Jim Williamson volunteers for Princeton “for all the usual reasons: I’m grateful for all I learned here, how I grew as a student and continue to grow as an alum. But it’s deeper than that. Whatever big issues we face today―climate change, disease, world hunger―people at Princeton are working on these issues. To me, there is no more significant way to help make a difference in society than to support the University.”
And support it he has, serving his class since graduation in various Annual Giving volunteer roles, including special gifts co-chair. A former regional young alumni chair, he has been on regional schools committees in Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Now he is helping out classmate Rahul Mehra, co-chair for the India Alumni Schools Committee, by interviewing prospective Princetonians via Skype.
A former Young Alumni trustee, he found the experience “humbling. To see the trustees, so many alumni still so passionate about Princeton, directing their talents to helping the University―it was truly inspiring.”
Williamson shares his current class agent responsibilities with Eloise Salmon, Alexandra Rothman, and Lauren McKenna―“One team, one dream!” he says. “We all do everything.” The Class of ’07 finds itself at a digital divide, he notes. “The older classes use landlines, we all use cell phones and email. We just contact our classmates however we can.”
Williamson came to Princeton from Coughlin High School in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. “It was a change of cultures for me,” he recalls, “from coal country to the Princeton campus.” At Princeton he majored in politics, and earned certificates in political economy and Chinese language and culture. He wrote for Tiger magazine and traveled with Princeton in Beijing. President of the Class of 2007 for three years, he was clerk and chair of the Honor Committee.
After graduation he worked for consultants McKinsey & Co. and for the Pennsylvania Treasury Department. He then moved to New Haven for graduate study at Yale. There, he was a member of the Princeton Alumni Association of Western Connecticut, “known among ourselves as the Princeton Club of Yale.” Since earning his joint MBA and JD from Yale, Williamson has worked for global investment firm Davidson Kempner Capital Management in New York City as a credit analyst.
He now lives in “the family and dogs part of Brooklyn,” and uses his 35-minute subway commute into Manhattan for “beach reading,” most recently Andy Weir’s The Martian. In Brooklyn, he enjoys “any get-together where Princeton is over-represented.” He is a member of the Brooklyn Eagles, a group that supports the Brooklyn Public Library.
Williamson is a licensed pilot, and, when in graduate school, enjoyed flying over the Berkshires, “seeing New England from the air as the leaves were changing.” He is currently grounded by “the dearth of small airports in New York City.”