Ann Williams - Student Introduction

Remarks by Kendall Hornbacher
Former student of Ann Williams
2013 Outstanding Baccalaureate Colleges Professor of the Year

I first met Dr. Williams in 2008 when I signed up for an intermediate-level French class. From the very first day of class with her, I could see that she would be a professor like none I had ever had before. I respected her from the very beginning, and the admiration I have for her has only grown throughout the years I have known her.

When I was in high school, the only class I truly liked and felt passionate about was French. I was the nerdy girl in the class who actually enjoyed French grammar. When I started college and declared French as my major, I did not even know what career path my life could take with a French degree. I still loved French, but I could not envision a future for myself with French being a significant part of my life.

That changed when I met Dr. Williams. I have taken every French class that she offers, even those that were not required for my French major. I was introduced to a world where learning a language is so much more than simply doing grammar exercises in a workbook. As I progressed through all of the classes, each one being more advanced than the last, grammar took a backseat to the more intriguing aspects of the language like translation. She also taught real-life subjects, like French culture. It was in the French literature classes, however, that everything changed for me. I discovered that French literature is my true passion.

In the classroom, Dr. Williams is a dynamic and passionate educator. I learned early on in my experience with her that I would need to work hard to achieve success in her classes. She sets high standards and expects her students to produce high-quality work. The vast knowledge and enthusiasm that Dr. Williams brings to the classroom drives students to put in the effort needed to succeed.

Dr. Williams also provides guidance and support to her students. In the conversations that we have had outside the classroom, she has continuously gone above and beyond what is required of her. I have sought her advice countless times regarding my future with French, and she is always encouraging and ready to listen.

Dr. Williams has, from that very first class, been an inspiration to me, and I highly value her guidance and opinions. For this reason, she was the first person I approached when I decided that I wanted to study abroad in France. Our conversations about this goal even preceded discussing this major decision with my family. I found a program in the French town of Grenoble, and I submitted an application with a letter of recommendation from Dr. Williams. I was accepted to spend nine months studying at the University of Grenoble.

I returned home from this life-changing experience last May, and I truly believe that this experience would not have happened for me without the unwavering support and encouragement that I received from Dr. Williams. After I graduate next May, I am planning on applying to grad schools in France. After years of not knowing what I wanted to do with my life, my goal has become crystal clear. My ambition is to teach French literature at the university level. I am certain that my future has been changed for the better. The impact Dr. Williams has had on me is enormous, and I can only hope that I will be able to bring the same qualities that make her such a wonderful teacher into my own classroom.

It is my great honor and privilege to introduce to you one of the most influential people in my life, my mentor and friend, Dr. Ann Williams.