Alumni Spotlight | Mel Williams '95

Mel Williams '95

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Mel Williams came to Bridgewater College as a first-generation college student from West Virginia. He made the most of the opportunity, thanks to the scholarships that made it possible for him to attend. “I appreciated the environment in which learning occurs at Bridgewater,” he said. “Bridgewater helped make me the person I am today.”

As a political science major and philosophy and religion minor, Williams valued having professors who genuinely cared about his wellbeing and the ability to participate in small classes and be involved on campus. He was student body president in both his junior and senior years and relished the time he spent in the mascot suit of Ernie the Eagle. “That was just a blast.”

After graduating in 1995, Williams went directly to law school at The College of William and Mary, where he earned his J.D. in 1998. His first position out of law school was as an investigator for the Bedford County Sherriff’s Department, and before long he became an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney for Bedford County. In 2001, he shifted to private law practice, and by July 2012, he was operating his own practice. He now practices law as Mel Williams, PLC, in Roanoke, Va., assisting a variety of clients dealing with civil rights cases and employment law.

Williams is more than an attorney, however. He’s also a former Church of the Brethren licensed pastor who is currently studying to become an Anglican priest. While in the Church of the Brethren, he served as pastor of Ivy Farms Church of the Brethren in Newport News, Va.; PleasantDale Church of the Brethren in Fincastle, Va.; and Nineveh Church of the Brethren in Hardy, Va. Although he has since switched denominations, his priorities remain the same. These two vocations give him the opportunity to “minister to people at difficult times in their lives.”

Outside of law and theology, Williams loves scuba diving and is a certified divemaster. He is also a dedicated Bridgewater College alumnus, who served as president of the BC Alumni Association in 2014-15. “Bridgewater helped me become a person of integrity and a citizen of the world,” he commented, thanks to the liberal arts education he was able to obtain.

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