Richard Williams '61 founded Valley State Bank in 1977. Five years later, Valley State acquired Centennial Bank, and the resulting bank maintained the Centennial name and formed a holding company known as Centennial Bancorp. Williams became president and CEO of Centennial Bancorp, what was then the largest commercial bank with headquarters in Oregon, based on asset size. In 2002, Umpqua Bank merged with Centennial Bancorp, forming a financial services company with assets of more than $2 billion.
"I am thrilled to receive this award and very honored," said Williams. "This award recognizes the success of Centennial Bank. But it is not my accomplishment alone; the honor belongs to everyone that was involved."
Williams started his career with U.S. Bank in 1961, immediately after earning his bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Oregon. During his sixteen years with U.S. Bank, he managed several branches in the bank's statewide system, with the final ten years in Eugene.
Williams served on the board of directors of Obie Media, Inc. and Elmer's Restaurants, Inc., and a former member of the Oregon Law Foundation board of directors. He is a UO Foundation trustee emeritus and continues to serve the UO and Lundquist College of Business with passion.
In addition, Williams was a former director of United Way of Lane and Lincoln Counties. He is a past member of the executive board of the Oregon Trail Council/Boy Scouts of America; a former trustee of the Eugene Arts Foundation; and a former member of the boards of directors for both Junior Achievement of Eugene/Springfield and the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce.