Former U business school dean dies

Sarah McKenzie

Former University business school dean C. Arthur Williams died Sunday after a long illness. He was 74.
Educating younger scholars was Williams’ chief priority, said his oldest son, Robert. He also noted that Williams’ efforts shed the notion that administrators and faculty at large research universities neglect undergraduates.
Although Williams served as an administrator at the end of his career, Robert said teaching remained his father’s top priority.
“Teaching, especially for the undergraduates, was always very critical to my dad,” Robert said. “He thought that was the essence of being a college professor.”
Williams served as dean of the business school until 1978. He retired from the University in 1992. One year later, Williams received an international honor from his colleagues in risk management when they inducted him into the International Insurance Society Hall of Fame.
John Fossum, professor of industrial relations and human resources for the Carlson School of Management, said Williams took his job very seriously.
“He was the quintessential academic,” Fossum said. “He was a good, careful and meticulous teacher.”
As one of the country’s top scholars on Social Security, Williams was partly responsible for formulating the faculty retirement plan, he said.
Fossum said Williams placed high expectations on his students, but also understood they had limited understanding in certain business fields.
“He was always very happy at the University,” said wife Roberta. “We had opportunities to move elsewhere, but he really loved Minnesota.”
Besides serving on several committees throughout the state for business education and economics, Roberta said her husband loved to travel and explore the outdoors.
“He enjoyed time in the north woods, canoeing, swimming and hiking with his family,” Roberta said. “He also played tennis and participated in Scottish country dancing with me.”
Roberta said Williams’ two sons took after him in their love for numbers. Robert works for Network Computing Services in Minneapolis. Bruce lives in Hartford, Conn., and has also been employed with a computer firm.
“Arthur had a really sharp mind for numbers,” Roberta said. “Even after he was ill, the numbers would still come to him.”
Memorials can be made to the University of Minnesota Foundation for the C. Arthur Williams Scholarship Fund at the Carlson School of Management.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. today at the Holcomb-Henry-Boom Funeral Home in Shoreview. A visitation will be held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.