Alumnus to deliver 2017 commencement address

Kenneth Curtis Williams

An Upper Iowa University alumnus who immigrated to the United States from Trinidad and Tobago with his parents at the age of 13 will deliver the commencement address during the University’s 155th graduation ceremonies at Harms-Eischeid Stadium in Fayette, Iowa, on Saturday, May 6.

Kenneth Curtis Williams, an honored military veteran, is the co-owner, president and CEO of Beard and Tie Co., LLS, a disabled veteran business in St. Cloud, Florida. After graduating from high school in 1972, Williams joined the Army as a combat medic. Achieving the rank of command sergeant major, he served in numerous leadership, staff and field positions, including three combat tours and the senior medical non-commissioned officer for the installation. He retired honorably after 26 years of military service. His military honors include the Order of Military Medical Merit, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Combat Medical Badge 2nd Award, and Expert Field Medical Badge.

Following his military service, Williams graduated Cum Laude in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in public administration at Upper Iowa University’s Fort Riley Center at Fort Riley, Kansas. Shortly thereafter, Williams was selected to lead the Department of Veterans activation contracting team as chief contracting officer for the Orlando VA Medical Center at Lake Nona, Florida. He retired in 2014 after 15 years of civilian service in the federal government.

Approximately 1,700 students have completed their degree requirements at all UIU locations and are eligible to be recognized during the 2017 Commencement.  Graduates of the University’s MBA, School of Business, and School of Science and Mathematics programs will participate in a 10 a.m. ceremony. The ceremony for MPA, MSC, MEd, MHEA, MSA, Andres School of Education, and School of Liberal Arts (including public administration majors) graduates will be held at 2:30 p.m. Associate degrees with an emphasis in Liberal Arts, Criminal Justice and Psychology will also be awarded during this program.

To facilitate travel plans, the University will use the weather forecast as of Wednesday, May 3, to make its decision on whether to relocate the ceremony indoors. The announcement will be posted on the homepage of the UIU website at Only in an emergency would the decision be made on Saturday to relocate the ceremony.

In the case of inclement weather, the ceremonies will be moved to Dorman Gymnasium at Fayette Campus.  All seating is on a “first-come” basis. An overflow viewing area will be located in the Student Center ballrooms. Guests at this location can view the full ceremonies on live video. Live streaming of the broadcast may also be viewed at

For additional information about Upper Iowa University’s 2017 Commencement ceremonies, including concessions, dining, parking, shuttle services, lodging, and stadium rules, visit

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