By Dan Conners
CCC Journalism Program
Gerald Williams was born on Sept. 16, 1954 in Haddonfield, N.J. He was the oldest of five children born to Ana and Frank Williams. He lived in Haddonfield his entire life and graduated from Haddonfield Memorial High School in 1972. He then went on to attend Colgate University.
“When I first arrived at Colgate University, like most students, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I took a few classes, bounced around from major to major for about a year, then I finally settled on majoring in communications,” he said.
Although he had settled on a major, he still had no idea what exactly he wanted to do. After taking a few classes, he decided that intercultural communications would suit him best.
“I felt as if intercultural communications was the most attractive option simply because I could relate to the subject. I have always had an infatuation with traveling and experiencing something different than what I was used to. I wanted to see how others interacted, others in different cultures,” Williams said.
After college, Williams applied for local internships around his hometown of Haddonfield, most of them being in Center City Philadelphia.
“None of the internships really sparked my interest. Sure it was an experience working in the city, but if I was going to work in the city, it would have to be for the right company,” he said.
While working in internships, Williams had to earn money somehow so he picked up a job as a janitor. To this he attests his desire to become a teacher.
“The job was a lot of manual labor and long hours, it just was not for me, but on the same hand it gave me a lot of time to think,” he said.
Eventually, he took a job working in the city for International Business Machines Corporation, otherwise known as IBM. The technology powerhouse was growing rapidly and Williams was along for the ride.
“It was a great place to work, especially at the time. Working in a company that is international is exactly what I wanted and the experience I got was fantastic,” he said.
Williams eventually ended up traveling around the world while working for IBM, meeting with other businessmen from India, China and Italy, just to name a few. Eventually, he realized that he simply could not do this line of work forever. He aspired to settle down and have a family, which he did. After 15 years, he walked away from IBM. He had a job lined up at Rutgers University teaching intercultural communications. A few short years later he took on his current job at Camden County College.