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McIntire IT Professor Jason Williamson has been awarded the 2015-2016 Jack Lindgren Award, one of the University of Virginia’s Mead Endowment-funded grants. Established in 2002, the endowment provides a small group of faculty members who display “outstanding potential to become friends and mentors of students” with grants to create their own “dream ideas,” or projects that inspire students academically while building valuable personal relationships.
The Mead Endowment was founded in honor of the late Ernest “Boots” Mead, a professor of music who retired from the College of Arts & Sciences in 1996. During his 35 years at the University, Mead became known for his deep personal interest in students, and his remarkable ability to draw out and cultivate their unique talents and abilities. The Jack Lindgren Award honors legendary Marketing Professor Emeritus Jack Lindgren, who retired from the McIntire School of Commerce in 2013 after an extraordinary career of mentoring, encouraging, and inspiring students.
“I’m tremendously honored to have been chosen as a recipient of the Mead Endowment’s Jack Lindgren Award, and I plan to use my endowment funding to establish a project that reflects the outstanding teaching, mentorship, and service legacies of Professors Mead and Lindgren,” says Williamson.
Williamson’s “dream project,” for which he received $3,000 in endowment seed money, is to lead student teams in social enterprise endeavors that will generate profits for Charlottesville-area charitable organizations. “My hope is that this project will expose students to the needs of others within their community, as well as show them how they can use their talents to change, inspire, and uplift those in need,” says Williamson, who, before joining McIntire’s faculty, enjoyed success in both the corporate sector and as an entrepreneur. Williamson says the program’s aim is to give $6,000 – $10,000 to participating local charities by the end of the 2016 academic year while growing the Mead-granted seed money by a minimum of 30 percent, thus enabling the ongoing growth and expansion of the project.
“One of my greatest pleasures is spending time with students outside of class—getting to know them, mentoring them, and, I hope, enriching their student experience,” says Williamson, who earned his Master’s in the Management of Information Technology from McIntire in 2012. More than that, he says, “this project will enable me to help make this great University, which has given so much to me, an even better place.”