Larry Williamson, Jr.

Larry Williamson, Jr.
Photo by Kevin Fitzsimons
The Ohio State University

Lawrence (Larry) Williamson, Jr. is the Director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Frank W. Hale, Jr. Black Cultural Center at The Ohio State University.  He is a native of Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, and a graduate of Montgomery County Community College and Cheyney University.  After graduating from Cheyney, he taught art and photography at Chester High School in Chester, Pennsylvania, before deciding to pursue graduate work at The Ohio State University (OSU).  Mr. Williamson came to OSU through its Graduate Visitation Days Program in which he received a one-year Minority Fellowship.  After his fellowship expired, Mr. Williamson was employed as a Graduate Administrative Associate in the Office of Minority Affairs (OMA).

As a Graduate Administrative Associate in OMA, Mr. Williamson worked directly under the supervision of Dr. Frank W. Hale, Jr.   He was responsible for coordinating art exhibits, photographing and recording OMA events, and developing layouts, posters and banners for all OMA activities. In addition, Mr. Williamson was very active as a graduate student, student leader, photographer, and art consultant.  Although Mr. Williamson was heavily involved in OMA activities, he was as deeply involved with university and community events in which he received numerous awards for his active involvement in university and community affairs.

On July 10, 1989, Mr. Williamson became Assistant Director of the Frank W. Hale, Jr. Black Cultural Center and continued as Coordinator of Art Exhibits for the Bricker Hall Lobby Area (outside the president’s office).  As Assistant Director, Mr. Williamson’s responsibilities included locating local, national and international artists to collect, display and exhibit their artwork at the Hale Center and Bricker Hall.  He also was the building coordinator and supervised 20 work-study students on a daily basis at the Hale Center.

On August 3, 1993 Mr. Williamson assumed the Director’s role of the Hale Center.  He was responsible for the total operation of the Hale Center.  As Director he is responsible for developing and directing educational, social, cultural, leadership and group activities on campus.

With Mr. Williamson as director, the Hale Center has maintained its status as one of the finest Black Cultural Centers (BCC) in the country (according to the Association of Black Cultural Center).  Depending on the reference, the Hale Center is ranked within the top 3 Black Cultural Centers and can be ranked as high as number 1.

Under Mr. Williamson, the Hale Center has doubled in size from 8,800 square feet to over 18,800 square feet and it is one of the few Black Cultural Centers that has an academic and cultural component.

Under Mr. Williamson, the Hale Center’s art collection is ranked within the top 3 in the country (as it relates to BCC) and the Hale Center is the largest employer of African American Students (over 100) on OSU’s campus and in the entire country (as it relates to BCC).  Under his administration the Hale Black Cultural Center is the only Black Cultural Center that has had 2 major renovations (2000 and 2006) that have exceeded over 1.3 million dollars.  His administration is also responsible for major donations and contributions from Mr. Jim Jackson ($50,000), Longaberger Company ($50,000) and Nationwide Insurance Company ($250,000).

Mr. Williamson is also on numerous community boards of trustees, he advises a variety of student organizations and he continues to do artwork and art consulting in the State of Ohio.  He has 2 awards named after him at The Ohio State University, one by the Black Graduate and Professional Student Caucus and one by the Ohio State University Black Alumni Society.

Larry Williamson, Jr. is married to Dr. Pamela Burdette-Williamson (a former tenured professor at The Ohio State University) and has a son Larry Williamson, III.

Interview with Larry Williamson, Jr. conducted by Sterling Clemmons.