June 4, 2003 | By: Aimee D. Heald

Cameron Williams has spent the better part of his 80 plus years working for Rickard Seeds and supporting the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture. A lecture hall in UK’s new Plant Science Building recently was named after Williams.

“It is a pleasure and a very gratifying experience to dedicate the hall to Cameron,” said Scott Smith, dean of the UK College of Agriculture. “Financial support from loyal alumni like Cameron makes the difference between getting by and doing something that truly is first rate.”

Throughout his 53 years of employment with Rickard, Williams took advantage of a program that matches gifts to charitable causes dollar for dollar. In all, Williams secured more than $50,000 – enough to confer upon his five children, one in memoriam, the distinction of UK Fellow. 

The UK Fellows Society was created in 1965 as part of the celebration of UK’s Centennial birthday. Alumni or friends of the University earn the Fellow title with a $10,000 contribution. 

“The most exciting thing about all this is being able to have all five of my children named UK Fellows,” Williams said. “I could not have done this much without the matching program with United States Smokeless Tobacco (parent company of Rickard Seeds).”

Williams and his wife Rachel have contributed nearly $70,000 to UK agriculture and athletics programs, including $25,000 in matched funds from U.S. Smokeless/Rickard Seeds. 

Tom Hutchens, president of Rickard Seeds spoke at the dedication ceremony.

“I think about Cameron and what he’s added to Rickard,” he said. “He’s the face that has represented us in Kentucky and other states for many years. When I think about his traits they are loyalty, integrity, generosity and honor. This hall is a tremendous tribute to him and the legacy he leaves.” 

A 1949 UK graduate, Williams went to work for Rickard Seeds in 1950 and has been a seed representative ever since. He said aside from work he’s very active in his family’s lives and in his church. As a consultant, he still travels to tobacco meetings around the Southeast and still impacts many lives.

“The College of Agriculture values its supporters and we treasure the relationships with those who share our sense of purpose,” Smith said. “I don’t know anyone who personifies that more than Cameron Williams.”

A portrait of Williams will hang in the lecture hall. Also, a custom-built podium which incorporates 4-feet high “test tubes,” bubbling water, colored lights and brushed aluminum trim into its design, will be permanently located in the hall. It is dedicated to Williams’ late daughter Diane Patricia Williams (Patsy) who died as a result of her missionary experience in the Philippines. 

Cameron and Rachel recently celebrated 57 years of marriage. They are the parents of C. Judson Williams, Diane Patricia Williams, Rev. James A. Williams, Deborah Wheeler and F. Edward Williams. They have five grandchildren.