Frank L. Williams III, M.D., ’60
Persevering in life, this Meharry Guardian says giving is a joy.
Frank L. Williams III, M.D., ’60, knew he wanted to be a doctor from the time he was five years old. One of nine children, he was always an A student. But getting into medical school posed its own hurdles. Well acquainted with lean times, he persevered in applying to medical school without knowing where the funding would come from.
As a young man, he worked a summer job making soup for the Campbell's Soup company. "I make good chicken and rice soup," he said. He saved his money and began his Meharry experience.
Over the years, because of his support for his alma mater, Williams became a Guardian of Our Legacy—alumni who've given over $100,000 in support of Meharry.
"Meharry was rough," Williams said. "They expected you to achieve in everything...
"That helped to shape my character," he said. "It taught me I could deal with something that was rough...I could hang in there. I could survive. I was there six weeks, and I felt myself growing, and I felt myself knowing."
Williams said his appreciation for giving was shaped by an experience as a Meharry sophomore when one of the patients he was sent to evaluate mentioned that she had no coal at home—she lived in the cold. When Williams went to her home to look in on her, he was moved by her poverty. "The wallpaper was coming off of the ceiling...and hanging in the floor—I'd never seen that. The place was in disrepair. So, I gave her some money." He said he continued to help her financially as long as he was at Meharry.
Williams said giving has been a way of life for him. "It's a joy to be able to help somebody who needs help...That's not a burden to me—it's a joy."
Williams said that in his case, the more he gives, the more he seems to receive. "It just happens that way...That's no fable.
"Nothing I have ever given has impeded me. It has enhanced me," he said.
Among the many ways he supports Meharry, Williams funds scholarships. "It's what I should be doing. What else are you going to do with your money?"