DALLAS (SMU) — R. Hal Williams was a master teacher who inspired generations of SMU students as a professor and chair of the University’s Department of History. He served as an academic leader as dean of Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences and later as dean of research and graduate studies. He died Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, after a brief illness.
Dr. Williams came to SMU from the faculty of Yale University in 1975. He joined SMU as a full professor and chair of the Department of History.
In 1980, while continuing to teach and publish, he became dean of The College, now called Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, a position he held until 1988.
When Robert H. and Nancy Dedman gave a $25 million naming gift to The College in 1981, Dr. Williams helped raise additional funding for faculty development, undergraduate and graduate student scholarships, facilities renovation and other needs. He also helped guide the University’s Common Educational Experience, now called the University Curriculum, a course of study required of all SMU undergraduates.
In addition, Dr. Williams served as SMU dean of research and graduate studies from 2004 to 2007. He retired as professor emeritus of history in 2011. READ MORE