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Political Science Chair Dies

Chair in the Department of Political Science at UC Riverside Dies

John Williams, Credited With Hiring Key Faculty, Promoting Mentoring in Political Science

(September 15, 2004)

John T. Williams

John T. Williams

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — — University of California, Riverside Professor and Chair in the Department of Political Science, John T. Williams, died Monday morning at his home in Riverside. He was 46.

An expert in public policy, Dr. Williams was a nationally recognized scholar for his expertise in advanced statistical (time series) modeling and its applications.

His work regularly appeared in the leading journals of the discipline and embraced an exceptionally broad set of topics ranging from the study of arms races to the study of the political activity of U.S. corporations and, most recently, in keeping with the breadth of his curiosity, the strategic behavior of game show contestants. When he fell ill he was working on what promised to be the definitive text on time series analysis of political events.

Dr. Williams and Michael McGinnis authored, Compound Dilemmas: Democracy, Collective Action, and Superpower Rivalry, published in 2001 by the University of Michigan Press. In 2000, with Ken Bickers, Williams authored the book Public Policy Analysis: A Political Economy Approach, published by Houghton Mifflin.

A native Texan, Dr. Williams received a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Minnesota in 1987. He joined the faculty of UCR as chair in 2001, coming from Indiana University, where he had taught since 1990.

Dr. Williams was admired for his effectiveness both as an administrator and a scholar as he built up the Department of Political Science.

“His long standing and whole-hearted commitment to mentoring graduate students and junior faculty was just part of that effort and it won him the respect of all of his colleagues,” said Joel Martin, interim dean of the College of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences at UC Riverside.

In recognition of his contribution to graduate training in the field of political science, the Political Methodology Section of the American Political Science Review has established the Jotwilli (John T. Williams) Travel Fellowship to support graduate students presenting papers at professional conferences or participating in specialized training programs. Each year, a committee of his colleagues from that section will select recipients of this award.

Contributions towards the establishment of this fellowship can be sent to Professor John Aldrich, Department of Political Science, Box 90204, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0204. Checks and money orders can be made payable to the Society for Political Methodology.

Dr. Williams is survived by his mother, Joyce Elam, of Denton Texas; two sisters, Celeste Williams, of Arlington, Texas; Melanie Williams, of Richardson, Texas; and a daughter, Miriam, 9. His father, John T. Williams, preceded him in death.

Funeral services are pending in Denton, Texas. UCR colleagues will hold a memorial in two weeks.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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