William Robert Purcell '53
The John W. Kuykendall Award is presented to an alumnus in recognition of extraordinary service to his or her community, demonstrating leadership through servanthood in the spirit of Davidson's fifteenth president. William Robert Purcell, Class of 1953, has pursued a path in life which qualifies him as a most worthy recipient of this award. He has dedicated himself to improving his community and the lives of its residents. He has answered the call to servanthood in both medicine and government and countless people have benefited from this commitment.
Arriving at Davidson in 1949 from Laurinburg, North Carolina, he earned his degree in premedical studies in 1953. At Davidson he was a member of the football team and of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. His honors included induction into the Alpha Epsilon Delta and Delta Phi Alpha honorary societies.
Upon graduating from Davidson, he received his medical degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1956 and completed his internship and residency in pediatrics at the Medical College of South Carolina, a process which was interrupted by his service as a captain in the U.S. Army.
After completing his medical training, he returned to his beloved hometown of Laurinburg where he put into practice his beliefs that the health of his patients is intimately linked to the health of their community and that it is our responsibility to create a better tomorrow for our children. In living out these convictions, he established his pediatric practice in 1961; the Purcell Clinic was Laurinburg's first non-surgical specialty clinic. Through the clinic, he has provided care, hope, and understanding to thousands of children and their families. As a medical colleague stated: "He has a tremendous passion for people '[He] is a shining example for any doctor' I have met no finer man in my life."
Beyond the profession of medicine, he has pursued a truly amazing record of service to community. He served five terms as Laurinburg's mayor and as a member of the city council. He presently serves in the North Carolina State Senate. He has been a president of the Laurinburg Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the Scotland County board of health, chairman of The Better Schools for Scotland County Committee, and an elder in the Laurinburg Presbyterian Church.
His many good deeds have not gone unrecognized. He was awarded the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award from St. Andrews Presbyterian College, was named a Harris Fellow by the Laurinburg Rotary Club, received the Martin Luther King Distinguished Service Award from the Scotland County Ministerial Association, and received the Distinguished Service Award from the UNC School of Medicine Alumni Association.
Because you have given selflessly to your fellow man; because you are a leader in your profession and in your community; because you embody the virtue of servanthood held dear by alma mater, the Davidson College Alumni Association honors you, William Robert Purcell, with the John W. Kuykendall Award for Community Service on the occasion of the Class of 1953's 50th Reunion, April 5, 2003.