William Lawrence Rikard, Jr. '67
Born and raised in the mountain town of Canton, North Carolina, this son of a high school principal and first grade teacher ever-so-naturally embraced the causes of education and children's advocacy. The example of his mother and father, dedicated to the nurture of students, of families, and of community, set the course of his own service and tempered it with pragmatism, religious faith, and personal modesty.
After graduating from Davidson College with the class of 1967, this alumnus attended Vanderbilt Law School as a Patricia Wilson Scholar, earning his J.D. in 1970. Following two years in the U.S. Army, including a tour in South Vietnam, he returned to Charlotte to practice law in 1972.
Over the past 25 years, the Charlotte community has come to know William Rikard in much the same way as the people of Canton knew his parents. For many years, he served as director of Alexander Children's Center. In 1988, he won election of the Mecklenburg County Board of Education. During his 7 ½ years of service, he proved a skilled navigator of the often emotional and racially charged public debate about busing and equitable allocation of resources among schools. Admired for his tireless efforts at conciliation, he chaired the school board during the final two years of his term.
Equally as concerned for the welfare of children outside the classroom, William chaired Charlotte's Community Task Force on the Impact of Poverty, Neglect, Drugs, Abuse and Violence on Children. He subsequently became a founding director and the first chair of the Board of the Children's Services Network, created to coordinate the delivery of social services to Mecklenburg's needy children.
His advocacy on behalf of children continues today. He is a director of the Charlotte Merchant's Foundation, which makes grants in support of a variety of children's programs; and serves on the Community Building Task Force that is working to improve race relations in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.
- Because you believe that the fundamental basis of the common good is the protection of children from poverty, crime, violence, drugs and neglect;
- Because you have been unwilling to just watch while increasing numbers of children are born and grow up in dysfunctional families, without the love, nurture or discipline that is the basis of childhood well-being;
- Because you have taught our children in Sunday School and coached them on the playing field;
- Because you have been an effective advocate of Davidson's Love of Learning Program and have ably served the students of this College in so many ways;
And because the example of your faith and your service to others mirrors that of your friend John Kuykendall, the Davidson College Alumni Association recognizes William Lawrence Rikard, Jr., by presentation of the John Wells Kuykendall Award for Community Service on the occasion of the class of 1967's 30th Reunion.