HBCU Member Spotlight – Thomas C. Williams
How long have you worked for Maximus, and what is your position?
I’ve worked at Maximus for six years and I am a customer service manager for Contact Center Operations in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
Describe why you chose to attend a Historically Black College or University (HBCU). Was it your first choice?
There were several factors that encouraged me to attend my alma mater. History and pride are at the top of the list. I picked Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) based on my major, mass communications. MVSU had one of the greatest radio, television, and film departments in the state of Mississippi. Also, the majority of my teachers through the years attended MVSU and I wanted to be great like them.
What traditions stand out or impacted your overall college experience?
Hands down, it was tailgating and homecoming! There is nothing like seeing a crowd of like-minded individuals gather to have a good time. The energy is electric, and a feeling comes over you that can only be experienced, not explained. And Southwestern Athletic Conference homecomings are at the top of that experience.
Describe how attending an HBCU has impacted your professional career.
Attending MVSU helped develop my networking skills. I had the opportunity to rub elbows with individuals from all walks of life – astronauts, NFL legends, royalty, Mississippi Delta farmers, everyone. This is a variable that can’t be measured, but when you can go into any room and be comfortable talking to anyone, it makes it easier to adjust. In my current position, you never know what the issue may be or what type of person you may be dealing with, so having the ability to switch up at a moment’s notice is crucial.
What about attending an HBCU might be surprising for those who haven’t had the same experience?
Unfortunately, it is looked at as a “less than” education, when in fact, it is quite the opposite. MVSU, for example, was founded on education, developing teachers for the black community. Any alumni will tell you that we are held to the highest standard and there is nothing second-rate about an HBCU education.
What activities, initiatives, or groups do you participate in to give back or stay connected to your alma mater?
I am a part of the Hattiesburg alumni chapter. We do our best to encourage students who are looking for a quality education to consider MVSU as an option. We have stiff competition in our state (Jackson State University, Alcorn, and Tougaloo), but we do well. We also provide supplies and funds to help those students prepare for their future as Delta Devils!