Arts, health and education run in the Williams family’s blood, their depth of commitment demonstrated by named scholarships and program funds at UNCG. Dr. Kathleen Williams is Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies in the School of Health and Human Sciences. Her brother Charles is executive assistant to the CEO of the Raymond F. Kravis Center for Performing Arts in West Palm Beach, Florida. Integrating their interests, these siblings established the Theodore and Loretta Williams Research Fund for Arts Health award in 2005 to honor their parents and support graduate student research in arts health.
Loretta Chipanis Williams was the second of nine children and left her education unfinished, working so her family could survive the Great Depression. Theodore Williams’ French horn studies at the Eastman School of Music were sacrificed to military service in WWII. He subsequently joined the U.S. Army Field Band, and finally, the U.S. Marine Band. The Williamses experienced life redirected by uncontrollable circumstances and impressed the vital importance of education upon their children.
A recipient of the Theodore and Loretta Williams Graduate Research Fund for Arts Health, Yuki Sugimoto is a doctoral student in the Kinesiology Department who shares the Williamses’ art and health interests. Her research project concerns dancers with chronic ankle instability who upgrade their visual sensory system to focus on a point to maintain balance and stability. This heightened taxation of the visual system may diminish focus on their surroundings, thereby exposing them to more injuries than healthy dancers.
A member of the athletic trainer pool for USA Track and Field, Sugimoto works internationally. Her experience as a clinician attracted her to innovative research and its possible applications:
“My purpose as a researcher is to give back to the athletes and the general public by promoting prevention of chronic injury in the lower extremities, especially the ankle, with the purpose of improving athletic performance and quality of life. My second purpose is to address one of the most important issues, which is the gap between research and clinical practice. The Theodore and Loretta Williams Research Fund for Arts Health will help me emphasize a rationale for closing the gap by addressing clinically related issues among patients in the performing arts (i.e. dancers).”
Sugimoto affirms the significance of the Williams Fund:
“Submitting my very first internal grant application and actually receiving the Theodore and Loretta Williams Research Fund for Arts Health was a very encouraging moment for me.”
Sugimoto’s work honors the Williams family’s legacy of arts, health, and education by bringing the benefits of research and practical application into balance.
Story by Zoe Dillard, Donor Relations
Endowments provide donors with opportunities to create living legacies and touch the lives of future generations.