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Carol and David Williams receive Naegele Award

May 14, 2024

Northwood University honored Carol and David Williams of Midland with the Robert and Patricia Naegele Distinguished Community Service Award during one of two May 11 commencement ceremonies that honored 530 graduates.  

The Naegele Award honors the legacy of Patricia and Robert Naegele by recognizing individuals from the Midland area who have significantly impacted the local community in a positive way through volunteerism, philanthropy, and advocacy.

“Valued supporters of Northwood University, Carol and David Williams are widely recognized for their mentorship and meaningful connections with student scholarship recipients, which are a testament to their ongoing commitment to the university and their belief in the power of education,” stated Dr. Kristin Stehouwer, provost and academic vice president.

Their outstanding professional accomplishments have served as a source of inspiration for numerous Northwood students.

David Williams has had long-standing leadership roles within the financial and insurance sectors. Carol Williams had a 34-year career with The Dow Chemical Company, where she held pivotal roles in research and development, eventually assuming executive leadership positions integral to the company’s operations. Notably, she served as executive vice president of manufacturing and engineering, supply chain, and environmental, health, and safety operations.

In a keynote address to a packed Riepma Arena on Saturday, May 11, Carol Williams candidly asked graduates whether they have thought about the legacy they will leave after they are gone.

 “Whether you’re aware of it or not, no matter what you do, you will leave a legacy. It may be the legacy you want it to be, or it may not be what you want,” she said.

Carol Williams discussed the legacies of three inspiring individuals. First, Marie Curie, a scientist who changed the world of physics and chemistry, despite being born in Poland during a time when women weren’t allowed to attend the University of Warsaw.

“So don’t be afraid to think big and do big things, even when it’s difficult,” Carol Williams stated.

The second individual she referenced was Oprah Winfrey, who, despite being demoted as a young Baltimore news anchor, eventually became a daytime talk show host and is now one of the most influential women on the planet.

“Adversity will happen – count on it,” Carol Williams stated. “And remember, a setback might just be a setup for a comeback.”

The third figure Carol Williams referenced was Martin Luther King Junior, a visionary leader who helped make significant strides in the Civil Rights Movement. Having a vision was key to his impact.

Speaking of vision, Carol Williams referenced The Northwood Idea, Northwood University’s guiding philosophy, which values personal responsibility, freedom, hard work, and free enterprise. In addition to The Northwood Idea, each graduate has learned to make a difference through Northwood’s Go MAD days, where students, staff, and faculty “Go Make A Difference” by donating their time and talents to those in need. Carol Williams said she has traveled all over the world with Dow, and this is not typically found elsewhere.

It was after her 34-year career with Dow that Carol and David Williams first met some students from Northwood. The couple was so impressed that they initiated a scholarship for supply chain management students, and each year, they connect with more students as supportive mentors.

Among their professional and philanthropic accolades, Carol was honored as a Northwood University Outstanding Business Leader in 2017 and remains an active Outstanding Business Leader Executive Committee member. Carol and David were 2022 recipients of the Wings of Freedom Award, which Northwood bestows on individuals whose lives have contributed to human progress, individual liberty, and economic and social prosperity.

“Carol and David are passionately committed to their family and our academic community,” Stehouwer noted.

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