April 28, 2008

George Williams

George Williams

When George Williams was working as a statistician at the National Institute of Mental Health in the 1960s, he became interested in the application of statistics to public health problems . A “numbers man,” with degrees in both mathematics and statistics, Williams wanted to add a medical component to his academic discipline. So in 1970, he came to Carolina’s School of Public Health to get a PhD in biostatistics.

Now, with almost four decades of leadership experience under his belt, Williams continues to credit his time in Chapel Hill for his success. “There is no doubt in my mind how impactful UNC has been to my career,” he says. “From the educational component to the breadth and quality of research that I was able to consider . . . a lot of the things I’ve done were nurtured by the excitement and enthusiasm I saw from my days at Carolina.”

Williams is vice president of Global Biomedical Data Sciences at Amgen, Inc., a global biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufactures and markets human therapeutics based on advances in cellular and molecular biology. Previously he worked in various leadership positions at Merck & Co., Inc., and Bristol-Myers Squibb. He also spent almost a decade in the academic sector as a biostatistics professor at the University of Michigan.

Today Williams continues to collaborate with people he met while a student at Carolina. He says one of the best things about going to Carolina is the connections that continue beyond the classroom. “It’s not just the experience you have while you’re on campus. It’s also the opportunity to interact with faculty and students in various ways over the course of a long-term career,” he says. “Even now, I continue to benefit from their wisdom.”

— by Margarita de Pano

Carolina Public Health is a publication of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health. To subscribe to Carolina Public Health or to view the entire Spring 2008 issue in PDF, visit www.sph.unc.edu/cph.