Campus News

Andrew Williamson '55 Receives Distinguished Educator Award

Story posted June 07, 2005

Andrew Williamson.

Andrew W. Williamson III of Jefferson, Maine, Bowdoin Class of 1955, has been honored by the Bowdoin Alumni Council with the 2005 Distinguished Educator Award, presented June 4 during Reunion weekend.

The Distinguished Educator Award was established in 1964 to recognize outstanding achievement in education (teaching or administration) by a Bowdoin alumnus or alumna in any field and at any level of education.

Williamson has been a leader in mathematics education both as a teacher and researcher, earning national and statewide recognition for his commitment to his students. His many accolades include being named in 1984 winner of a Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Those honored with this award serve as models for their colleagues and are leaders in the improvement of science and mathematics education.

Born in New York City, Williamson spent many years as a child in Jefferson, graduating from Lincoln Academy in Newcastle. At Bowdoin, he majored in mathematics, played football and ran track, and was president of the Student Curriculum Committee. He was a James Bowdoin Scholar, graduated summa cum laude, and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. In 1956, he earned a master's degree in teaching in mathematics from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

Following a two-year stint as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Army, he joined the staff of Lincoln Academy in 1958 as a physics and mathematics teacher. While at Lincoln Academy, he served as math department chair and as track coach, winning 10 straight Knox-Lincoln League championships from 1961 to 1970. Williamson was president of the Association of Teachers of Mathematics in Maine, active in the Association of Teachers of Mathematics in New England and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and frequently taught extension courses in mathematics at the University of Maine.

Williamson attended two Institutes for Secondary School Teachers of Mathematics, a program for gifted secondary-school teachers directed by Cecil T. Holmes, longtime mathematics professor at Bowdoin. The institutes were held at Bowdoin and funded in part by the National Science Foundation. While at the Bowdoin institutes, he took courses in the still-young field of computer programming and arranged for Lincoln Academy to have a time-sharing link to Bowdoin's computer.

He has been an active community volunteer as well, serving as chairman of the Jefferson School Board (1969-70). He and his family spent the 1970-71 school year traveling as part of a Ford Foundation Leadership Development Fellowship. During the year, Williamson worked and did research at the University of California-Los Angeles and Stanford University, and spent time at schools in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

In 1972, Williamson left Maine to become chairman of the mathematics department at Mid-Pacific Institute in Honolulu. He returned to Lincoln Academy in 1976 and spent the next decade there. In 1986, he became a chairman and math teacher at the Chadwick School in Palos Verdes, California.

Williamson and his wife, Louise, have been active upon retirement. The couple spent the 1998-99 school year in Durban, South Africa, directing an American missionary school for children who had fled war-torn Congo. In 2000, they volunteered with the Young America America's Cup team in New Zealand.

Williamson has long been an active volunteer for Bowdoin, serving as president of the Bowdoin Club of Knox-Lincoln-Waldo in 1963, as a Class Agent from 1959 to 1966, and as a member of the 50th Reunion Committee.

The Williamsons have five children: Andrew W. Williamson IV, Heather J. Williamson Thomas '83, Elizabeth L. Williamson, John P. Williamson, and Paul W. Williamson; and 10 grandchildren.

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