Letter from the President
Welcome! You are about to become acquainted with one of the most extraordinary institutions of higher education in the entire country — Williamson College of the Trades.
Williamson has been transforming the lives of young men for over 125 years. It does this by providing a full scholarship that covers tuition, room and board for every student. Our three-year programs include education in the trades and academics that results in an Associate in Specialized Technology Degree. Students are expected to internalize and live out our core values of Faith, Integrity, Diligence, Excellence, and Service in a community that focuses on training students to be responsible, accountable, and to lead by example. The combination of excellent trade skills combined with character, work ethic, and leadership is what sets Williamson graduates apart and is the reason they are in such high demand.
Our students learn their trade in the classroom and shop as well as through practical, hands-on projects on and off campus. Academic classes provide students with a fundamental understanding of mathematics, communications, and business, among other subjects. Technical instruction related to each student’s major is designed to provide the knowledge essential to perform and succeed in industry. And all of the formal education is complemented by a lifestyle education enforced through the college’s rules and procedures, designed to teach the importance of professional behavior, including being punctual, dressing properly, working hard, and maintaining a positive attitude. All of this takes place in community, where friendships that last a lifetime are formed.
This combination of technical, academic, and values education is what makes Williamson’s approach so successful. Our school has obtained a well-deserved reputation for producing top-notch tradesmen – men that not only possess good mechanical skills but also the character qualities that make for true success. It is the school’s outstanding reputation that makes our graduates so sought after by a multitude of employers. As a result, our graduates have an exceptional track record of finding employment in their field of training because employers know they can count on a Williamson graduate not only to do the job, but to do it well.
While a Williamson education is demanding, it proves to be a sound investment in the long run. Many graduates return to campus to say that Williamson provided them with the foundation on which they built successful careers, successful lives. Living by our core values is what made the difference for them.
Williamson is not a typical school. Yet while it is a challenging three years, it can lay the foundation for success in your career and in life. We hope that you will be impressed with what you learn as you browse through our website and will consider pursuing a Williamson education as the key to your successful future!
Michael J. Rounds, PE
Michael J. Rounds, a former U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel, West Point Assistant Professor, and Deputy Commandant of the United States Military Academy Preparatory School, became the 13th president of Williamson College of the Trades on July 1, 2013.
President Rounds graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1988 where he majored in Aerospace Engineering and played football for Army, earning two varsity letters. He received his commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Army Corps of Engineers.
After completion of the Army Engineer Officer Basic Course, Army Airborne School, and Army Ranger School, he was assigned to the 1st Infantry Division (Forward) in Boeblingen, West Germany, serving as a combat engineer platoon leader and company executive officer in Alpha Company, 1st Engineer Battalion until 1991.
From 1991-93, he served as an observer/controller and engineer company analyst with the Light Forces Training Team (Airborne) at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California.
After attending the M1A1 Tank Commanders Certification Course and the Armor Officer Advanced Course at Fort Knox, Kentucky, he was assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas from 1993-1996 where he served as assistant brigade engineer for the 1st Brigade Combat Team and commander of Alpha Company, 20th Engineer Battalion.
President Rounds attended the University of Minnesota from 1996-98, earning his Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering. He served as an assistant professor and executive officer in the Department of Civil & Mechanical Engineering at West Point from 1998-2000, teaching Thermodynamics and serving as an Officer Representative for the Army Football team.
After attending the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, he served as the battalion operations officer and battalion executive officer for the 326th Engineer Battalion, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky from June 2001 – June 2003 including deploying with the Division in February 2003 and conducting combat operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom I.
President Rounds was then assigned to the engineer staff of the Combined Forces Command in Yongsan, South Korea where he served as the engineer operations officer on the joint and combined staff of the US and Republic of Korea Forces from July 2003 – June 2005.
In 2005, he returned to the Department of Civil & Mechanical Engineering at West Point to teach and to serve as the Director of the Mechanical Engineering Design Group and Department Executive Officer. He also served as an Officer Representative with the Army Football team.
In 2008, President Rounds was assigned as the Deputy Commandant of the United States Military Academy Preparatory School (USMAPS) at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey.
In March of 2009, he deployed to Afghanistan where he served as the Commander of the Army Corps of Engineers Bagram Area Office for one year, supervising major construction projects at Bagram Air Field and four surrounding Afghan Provinces. After redeploying from Afghanistan, President Rounds returned to the Deputy Commandant position at USMAPS and also served as chief project officer for the construction of the new USMAPS facility at West Point. USMAPS relocated to its new facility in the summer of 2011 when Fort Monmouth was closed.
President Rounds retired from the Army after 25 years of service with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in May of 2013. Among his military awards are the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Meritorious Service Medal with 4 oak leaf clusters, Airborne Wings, Air Assault Wings, and the Army Ranger Tab.
President Rounds was born in Madison, South Dakota and grew up in Andover, Minnesota, graduating from Blaine Senior High School in 1984. He is a member of the American Legion and serves on the Armed Services Committee of the Union League of Philadelphia and on the Board of Governors for the West Point Society of Philadelphia.
President Rounds is a licensed Professional Engineer.
President Rounds and his wife Mary Nell were married in 1990 and have three sons, Patrick, a 2015 graduate of Princeton University, Daniel, a 2017 graduate of Princeton University, and Thomas, a 2019 graduate of the United States Military Academy.