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Oxford

Retiree Helps Students Succeed as Academic Consultant

By Alexandria Davis
Hottytoddy.com intern
aedavis7@go.olemiss.edu

Academic consultant Mary Williams’ journey to Oxford began through the eyes of her daughter. At the time, she and her family were living in Houston, but her daughter had her sights set on Mississippi’s flagship university – Ole Miss.

Now, the legacy continues with her two grandchildren who go to school at the University of Mississippi. Though she still lived in Houston at the time of her daughter’s stint at Ole Miss, she decided to move to Oxford for retirement because she “fell in love with her grandchildren.”

“I decided I wanted to be around family,” she said.

Mary Williams congratulates a former student. Photo courtesy of Mary Williams.

Williams quickly learned that Oxford was a great place to retire, but she didn’t want to just go to brunch and book clubs. She wanted to continue to impact lives as she did with her special needs students in Houston where she was a teacher.

“I always want to be doing something that feels like I’ve accomplished something. It’s just part of my personality,” she said.

She first started working for the athletic department at Ole Miss tutoring athletes. Though she enjoyed working with athletes, she felt like she had more freedom working independently of the school. She had the freedom to talk to the students as much as she wanted and meet them wherever the students wanted her to meet them.

She helps students in a very personal way by organizing their schedules, helping them stay on track, and even getting them tutors.

One of her former students, Morgan Boyd, spoke very highly in regards to her personality as a consultant. She learned of Williams through her friend following her freshman year. 

“I needed someone to help organize myself, help keep me accountable, not miss assignments, and help in any class I needed that week,” she said.

Boyd also recognized Williams’ significance in her life as more than just an academic consultant. She recognized Williams as a friend, grandmother and therapist.

“She wasn’t just a tutor in my eyes. If I ever had a problem that I couldn’t go to my parents or friends with, she was there for me,” she said.

Boyd bragged on Williams’ “incredible character.” She said Williams believes in her students, giving them that extra encouragement many struggling students need all while showing her human side. 

“We would sit and gossip and have our little pastries from Panera or whatever for hours,” Boyd said. 

Williams and her student Morgan Boyd. Photo courtesy of Mary Williams.

Williams has always had a knack for being a part of her students’ lives.

“I like how people are different. If we were all the same, it would be a pretty boring world,” she said.

Williams can often be more than an academic consultant. She actively tries to be a friend.

“She’s not in this business for the money; she truly cares about each and every person that she works for,” Boyd said. 


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