Longtime UK trustee dies

Russell Williams, a staff representative on the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees, has died, UK officials said.

Mr. Williams, who joined the university board in 1998, died Wednesday after an illness related to a brain tumor.

He had remained active until recently, and he was one of three trustees who voted against a UK tuition increase at last month's trustees meeting.

Mr. Williams, known as Russ, had been a senior training specialist in the university's Human Resource Development Office since 1990. He was the first staff representative ever named to the UK Board of Trustees.

Funeral information was not immediately available.

UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. said in a statement Thursday that Mr. Williams inspired many on the university campus during his career.

"The University of Kentucky lost a dear friend and loyal advocate this week," Todd said. "This institution will forever remember Russ Williams as the first staff representative on the Board of Trustees, and for his instrumental role in creating the Staff Senate. He cherished his role as a voice for our staff, and I will always treasure the conversations we had. Russ will be sorely missed, but his dedication to the university will never be forgotten."

Mira Ball, the board's chairwoman, said Mr. Williams was one of the first trustees to help her get oriented when she first joined the board five years ago.

"He was a very loyal member of the board and represented his constituents very well," she said.

Specifically, she cited his vote last month against the tuition increase.

Ball said she was always impressed with Mr. Williams' commitment to making it to every UK-related event he could, from athletic games to major announcements.

"If we had a ground-breaking or dedication, if he could possibly make it, he was there," Ball said. "I remember Dr. Todd, at one event, asked if Russ Williams was attending and then he said, 'I know he's here somewhere because he always is.'"

Sheila Brothers, administrative coordinator for the UK Senate Council, recalled Mr. Williams as always "honest and forthright."

"Whenever I think of Russ, I will always think of a person of integrity, who was thorough in his research and always honest and forthright about what he planned on doing," Brothers said. "I think he helped the staff in general in his role as staff trustee. Aside from missing the person, I think his work on the board will be greatly missed as well."

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