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  • Writer's pictureMyla van Lynde

25 Years of Service: Ben Williams

Caroline Coors '24


As another academic year draws to an end at Cate, the School is saying goodbye to a remarkable leader and individual who has left an incredible mark on this campus and the legacy of Cate. After an incredible 25 years, Mr. Williams will be starting the next chapter of his life. As the school reflects on the impact, it has become clear that his passion, dedication, and unwavering commitment to Cate has changed this school forever.

Mr. William’s journey to Cate started with the inspiration of his parents and his childhood on a boarding school campus. He understood the impact that an education and a community like Cate could have on an individual. Before joining the Cate community, Mr. Williams was the division head of a K-12 day school in Texas. He explained, “I was ready to be a head of school. I saw the job posting for a head of school at Cate and Ginger and I had just been in California the summer before backpacking in the Ansel Adams Wilderness… I never really felt at home in Texas. We made a life there and were very happy, but it never felt like home.”His desire for a community like the one he had grown up in brought him to Cate.

When asked his favorite memory at Cate, Mr. Williams shared that there wasn’t a singular event but rather the opportunity to form the unique relationships that will endure the test of time. He says he always loves when a former student returns to the Mesa to teach, coach, and serve as trustees. Some of his favorite things in his day to day life have been the interactions with the members of Cate on a daily basis. The genuine care that he has for every student, faculty member, and staff creates a community where each person feels seen and appreciated. One of the most impressive ways that he shows his dedication to the community is the way he knows every student's name and greets them with a smile every time he sees them.

Throughout his time at Cate, Mr. Williams has enjoyed all the California wilderness has to offer. The bunny trail, where he often walks with his dogs, became one of his favorite places on campus. He also loves the chapel. Jenna Davis, former student, described the chapel as “the night light of the campus.” Off campus, Mr. Williams discovered peace within nature, partially in the Franklin trail and Rincon beach.

As Ben and Ginger Williams set off on his new adventures, he refers to it not as a retirement, but rather as a “hiatus.” He remembers his father saying, “I have lots of interests. I am never bored” which perfectly sums up his plans for the future. He has spent most of his life pursuing this one dream and now he is excited to do something completely new. He hopes to be able to devote time to fly fishing, a long time passion of his. Furthermore, he is excited to spend time with family and friends. He is overjoyed to be welcoming the arrival of his second grandchild this summer. They embrace the future with an eagerness to explore the unknown and the endless possibilities that lie ahead. While we will miss his presence on campus, we know that his legacy will last far past our years on the Mesa. As Mr. and Mrs. Williams begin to say goodbye to the Mesa, we extend our deepest gratitude to them for the amount of work and love they put into this school and community.

Thank you from all of us at Cate!


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