Rick Williams is the director of the Lyndon Upward Bound program at Vermont State University. He graduated from Keene State College in 1987 and began his teaching career in Northern New Hampshire and later in Kittery, Maine. Rick started with the TRIO Upward Bound program at Lyndon State College in 1985 first as a tutor counselor, then Bridge Coordinator, and then Assistant Director in 1995. Rick became the Director of the program in 2004 – the same year that his son was born. He completed his Masters in Teaching and Counseling from Lyndon State College in 2000.
Rick has been an active member of both the Vermont Educational Opportunity Programs (VEOP) and the New England Educational Opportunity Association (NEOA), serving as VEOP and NEOA President, NEOA Achiever Chair, NEOA TRIO Day Chair, National Policy Seminar Team Leader, Classroom At Sea Coordinator, Strategic Planning Chair, and Newsletter Editor. Additionally, he has co-coordinated the New England Student Leadership Conference, Vermont’s Sophomore Summit, and the Green Mountain Scholars Bowl. He has also represented New England on the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) as an Assembly Delegate.
In 2019, he was elected by the New England TRIO programs to serve a three year term on the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE). COE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to furthering the expansion of college opportunities for low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., the Pacific Islands, and Puerto Rico. Its membership includes more than 1,000 colleges and agencies. Through its numerous membership services, the Council works in conjunction with colleges, universities, and agencies to help low-income students enter college and graduate. Each year, over a million low-income students and students with disabilities receive college access and retention services from these members.
Through Upward Bound, his impact in our community has been substantial. He has organized the Warm the Children program for more than 25 years. This program, sponsored through the Barton Chronicle, provides warm winter clothing to more than 200 students from the neediest families in Orleans County and Island Pond each year. He has volunteered with the Burklyn Arts Council, with HOPE, and provides student volunteers to 31 local businesses each summer, providing more than 2000 hours each year. In 2022, Rick submitted a new TRIO Upward Bound Grant that provided $1.5 million in resources to Lyndon Institute to help first-generation and low-income students at LI prepare for, attend, and graduate from college.
In addition to working with students from Lyndon Institute since 1985, he and his family chose to move to the Lyndonville area so his son could attend Lyndon Institute. Their son Gavin had an amazing experience at LI academically, socially, as a leader, and as a 3 sport athlete. He was elected as President of his class, was a captain on all three teams, and thrived academically with supportive, creative, and thoughtful teachers who held him accountable and challenged him. LI helped to make Gavin a confident student, a compassionate part of the student body, a busy and fulfilled athlete, and provided leadership opportunities that Rick never imagined! He had very high expectations for his experience and they were surpassed.