor EduKitchen made its debut at the Rockville Campus celebration, in addition to a Mobile Food Market, anti-racism training, blood pressure screenings, and a festival highlighting campus activities.