Hoeven Honors Past Mentor at Minot Catholic Schools Hall of Fame Induction

MINOT, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven praised Rev. Robert Williams’ inspirational leadership and dedication to education at this evening’s banquet in which the priest and former Bishop Ryan High School administrator was inducted into the Minot Catholic Schools Hall of Fame. Hoeven, a 1975 Bishop Ryan High School graduate, attended the school during Rev. Williams’ 1970-1976 administrative tenure, and was a member of the Key Club, which Rev. Williams piloted.

Williams, who died in 1998, was known for his innovative character. He collaborated with veteran North Dakota educator E.S. Killie on “Project North Dakota,” a comprehensive set of reference materials for classroom teachers and learning aids for students. He also established the Bishop Ryan High School Foundation, now the Minot Catholic Schools Foundation, in 1977. Today the Foundation is worth $2.7 million and supports teacher endowment, student scholarships, work study programs and school operations.

“Father Williams’ extraordinary vision has helped to improve education for both Catholic and public school students throughout North Dakota, and has greatly contributed to Minot Catholic Schools becoming institutional pillars in this city. I am just one of many students who benefitted from Father Williams’ encouragement and leadership during his years at Bishop Ryan and beyond,” Hoeven said.

Prior to serving as Bishop Ryan High School administrator, Rev. Williams was assistant pastor at St. Leo’s Catholic Church and principal at St. Leo’s School in Minot.

After leaving Bishop Ryan High School in 1976, Rev. Williams served as pastor of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Max, N.D., and St. Mary’s Catholic Church in New England, N.D. He remained on the Foundation board until 1994.

Hoeven was inducted into the Minot Catholic Schools Hall of Fame in 2003. He presented Rev. Williams’ award to Janet Williams and Christine Williams-Seidler, Rev. Williams’ nieces. Patrick Jones, a former president of the Minot Catholic Schools Board, was also inducted into the Hall of Fame.