FIU College of Business alumna Jacqueline Cecile Williams ’94, CPA, recently made a planned gift to FIU that will establish a scholarship to help bolster the future pipeline of minority, female accountants in South Florida.
Inspired by the financial support and guidance she received as a student preparing to break into the accounting industry, Williams knew she would one day want to pay it forward. After seeing the difficulties the COVID-19 pandemic has caused for so many people, she decided to act. Designating a planned gift to the university in her will made the process simple and accessible.
“I was looking back at what’s important… and realizing things could change at any moment. This was something I always wanted to do, but hadn’t thought of doing this soon,” Williams said. She likes that she can see an immediate impact on students’ lives at FIU – her planned gift establishing the scholarship endowment was coupled with a cash gift to fund the first scholarship awards, which will be granted this year. Fundraising will continue to grow the endowment further and award future scholarships.
Williams was an advocate for minority, female professionals long before she realized she had the means to create a scholarship endowment through planned giving.
Her own path wasn’t an easy one – accounting is by nature a competitive field, and the sense of competition was only heightened by the fact that she wanted to break into what was, at the time, a male-dominated profession. It’s the reason that, once she became a certified public accountant, she made it a point to recommend other minority women seeking employment to her company managers, as well as sharing her career advice with them.
“I’ve always wanted to inspire others, and as a minority woman striving to accomplish the highest of whatever it is that I do, I also wanted to make sure I support students fighting for that same dream.”
With hard work and determination at FIU, Williams earned a spot in the prestigious Beta Alpha Psi accounting fraternity, which became the springboard to earn her first job.
She worked full-time throughout most of her studies to support herself. Earning a scholarship helped relieve some of the financial burden – and the fact that the scholarship was created by a successful female businessowner motivated her to succeed.
“[The scholarship] really had an impact on me. It inspired me to go further in my education, because in my family, I was the first one that finished college,” she said.
Recalling her own benefactor years ago, Williams feels it’s her turn to assume the role. She hopes the Jacqueline Cecile Williams Accounting Scholarship will embolden young women and fortify the pipeline of diverse talent entering the accounting industry.
The first scholarship will be awarded in 2021, and it will support minority, female-identifying students studying accounting in the FIU College of Business, with preference given to those who are members of accounting professional societies. If you are interested in supporting the Jacqueline Cecile Williams Accounting Scholarship Endowment, please click here.
If you are interested in exploring ways you can make an impact at FIU through planned giving, please visit Estate & Planned Giving at the FIU Foundation, Inc.
If you are a student pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in accounting and you are interested in applying for the Jacqueline Cecile Williams Accounting Scholarship please click here.