William J. Williams Jr. ‘58
Whether you need to revamp the Rules of Golf or bring capitalism to Communist and former Communist countries, Bill Williams is the man to call. A partner in the prominent law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell, Bill has forged a career that is a definition of both erudition and integrity in the legal arena.
Upon graduating from Holy Cross in 1958, Bill earned his law degree from the New York University School of Law, where he was a Root-Tilden Scholar and Editor-in-Chief of the N.Y.U. Law Review. Admitted to the New York Bar in 1961, he joined Sullivan & Cromwell. He became a partner in 1969, coordinated the firm’s securities practice for five years, led its corporate group for five years and was a member of its governing committee for 16 years.
Bill became an expert in the field of securities law and has advised on securities offerings by issuers from five continents. Over the years Bill has represented the Securities Industry Association in connection with the successful defense of fixed price offerings to distribute securities and the SEC’s adoption of shelf registration, re-examination of the operation of the Federal Securities Act and related “Aircraft Carrier” proposal and, most recently, Regulation FD relating to selective disclosure. He is currently Chairman of the Task Force on Review of the Federal Securities Laws of the American Bar Association’s Federal Regulation of Securities Committee where he is leading a project to update the federal regulation of public and private securities offerings to accord with the realities of current communications technology.
In 1989-91 he helped the Polish Government develop a regulatory framework for its new capital market. As a result, he has advised or participated in programs on capital market regulation in Bulgaria, China, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Vietnam. In 1998, Egypt’s Ministry of Economy hired Bill to review and recommend changes in its capital market laws.
Bill is a former General Counsel, Secretary, Vice President and President of the United States Golf Association (USGA). As Chairman of its Rules of Golf Committee in 1980-84, he initiated and led a project with the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews (R&A) to reorganize and rewrite the Rules of Golf that apply to all players around the world and to consolidate the separate decisions services of the USGA and R&A. Bill is responsible for the structure and organization of the SECs general disclosure requirements (Regulation S-K). Bill has been a member of the Legal Advisory Committee of the New York Stock Exchange and the Legal Advisory Board of the National Association of Securities Dealers. In the latter capacity, he oversaw a project to reorganize and rewrite the NASD’s rules. In his passion for the use of organization to facilitate communication older alumni will recognize the indelible imprint of having studied Rhetoric and Latin under Henry (Harry) Bean, S.J.
Bill was on Holy Cross’ Board of Trustees for eight years, has been a trustee of the N.Y.U. Law School Foundation for 24 years and is currently Vice Chairman of the Board of Sofia American Schools, which operates a high school for Bulgarian girls and boys in Sofia, Bulgaria.
For his lifelong pursuit of knowledge, for his willingness to share his steadfast guidance and leadership, for his example as a man of integrity and honor, the College of the Holy Cross presents the Sanctae Crucis Award to Bill Williams.