SALISBURY, Md. — Ten years ago, Salisbury lost a business visionary and community leader with the passing of Donnie Williams, a University of Salisbury alumnus, entrepreneur and property developer.
Exactly a decade after his death on May 17, 2012, Salisbury University honored his legacy by announcing the renaming of its college baseball complex to Donnie Williams Sea Gull Baseball Stadium.
“Donnie was a lifelong baseball fan and also supported SU Athletics,” said Linda Slacum, whose planned college donation made the nomination possible. “He was always rave about his time in the League and was a member of the President’s Club until his passing. It felt like the perfect fit.
“Through his vision, in addition to his support of SU, Donnie Williams changed the face of student accommodation in Salisbury, developing the complexes that many of our students still live in today,” said Jason Curtin, Vice -SU chair of academic and external advancement. and Executive Director of the SU Foundation, Inc. “I can think of no honor more befitting him than making sure his name lives on, on the SU campus.”
Williams laid the plans for his first successful businesses, Alarm Guard and Advanced Property Rental Security Systems, as part of his senior class project at SU in 1975. He established the two in 1976 and sold Alarm Guard in 1992, continuing to oversee Advanced Property Rental until his passing.
As a developer, Williams created several off-campus student housing complexes in Salisbury, including University Townhouses, Cedar Crossing, Varsity Lane and Williams Landing. He was five times president of the Salisbury Area Property Owners Association.
A health and fitness advocate, Williams was one of the first three owners of Olympia Fitness Club in Salisbury. He was also an avid baseball player, serving as a catcher on the 1971 Maryland state champion St. Mary’s Ryken High School team. He held season tickets behind home plate for the Baltimore Orioles for 18 years and aimed to attend a game at every Major League Baseball stadium.
As an SU student, Williams included Perdue Farms President and CEO Frank Perdue and Avery W. Hall Insurance President and CEO Sam Seidel – who respectively endowed the Franklin P Perdue School of Business and the Samuel W. and Marilyn C. Seidel School of Education at SU. — among his business mentors. As an alumnus, he was a member of the SU Varsity and President’s Clubs and received the SU Alumni Award.
In the community, Williams has served on the boards of several local businesses and organizations, including Shore Bank and United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore. He was a longtime member of the Rotary Club of Salisbury, where he was three times named Rotarian of the Year. The Rotary Foundation awarded him its prestigious Paul Harris Fellow recognition.
“Donnie felt it was important to be involved in the community,” Slacum said. “I hope that current SU students will learn from his example of hard work and determination. He had to work several jobs to put himself through college. Classwork was not easy for him. , he took on every challenge as if failure was not an option.