Deaths: Melissa Williams
Melissa Williams, attorney for Student Legal Services, died Jan. 24 after a short illness. She was 37.
Williams joined UIC in 2013 as the attorney for Student Legal Services, developing the strategic direction and goals of the office.
“She was such a fierce advocate for student rights,” said Linda Deanna, associate vice chancellor for student affairs and dean of students.
Williams represented students in court, often for traffic violations and landlord-tenant issues.
“She went after bad landlords in the neighborhood and really held them accountable for the deplorable conditions,” Deanna said. “By far the biggest fight she had was really related to landlord-tenant concerns. You couldn’t have asked for a better fighter for students.”
She attended Bradley University in Peoria, then John Marshall Law School in Chicago.
Williams had a passion for helping the community. She ran for Alderman in the 24th Ward, and assisted the NAACP and state legislators on Bill HB 2061, which seals certain criminal records. She formed the WRC community organization to help ex-offenders. She also worked with high school students, teaching them about the law through Mock Trial. She was a volunteer at St. Pilgrimage M.B. Church.
She is survived by her mother, Mary Ann Wiley; brother Steven (Jamie) Williams; stepfather, Reverend Roosevelt Wiley; father, William Wesley; several aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, and many friends.