Texas Tech University

Margaret Williams Reflects on Her Time as the Rawls College's First Woman Dean

Williams took the long way to develop her career interest and practice her expertise at Texas Tech for the past seven years as dean of the Jerry S. Rawls College of Business.

Ashlyn Grotegut | March 14, 2024

Margaret L. Williams had a lot on her mind for a 10-year-old.

As she walked the half-block home from her best friend's house, she couldn't help but think about her future.  

“I don't know what got me thinking about it,” she admitted, “but I remember thinking, ‘Wow, I'm going to spend a long time at work, so I better find something I like to do.”

Those answers did not come quickly for the fourth grader, who had recently braved a move from Florida to Ohio. The daughter of a pastor, she spent her school days caring about others and speaking up when needed. 

She didn't really consider herself a leader, but her teachers thought otherwise. 

“In seventh grade, my science teacher pulled me aside because there was a group of us being disruptive in class,” Williams recalled. “He told me, ‘You're the leader in this class. Could you encourage people to pay a little more attention to what's going on in class?'”

Williams genuinely enjoyed school, but she was not drawn to a specific field of study. By the time she enrolled in college at Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio, she decided to major in environmental biology with a secondary interest in psychology.

She lived a disciplined lifestyle by joining the swim team and becoming the editor of the student newspaper. But Williams never truly had a clear career goal – a fun fact she likes to share with undergraduates in her role as dean of Texas Tech University's Jerry S. Rawls College of Business. 

“I like to tell them that I was a biology major because they're worried about their next step and how that's going to determine the rest of their lives,” she said. “But that's not the case. You have a lot of different decision points along the way that will ultimately shape what you do.”

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