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Jim Williams Honors Wife with New NGU Music Scholarship

Even though Jim Williams never attended North Greenville University, his love for the school — which provided the financial assistance for his wife to study music here — runs very deep.

When she was a teenager, Mary Ann Nelson Williams (’49), Jim’s wife of more than 40 years, had a love for music and wanted to further develop her God-given talent by studying piano. However, the Nelson family of Fountain Inn, S.C., didn’t have the means to send all 10 of their children to college without financial assistance.

North Greenville, then a junior college, made it possible for Mary Ann to enroll in 1948 on a music scholarship.

After completing her associate’s degree requirements in 1949, Mary Ann continued her education at Limestone College, where she received a four-year degree in business administration.

Even though her professional career was in business, she dedicated her life to her Christian calling in music by volunteering her talent for over 40 years to local churches in Laurens, S.C., as a part-time organist and pianist.

Through the years, Mary Ann also attended several class reunions at the NGU campus, where she enjoyed reminiscing about her school days.

“She wanted to pay her scholarship back that helped her family send her to college,” says Jim.

However, in 1998, before she could make plans to do so, Mary Ann passed away, leaving a legacy not only as a businesswoman and musician, but also as a wife and mother to three sons.

“She was an accomplished person,” says Jim.

Almost seven decades from the time Mary Ann first entered college, her husband Jim — a barbershop owner of 64 years in Laurens, S.C. — contacted the university to honor his deceased wife.   

“I am appreciative to North Greenville for what they did for my wife,” says Jim. “I want to honor her wishes.”

Jim recently gifted $10,000 to NGU in her memory, making it possible for future NGU music students to afford a quality, Christ-centered education at NGU.

“I’ve always had high regards for North Greenville. Many students I know who have attended [NGU] have come to know the Lord,” says Williams. “North Greenville is special to me.”

Williams says his main reason for making this gift is to encourage others.

“One of the biggest blessings is getting the chance to give back,” Williams says. “And to inspire others to do the same.”

The funds from Jim’s generous donation will also encourage future students who choose to study in NGU’s Music Department, formally the Cline School of Music.

“This gift will be used to award scholarships to students pursuing a music degree with a concentration in piano and who will use their gifts and talents for the Lord,” says Jackie Griffin, dean of NGU’s College of Fine Arts.

For more information about giving to NGU.

       

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