Speaking Up for Progress: A Tribute to the Honorable William J. Howell


The Foundation is pleased to recognize the pivotal role of Former Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell in advancing the field of focused ultrasound.

william howellIn January, Howell retired after a 30-year career in the House. He is the second-longest serving speaker in state history.

Howell has long been outspoken about the importance of public funding in advancing innovative medical technologies, and during his time in office, Howell was a strong advocate for focused ultrasound. He was instrumental in securing state funding to help launch the Focused Ultrasound Center at the University of Virginia in 2009, and he has supported research and education in the subsequent years.

When asked about the Center, Howell said, “The Focused Ultrasound Center positions the University and Virginia at the epicenter of medical technology development, which improves the state’s reputation for innovation, enhances quality of life, and creates jobs for the future.”

“In total, the Commonwealth of Virginia has allocated more than $11 million for focused ultrasound research, and we have Bill to thank for that,” said Foundation Chairman Neal F. Kassell, MD. “The activities at UVA have had a catalytic effect on the development of an entire field that ultimately has the potential to improve the quality and longevity of life and decrease the cost of care for millions of people around the world with serious medical disorders.”

Beyond his political career, Howell and his wife, Cessie, have been personally supportive of the Foundation’s efforts. Cessie has been a member of the Foundation’s Council since 2008, and we are pleased to welcome Mr. Howell as the newest Council member. He joins 28 other key members of the community and beyond who serve as goodwill ambassadors, advance our message, and connect us to other people who should hear our story.

Howell earned his undergraduate degree in business administration from the University of Richmond and his JD from the University of Virginia School of Law. He began his career in Virginia’s 28th House of Delegates district in 1988, and was named Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates in 2003.