Cynthia Williams to retire after 30 years at UW

Cynthia Williams at podium
Cynthia Williams addresses WiW students, alumni, and mentors at a reception in fall 2022.

After an esteemed tenure spanning 30 years within the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s International Division, Cynthia Williams, international policy advisor and interim director of the Wisconsin in Washington internship program, will retire in August 2024.

Since her appointment in 1994, Cynthia has held various leadership positions, overseeing projects, navigating policy landscapes, and driving new initiatives.  Notably, she served as deputy director of the Center for World Affairs and the Global Economy (WAGE) from 1997–2002, and as the inaugural director of external relations for the International Division from 2002–2017. From 2010–2015, she provided administrative leadership for a contract to build the institutional capacity of Nazarbayev University, a new institution in Kazakhstan.

In 2017, Williams moved to Washington, D.C. as international policy advisor to coordinate campus international advocacy in federal relations, analyze trends, and build stakeholder relations, while also supporting and teaching in the Wisconsin in Washington (WiW) internship program. Since 2021, she has served as the interim director of WiW, which now has more than 700 alumni.

Cynthia Williams and Hannah Roberg with WiW students at UW-Madison Day on Capitol Hill in March 2023.
Cynthia Williams (front, left) with WiW students at UW–Madison Day on Capitol Hill in March 2023.

Throughout her tenure, Cynthia has been pivotal in fostering campus international advocacy, forging stakeholder relations, and championing UW–Madison’s esteemed academic reputation and commitment to public service values. Prior to her tenure at UW–Madison, Williams’ career included managing technical assistance programs at the University of Delaware and serving as coordinator of the International Science and Education Council in Washington, D.C.