Philander Smith College Student Named 2016-2017 All Star By The White House

The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) has announced its 2016 class of HBCU All-Stars. Russell Roosevelt Williams III, a sophomore at Philander Smith College, is among the 73 students chosen for this prestigious honor.

Williams, a political science major from Opelousus, Lousiana, is among the 2016 All-Star cohort comprised of undergraduate, graduate, and professionals students who were selected in recognition of their accomplishments in academics, leadership and civic engagement.

“During the course of one academic school year, the 73 All-Stars will distinguish themselves as exemplars of the talent that HBCUs cultivate and as noble ambassadors of their respective institutions,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. “The Initiative is looking forward to working with this third class of All-Stars and is confident this opportunity will allow the Initiative to meaningfully connect with HBCU students and advance academic excellence at their schools.” 

Selected from a pool of more than 300 students from 24 states, the District of Columbia, Ghana, Nigeria, and the Virgin Islands, Williams is the only Arkansas student selected for this year’s class. “I am beyond humbled at the opportunity this presents for me to represent my institution in my community as well as at the nation’s capital,” says Williams. Projected to graduate in 2019, Williams is already on a fast track to success and has proven his drive and leadership skills on the Philander campus and in the community serving as the Student Government Vice-President for 2016-2017 and was selected to participate in the Summer Institute for Emerging Managers and Leaders hosted by the University of California at Riverside in August. His aspirations include serving as a lawyer and a public servant within local and state government.

As an All-Star, he will serve as an ambassador by providing outreach opportunities and communicating with his constituents about the value of education and the initiative using social media, relationship building, community-based organizations and sessions with industry professionals. The honor also includes the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. to represent Philander Smith College at the annual White House HBCU National Conference in the fall.