Alumnus establishes science scholarships at SC State University

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

ORANGEBURG, S.C. – South Carolina State University alumnus Freddie Williams (Class of 1976) has established a scholarship program at his alma mater in the spirit of sharing exemplified by his mother and wife.


The DotMar Scientific Scholarship Fund will support African American students with goals of becoming medical doctors, infectious disease research scientists or high school science teachers.


“I was inspired to create the DotMar Scholarship through the scriptures and the people God put in my life to help overcome obstacles,” Williams said. “John 3:16 KJV says, ‘For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ Serving and sacrificing demonstrates your true love for the Gospel.”


The DotMar Scientific Scholarship Fund is named for Williams’ mother, the late Dottie Calhoun Williams, and his wife, Mary Williams, who both demonstrated generosity along his path to success.


As a child of sharecroppers in Trenton, South Carolina, Williams saw firsthand from his mother the importance of helping others.


“We were very poor … Some days we just didn’t know where our next meal would come from,” he said. “My mother would always state, ‘The Lord will make a way.’ She always would find ways to share with the neighbors. She scraped up enough food to have dinner, and we shared with the neighbors. I learned the sharing aspect from her.”


Because of the expense, Williams never had considered college an option, but in high school, his French teacher, Ms. Frances Reynolds, insisted that he apply to two colleges of his choice and offered to pay the application fees.


“When I left for college, my mother stated that the family couldn’t help me financially, but if that’s what I wanted to do, the Lord would make a way,” Williams said. “She was right. I struggled financially to get through SC State, but I decided that if I ever made it through, one day I was going to do something for others.”


When Williams enrolled at SC State, he was dating his future wife, Mary, who offered to help him with his finances.


“Although I didn’t accept any assistance from her, I learned that was her nature,” he said. “She has always given financial rewards to nieces and nephews, Sunday School students and our grandchildren for making good grades in school.”


Williams originally planned to major in mathematics with his sights on a teaching career, but an anatomy teacher instilled an interest in the workings of the human body, so he shifted to biology. As a freshman, he was faced with a financial crisis – not having enough funds for the second semester. He went to the SC State Infirmary to ask for a job. Three nurses conferred with Nurse Ida Dash and convinced her to hire him.


So, Williams was on course to become a doctor or to teach biology, but because he struggled financially through college, he entered the military after graduating from SC State. He later earned a master’s degree in management.


He went on to work at Michelin Americas Research & Development Corp. for 36 years. Most of his career was spent in management, but he concluded his time there as an ergonomist – finally employing his background in anatomy. During a recent health scare, he again applied his scientific knowledge to his care. Among his reasons for giving to SC State, he also noted the need for more African American medical doctors.


Williams is focusing the DotMar Fund on scientific and medical endeavors. Two scholarships of $4,000 per student will be awarded each semester, beginning with the Fall 2022 semester. Scholarships may be applied for tuition, academic fees and/or books. The criteria:

  • Each recipient must be an African American science major at the sophomore or junior level with a grade point average of 3.0 or better.
  • Recipients must have serious desires to become a medical doctor, infectious disease research scientist or high school teacher specifically in the science field.
  • Priority will be given to students who have documented unmet financial needs not provided from other sources.
  • Continuing applicants must remain in good academic standing with a grade point average of 3.0 or better.

 


“On behalf of the SC State family, I thank Col. Freddie Williams for his generous contributions to the lives of our students,” SC State Acting President Alexander Conyers said. “His story is one of perseverance, and all of us could take a lesson from his industrious path to success.


“Just as he took inspiration from his mother and wife, we take inspiration from Col. Williams,” Conyers said. “His dedication to SC State exemplifies the principle of giving back to the communities that forge one’s path in life. We value all the loyal Bulldogs in our ranks and extend special gratitude to those who support the university’s scholarly endeavors.”


SC State is accepting additional contributions toward the DotMar Scientific Scholarship Fund and other initiatives at SC State. Visit www.scsu.edu/givetoscstate for ways to give.


“When I learned about Col. Freddie Williams’ desire to establish the DotMar Scholarship I immediately got excited,” said Dr. Gwynth Nelson, SC State’s executive development director and associate vice president of Institutional Advancement. “We have deserving students with bright futures attending SC State University.


“Given the quality education they are receiving at SC State and the career paths they are pursuing, Col. Williams’ scholarship will further enhance our students’ academic interests,” she said. “I just want to say thank you on behalf of Institutional Advancement.”


For more information, call the Office of Institutional Advancement at (803) 536-7190 or email Angelia Jackson at ajackson@scsu.edu. Visit www.scsu.edu/apps/scholarship to apply for scholarships online.