Reece and Nancy Williams honored for years of service to USC Libraries

COLUMBIA, S.C. – For their years of service to the University of South Carolina’s libraries, Reece and Nancy Williams were presented with honorary life memberships in the Thomas Cooper Society at the society’s Annual Dinner recently.

Reece and Nancy Williams were honored for their many years of dedicated support for the University Libraries, the Irvin Department, the Thomas Cooper Society, and the Ex Libris Society.

“Each year the Thomas Cooper Society’s Awards Committee votes to award honorary life membership to someone who has made an extraordinary gift to the University Libraries,” said Society President Mikel C. Smith. “This year the Awards Committee and the Board voted unanimously to award honorary life membership to Reece and Nancy Williams for their many (years of) volunteer service, leadership, generous donations, and support.”

Reece Williams III is a past president of the Thomas Cooper Society, and has also served as president of the Ex Libris Society. “Reece did a great deal to instill meaning and purpose into both groups,” said Smith, adding that “Nancy should be commended for her many year’s dedicated service as a volunteer in the Rare Books and Special Collections Department of the Library.”

Even after all those years of service, the honor “came as a surprise to me,” said Reece Williams.

Novelist and poet Ron Rash was the featured speaker at the dinner, and he was awarded the Thomas Cooper Medal. The first recipient of the medal was the late Pat Conroy. Other medalists include William Styron, Derek Walcott, Joyce Carol Oates, Edward Albee, and Doris Kearns Goodwin.

Rash’s novels include Saints at the River, The World Made Straight, Serena and The Cove. He is also respected for his poetry and short stories.

Reece Williams, a William Faulkner enthusiast and collector, was in the news last year for having donated the most valuable portions of his collection to the libraries. The gift included first editions of all of Faulkner’s novels, plus an eclectic assortment of other rare books by and about the legendary Mississippian. The gift led to an exhibit titled, “Interpreting Faulkner: Selections from the Nancy and Reece Williams Collection of William Faulkner.”

About the University of South Carolina Libraries

The University of South Carolina Libraries are ranked 34th by the Association of Research Libraries among U.S. public libraries and are the only ARL member in South Carolina. The libraries include the historic South Caroliniana Library, which recently celebrated its 175th anniversary; Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library; Music Library; Moving Image Research Collections; and Thomas Cooper Library, a seven-level facility with 290,000 square feet of floor space that is open 24/7 to students. Scholars from the around the world seek the libraries’ holdings, which include comprehensive collections of F. Scott Fitzgerald, crime fiction writers Elmore Leonard and Dashiell Hammett, natural history, astronomy, newsfilm, and state political leaders.

About Reece Williams

Reece Williams III is a member of Callison Tighe law firm. A litigator who’s often called upon to teach advocacy skills to others, he focuses his practice on trial work. He’s experienced in areas including personal injury, professional liability, commercial and government litigation. He is also a certified mediator and arbitrator. He has long been active in organizations devoted to furthering the legal profession. He was national president of the American Board of Trial Advocates in 2000 and president of the Richland County Bar Association in 2002. He’s also long been a leader in the Columbia community beyond the legal field. Among his many affiliations in the community, he is past president of the Ex Libris Society and past president of the Thomas Cooper Society.