Congressional Cemetery Seeks New President

After Nine Years, Paul Williams Steps Down in October

HCC President Paul K. Williams will step down in October, 2021 to take a role at Oak Hill Cememtery. File Photo: E. O'Gorek/CCN

It’s official: Congressional Cemetery is looking for a new President.

In June, Historic Congressional Cemetery announced that Paul K. Williams will be stepping down from his role as President after nearly a decade at the helm of Historic Congressional Cemetery.

Williams has accepted a position as Superintendent of Oak Hill Cemetery in Georgetown and as Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Oak Hill Foundation, where he and his husband Greg will live in the Oak Hill gatehouse when they are not sailing the Chesapeake with their two cats, said Board Chair Joel Samuels.

Williams has served as the President of the Historic Congressional Cemetery since July 2012, coming from his role as the Executive Director of Dupont Circle Main Streets. Since 1995, he has also been the proprietor of Kelsey & Associates, a firm that has completed the history of more than 1,500 houses and buildings in Washington, DC.

Williams is the author of 23 books on District historical themes and historic neighborhoods, the latest focused on the history of the Wardman Park Hotel.

During his tenure as President, Williams has helped to pivot the cemetery into a much-needed period of historic preservation and restoration while engaging the Capitol Hill community through innovative events and programs. He oversaw the K9 Corps program while building a strong relationship among the many cemetery constituencies.

In order to ensure a smooth transition, Williams will remain in his position until October while the HC Board conducts a search for a new President. That national search will begin immediately.

The Board has already established a five-member search committee, which will be chaired by Samuels and which includes Board members who are site owners, Christ Church representatives, and K9 corps members as well as a Board member who works at and represents the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The Association for the Preservation of Historic Congressional Cemetery (APHCC) president, has posted the search announcement that can be shared with anyone who may be interested and qualified. Ideal candidates have experience with property management, –particularly historic/cemetery properties– as well as with management of non-profits, staff, budgets and fundraising. They will also be able to work with diverse members of the community.

“Paul Williams will be a tough act to follow, but I am confident that our search will yield an outstanding leader,” Williams wrote in a note to HC members. “Your help in spreading the word will be an indispensable part of that process.”

There will be an opportunity to celebrate Williams at the cemetery before his departure, slated for about October 1. Information on the celebration is forthcoming.