CONWAY, Ark. – Ronnie Williams served the University of Central Arkansas for 40 years.

“To be able to affect the lives of young men and women in ways that will really and truly help them find their rightful place in our world, there’s nothing more rewarding than that,” said Williams.

During his time at the university, he marked his place in history as UCA’s first African American to serve at the executive level.

To address retention and graduation rates of students of color, “we developed a mentoring program utilizing professional mentors,” said Williams.

For his service on campus and in the community, his legacy was cemented with the student success center being named after him.

“To feel that you played a significant role in helping to further this institution in ways that would assign your name to a building is just unbelievable,” said Williams.

His success as an adult is grounded in what he learned working on the farm with his family.

“Literally chopping cotton and picking cotton, so it was very difficult,” stated Williams.

When Ronnie was seven-years-old, his brother Marvin Williams died in police custody.

It wasn’t until almost 20 years later that he found out the details… that story is now in his book called Markham Street.

“I wanted to humanize Marvin and to honor him,” said Williams.

A tribute to his brother’s life that turned into a story for the world to read.

“I feel like I took his place and because he wasn’t able to realize his full potential in this world, and so, I feel like we are together,” stated Williams.

To find out more about the story of his brother Marvin, visit