July 8, Installation of President Bill Wilson and His Vision for 2021-2022
LEXINGTON, KY – The Rotary Club of Lexington will hold its weekly meeting Thursday, July 8, at the Red Mile and via Zoom. The program is the annual installation of officers and directors. To attend via Zoom please email, email@example.com. To register for the in person meeting and pre pay lunch click here
This week’s meeting brings the beginning of a new Rotary year, the installation of new officers and directors, and the ceremonial passing of the gavel by outgoing President Jamie Schrader to incoming President Bill Wilson. It also brings an opportunity for President Bill to share his vision for 2021-2022 with our club.
By now almost of you know Bill if only as “Moses” on our Zoom screen during the height of the Pandemic shutdown. And many of you know Bill as a 26-year member of our club. Rather than repeat the other things you already know about him, we thought we’d tell you a few things you might not know.
As a child and adolescent, Bill was one of the first African Americans to break down racial barriers in Lexington schools and public facilities. For example, he was in the “second wave” of African American students to attend Lexington Junior High school, bringing their total to about eight students. He was the first African American student to be admitted to Joyland Amusement Park on a “whites only” day on a field trip with his fellow bandmates, only because his white band leader and bandmates said they wouldn’t go in if Bill couldn’t. He was a member of old Dunbar High School’s first ever debate team, four high schoolers who learned to debate by watching the University of Kentucky debaters and getting pointers from them, then went on to tie the Nicholas County debate team for regional honors.
Bill graduated from Kentucky State University with a double major in history and political science and a minor in sociology with an eye to a career in law. Instead, he was accepted into a new Counseling and Psychology Program at UK, received a master’s degree, and was certified as a marriage counselor, which no doubt helped prepare him for his future as chair of the Board of Trustees at Kentucky State University and chair of the Planning Commission of Lexington-Fayette County Government.
Upon completing his master’s, Bill taught history at Lafayette High school, then participated in a pilot program at KET incorporating television in the classroom. That led to multiple years and multiple opportunities at KET and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and a friendship with PBS broadcaster Jim Lehrer, some time away from KET to serve as Executive Director at the Thomas Hunt Morgan Institute of Genetics (where he could focus on genetic counseling and educational programs on sickle cell disease), and a stint in New York working with Cambridge Publishing Company (a division of the New York Times) and work with the Media Division of Esquire Magazine. That ultimately brought him back to Kentucky and KET to come Deputy Executive Director of Educational Outreach, which lead to a KET-produced distance learning program for 3,000 students from all over the US, the first such program in existence.
Bill tried to retire in 2007 but went back to work as vice president for public relations at KSU after his wife told him a year into retirement that she married him for better or worse but not for lunch and dinner. Since then, he has served on multiple boards, often as chair, including the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence and the United Way. In preparation for his term as our club president, Bill has stepped away from three major boards but has agreed to serve as chair of the Redistricting Committee for the Fayette County Council.
Bill is man of many interests: He’s an avid chess player and fan of “The Queen’s Gambit” the Netflix series. He says there are four or five chess boards in his home and he, his wife, and his son (“who is really good”) all play. Bill also played clarinet in the Dunbar band and studied classical piano (which he gave up as soon as his mother would allow). And he’s an avid tennis player, playing twice weekly with five or six people who play singles and doubles. We are pleased to welcome him as our club president.