William F. Lee, Jr. '52
For years, Davidson College has taken pride in a tradition sometimes referred to as "a quiet resolve:" an unassuming, unpretentious - and unwavering - dedication to excellence. The Reverend Bill Lee exemplifies this quiet resolve, and Davidson is a better place because of it.
Bill was born and grew up in Pensacola, Florida, the oldest of the four children. A history major at Davidson, Bill ran cross country and outdoor track. He was active in the Davidson Club, the Reach Out/Y Student Service Corps, and the Westminster Fellowship. Because of his dedication to Davidson, his fellow students, and the greater community, he received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award for excellence of character and service to humanity.
Bill graduated from Davidson and Columbia Theological Seminary. While at Columbia, he earned a prestigious award for "the most outstanding record of work" in a rural church. During a 57-year (and counting!) career in the ministry, he has served churches in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and Virginia. Bill was the organizing pastor and then the pastor of three new churches, two in central Florida and one in Virginia. He retired from full-time ministry in March 2000 yet still continues to serve on an interim basis, and has been an active member of the Florida Presbytery. Bill has remained engaged in his community, adding his voice to discussions regarding quality of life and energy sustainability. By his own admission, he likes to talk about politics a good bit.
The father of four children and the grandfather of nine, Bill was married to his first wife Patty for 47 years. Three years after her death, he married the lovely Dottie, who was a member of a church where Bill served as interim pastor. His family, including Hugh Lee of the Class of 1989, knows him as a loving man and a warm, delightful storyteller.
Along with his commitments to his family, to God, to the church, and in his communities, Bill has always kept Davidson close to his heart. When the Davidson College Concert Choir was touring in the mid-1980s, for example, Bill and his parishioners welcomed the choir with open arms, co-sponsoring the choir's performance at the Presbyterian Church. He has returned to campus for his 35th, 40th, 45th, and now his 60th reunions. Bill also has loyally served as the Class of '52 Annual Fund Chair, graciously telling the Davidson staff that it would be his honor to serve Davidson in any way.
Because you have demonstrated leadership from your earliest days at Davidson; because you quietly yet strongly remain committed to a life of leadership and service; because you make the world a better place through your ministry and belief in mankind; and because you have always responded to alma mater's call with dedication and enthusiasm, the Davidson College Alumni Association honors you, William Franklin Lee, with the Alumni Service Award, on the occasion the 60th Reunion, October 6, 2012.