First-generation college student Leo Williams was a junior at another school when he decided to transfer to ETSU. At his previous institution, he played football, but soon after arriving at ETSU, he learned about the opportunities with Greek life, particularly with ETSU’s National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC).
“I was at a cultural mix event and visited a table and talked with a guy about the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity,” Leo said. “I was really interested in the organization, especially all of the service work the organization does. I have always loved helping people and giving back to the community.”
The guy working the table – Darrius Boyer – remembers that day, too. He and Leo have since become great friends.
“When I met Leo, I could see that he had a desire to become involved on campus and to leave an imprint on the school,” Darrius said.
Not only did Leo join Phi Beta Sigma, he soon became the organization’s president.
“Leo came to ETSU with a desire to be in a leadership role,” recalls Dr. Maggie Darden, director of Fraternity and Sorority Life at ETSU. “Not all students come here with that direction in mind, nor the skills to step into that role.
“Leo is outstanding,” she said. “He is great about getting out there, meeting people, and drawing them in. He is a great listener when it comes to hearing the ideas of others and helping advance them toward a goal. He is also an advocate for community service…to get out there and give back.”
A student in the College of Public Health, Leo is majoring in health care administration and says his ultimate dream is to run a hospital.
“Of course, that is a dream that is further down the road,” Leo said. “I would like to start working in quality control, but I’m also open to working as a health service specialist or in the non-profit setting.”
Though his studies and his role as president of Phi Beta Sigma keep him busy, he always carves out time to FaceTime with Mary Catherine Paulin, known to Leo as Ms. Mary.
“I moved in with her during my freshman year of high school, and she is my inspiration,” he said. “She always would tell me, ‘If you are going to do something, go for it all.’
“And that is what I’m going to do.”