Vice President of Education Samuel Wrightson Jr., Ph.D., and Glenn Tomlinson 7W5, director of paint and coatings technology, have announced their retirements from Williamson, announced President Michael Rounds. Tomlinson retired May 30 and Wrightson retires June 30.
Wrightson, who began at Williamson in 2015, said “When I was at the West Point Prep School and later at Valley Forge Military College, the students competed in sports with this school with a strange, long name: The Williamson Free School of the Mechanical Trades. Through a mutual military friend, I met Mike Rounds in his first year as president and he invited a group of us to campus and, like so many others, was completely impressed with everything I saw. The similarities with the prep school and Valley Forge were great; I like to think of Williamson as a “military school with no weapons.” The discipline, values, and work ethic are all there, even the uniform. The dean’s position became available a year later and I jumped at it.
“The greatest source of satisfaction during my five years here comes from the relationships I’ve enjoyed with the faculty, staff, students, and trustees. I had a head start with the faculty, having worked with Anne Frantum at Valley Forge before she was ‘kidnapped’ by Williamson 20-some years ago. Circumstances have contributed to an infusion of new blood in the faculty, especially in the shops. The college’s mission is an easy one to commit yourself to and we all seem to do that. The staff, from the execs to everyone else, is a dedicated group serving our students. The trustees, well led by the chairman and vice chairman, are active, participating members of the community. There is no equal to seeing the graduating class cross the stage with their degrees, job offers, and no college debt. You can even remember them as awkward, timid freshmen and see how they have developed in the 1,000 days that flew by.
“People have asked me what my plans are for the future and I usually say, ‘The first year is the basement and the second year is the backyard.’ That’s only half in jest because I haven’t been able to play ping pong for over a year. Of course, my grandsons don’t mind because they haven’t learned how to beat me yet. With the son in Los Angeles and the daughter an Army nomad, road trips will certainly increase. Mady is a wonderful navigator, but I hear there’s some ‘tech stuff’ that might help, too. I’ll probably poke my head in on campus for sports or special events and to see the many friends I’ve been lucky to have made in the last five years.”
Tomlinson said, “It’s been a real pleasure working with the students these past 23 years. I enjoyed watching them mature from young freshmen into Williamson men three years later and knowing I had something to do with it. I love the paint trade and have enjoyed sharing my knowledge with the students. I honestly remember every student I had. I can tell you their personalities and nicknames. It brings me great pleasure that many of them have kept in touch many years after graduating.”
Wrightson grew up in a military family and moved frequently, living in many towns and attending many schools. He managed to stay in Leavenworth, Kan., long enough to spend all four years at Immaculata High School where he had a well-rounded experience with sports, academics, and extracurricular activities.
He earned a bachelor of science degree in engineering at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and then spent 23 years in the Army, including ten years in special forces with two tours in Vietnam.
He also did tours at the U.S. Military Academy’s Preparatory School in Fort Monmouth, N.J., and Fort Belvoir, Va., serving as deputy administrator, staff coordinator, and assistant commandant. It was during this time that he developed an interest in education.
In 1989, he retired as a lieutenant colonel and went to the Valley Force Military Academy and College as assistant dean for 14 years and then spent nearly ten years as assistant dean and dean of Immaculata University’s College of Life Long Learning until his retirement.
He came out of retirement when the vice presidency of education position at Williamson became available.
He and Mady, his wife, live in Devon, Pa., and have two children, Liz and Rich, and four grandchildren.
He also earned a master of arts degree in community/clinical psychology at Norfolk State University, Norfolk, Va., and a doctor of education in education administration at Temple University.
Tomlinson grew up in Drexel Hill and graduated from Upper Darby High School. After learning of Williamson from his brother-in-law, he decided to enroll in the painting trade.
After graduating in 1975, with a bad economy and few employment prospects, he started his own painting contracting business, Glenn Tomlinson Painting Co., which he ran until a few years ago. His company specialized in residential and commercial painting and interior design in the Greater Philadelphia area. His clients included Scott Paper Co., PSFS, and Linvilla Orchestra. Serving as a mentor to his employees, two went on to form their own painting businesses.
All these years, he has appreciated having had Glenn Stevick 4W0 as an instructor teaching the painting trade and as a mentor offering advice in how to start a painting business.
He and his wife, Pat, live in Springfield, Pa., and have three children, Colleen, Michelle, and Greg. As his children got older and he had more free time, he joined Williamson’s Alumni Association as a life member and served as president from 1996-97.
He was a long-term member of the Painting Advisory Committee, which lead to him becoming a part-time paint instructor for five years prior to being named director of the program.
An active member of Grace Lutheran Church in Drexel Hill, he has served as a council member, Sunday school teacher, and usher. He also has coached youth baseball and basketball for the Springfield Athletic Association.
He has a NACE certification and is a member of the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America and the National Guild of Professional Paperhangers.
He spends much of his spare time at his home in Ocean City, N.J. where he enjoys the beach, fishing, and riding a bicycle.