Franklin College professor Jim Williams is not only division head of the Business Department. He is also a musician.
“Not many business people fit that mold,” Williams said.
Williams is a euphonium player and is known around the Midwest region for his talents. He has been featured as a performer at Butler University, Ball State University, Otterbein College, Capital University and the Great American Brass Band Festival. He has also been a guest artist with the Indianapolis Symphonic Band and the Indiana Wind Symphony, and has performed for commencements at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
“I am to a large extent self-taught, but I haven’t let that stop me,” Williams said. “So being able to be involved that much with music at that level would be a great professional achievement.”
Originally from New York, Williams studied at Indiana University where he earned a master’s degree and half a doctorate degree in business. He has resided in Franklin for the past 30 years, and he started teaching at Franklin College in 1983.
Professionally, Williams cites his license as a certified financial planner, which he earned in 1989, as his greatest accomplishment.
Earning the license required six examinations as well as continual retesting.
“It makes me a better teacher because I’m able to tell the students the latest,” he said.
While attending Indiana University, Williams was one of the few people not majoring in music to study under Harvey Phillips, a distinguished professor of music. Williams now serves on the board of the directors for The Harvey Phillips Foundation, an organization that supports composers, using his business skills to help manage the operations of the foundation.
“I’m valuable to people because I understand the music part of music and the business part of music,” Williams said.
He continued, “These things are mutually reinforcing. The business world needs people who understand music and the music world needs people who understand business.”
Williams also serves on the board of directors for the Indianapolis Brass Choir, a volunteer organization of unpaid musicians that helps raise money for local and national charities.
Williams teaches private instrumental lessons, arranges music for groups and works with electronic music for software companies.
While at Franklin College, Williams has been honored with the Dietz Award for Faculty Excellence, as well as awards for service to the college and for advising students.
Williams said that advising is “the guts of what my job is here, is to work with students to help them succeed.”
Last year, all of Williams’ business majors were placed in good jobs before graduation, a record he hopes to continue within his department.
“I really want to see us turn out not only quality business people but quality members of society,” Williams said.
Williams said he began teaching to share his business experiences with students so that they would not make the career mistakes that he did.
“You see somebody come in here, and they are raw material,” Williams said. “You see the potential in them and helping people to unlock that potential is tremendous.”
In addition to his work in business and the time he spends performing, Williams has the highest class amateur radio operator license from the Federal Communications Commission. Over the years, he has spoken to people in over 100 countries and has bounced signals off the moon.
Williams also has a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in foreign languages from Indiana University, and he speaks Spanish, Dutch and German.
Considering his teaching career, Williams says his job is to prepare students for the future.
“Every year I’m presented with a unique set of individuals with unique skill sets and each one presents unique opportunities and unique challenges,” said Williams. “What I have to do then is help people really develop what they’re good at and help them get better at what they’re not so good at. Nobody comes into college fully formed. In business terms, we’re taking raw material and transforming it into finished goods.”
Williams is available to discuss the business department and what a Franklin College liberal arts degree as a business major or minor can do for you. Schedule a visit by contacting the Office of Admissions at (800) 852-0232.