Meet Our Board Members: Jim Williams

Meet Our Board Members: Jim Williams

View Jim Williams' profile on LinkedIn

Board of Directors


Born: Chicago

College and major: Columbia College Chicago, media management

Position: Anchor/Reporter at CBS2 Chicago

“I anchor the 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. newscasts.”

Favorite activities during high school:

“I was in student council, I played a year of high school football, and I was very involved in theater. I played the lead role in Raisin in the Sun when I was a senior at Kenwood High School in Hyde Park.”

Most influential person growing up:

“I would say my parents for different reasons. My father was a World War II veteran and Chicago police lieutenant – he was a tough guy, he was courageous, he fought social injustice. He was far from a perfect man, but he fundamentally believed in fairness. My mother had an enormous impact on my life. She had a tremendous work ethic, she was a career educator in special education, mainly. As a young black woman in the 1940’s after graduating from college, she took a train to New York City by herself for three or four consecutive summers to get a master’s degree from Columbia University in New York, which was an incredible thing for a young black woman to do in the 40’s.”

Finding Mercy Home:

“In 1986, I did a story for WGN on a young man – his mother had died, his father was unable to take care of him, no other family members could take care of him and he ended up at Mercy Home and eventually graduated from Stanford University. Two work colleagues and I went out to the Stanford graduation in Palo Alto, and I met this remarkable man, Fr. Jim Close. So that was when I was first connected to the home. Four years later, I did another story for WGN on the Home for a segment they have called ‘Chicago’s Very Own.’ And I said to the young communications director, Mark Mroz, ‘this is an incredible place, and if there’s ever anything I can do for you, please let me know.’ A few months later he called me and said, ‘we’re starting a Board of Regents – would you be a member?’ And I said I would be honored. And that was nearly 30 years ago, and I’m one of a handful of original members of the Board of Regents.”

Favorite part about Mercy Home’s mission:

“I believe strongly in the mission of Mercy Home. We live in troubled times, we are inundated with bad news through traditional media and social media, and I think people might have the inclination to throw up their hands and say there’s no hope. Well, I see every day that we have reason to be hopeful on a number of levels, including what I see at Mercy Home for Boys & Girls. Not only is the mission saving lives, but it is a wonderful example of the good that can be done in the world. And I’ve said this many times: what you see at Mercy Home is tonic for the soul.”

Proudest accomplishment:
“When my daughter was a teenager, I was a single parent, solely responsible for raising her. I did the best that I could, and she’s a fine young woman. I don’t think anything really compares to that.”

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