Orangeburg, S.C. – Armstrong Williams is a proud alumnus who continues to make a difference in the Bulldog community. He does this by consistently giving back to his alma mater through donations and scholarships.
“I have donated to the college because I want the college to be in the best position to grow and grow as the leaders of tomorrow. An institution is no better than the students it produces,” Williams said.
A native of Marion, South Carolina, Williams is a broadcast media owner, nationally syndicated columnist, entrepreneur and philanthropist. He received his degrees in English and economics from South Carolina State University in 1981.
While attending SC State, Williams made a name for himself by serving as student body president.
“When I thought I couldn’t win a second term as student body president, I wasn’t going to show up for the speeches because I gave into the rumors of people saying I couldn’t’ win,” Williams said. “My friend David Braxton drove me to Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) auditorium, and I gave my speech. To my surprise, I won by a landslide. It was one of my greatest memories. It taught me to never give up and to not listen to what others say. You have to run the race.”
Williams is known for his extensive history in the television industry. He is the founder and CEO of the Howard Stirk Holdings broadcast company and host of the Armstrong Williams Show. He also is dedicated to creating opportunities for students at SC State through the Howard Stirk Holdings Journalism Foundation and D.C. Opportunity Media scholarships.
“SC State helped to shape my career because it gave me a foundation of courage, real self-esteem. It also gave me my first international experience, which was Canada,” Williams said.
SC State recognizes Williams and his mother, Thelma Howard Williams, as historical staples to the university. She was a farmer and philanthropist who left behind a profound legacy to not only her family, but also to the Orangeburg community. In honor of his mother’s memory, the university planted a rose garden near the monument on campus.
SC State opened plenty of doors that encouraged Williams to keep going. Certain people at SC State like Dr. Oscar Butler and former President Maceo Nance acted as major influences in his life.
“They realized I came from structure, leadership, discipline, work ethic and that I had focus. They knew I had those qualities, so they developed them. They helped groom me into a young leader,” he said.
After graduating and starting a successful career, it was important for him to be an inspiration and shine a light on students who are passionate about getting an education just like he was. He continues to do that by being a role model and letting students know they can do anything they put their minds to.
Williams was recognized in 2017 at as his SC State with its Lifetime Achievement Award. He was awarded an honorary doctor of letters degree at the University’s Spring Commencement in 2021.