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Robert G. Lawrence

Class Of: 1960
Inducted In: 2004
(deceased)
 
Robert G. Lawrence, Class of 1960 (Deceased). While in high school Bob excelled both academically and athletically with success in football and basketball. He was also the first Waukesha High School graduate to be selected for the SAF Academy and excelled in pilot training and a 22-year career as a fighter pilot, statesman, staff officer and student. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and multiple Air Medals in Vietnam combat, hand selected for attaché duty in the Middle East, and uniquely positioned as an official in the State Department. He earned a Masters Degree in Middle East Studies and became proficient in Arabic. Bob published a book on Vietnam, US Policy in Southwest Asia: A Failure in Perspective. He retired from the USAF in 1986 as a Colonel. Bob’s next career was with General Dynamics Corporation, which later became Lockheed Martin Corporation. He became President, Middle East and Africa, stationed in both the States and Egypt. In 1994 Bob discovered a program called Seeds of Peace, where he saw a number of young people from Middle East countries struggling to understand each other and the issues that were separating them. He concentrated his efforts in promoting peace in the Middle East, convinced his efforts would increase understanding and mutual respect in the region. He organized a Seeds of Peace program in Egypt and became a Board Associate. Seeds of Peace honored Bob, posthumously, with their highest honor – the Ruth Ratner Miller Peace Prize. Sharing the spotlight with Bob at this national event in the Lincoln Center were King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.



Bill Hamilton
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Dr. William (Bill) Howard Hamilton, Ph.D.
Class of 1960
Inducted September 11, 2015
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Bilingual scholar – Treasured mentor – Humanitarian – Community servant – Eagle Scout – Wheelchair sports icon – Gold medal swimmer and National record holder - Beloved by all who knew him - Courageous every day – Magnificent human being.
 
There are people who become famous because they seek fame and then there are people like Bill Hamilton who become famous quietly because of the inspiring and courageous ways they live their lives, even through times of great adversity.  Perhaps they deserve the most credit and fame of all.  Bill’s true light didn’t shine until he matured into the incredible man who overcame so much while giving so much to others.
 
Eagle Scout Bill Hamilton (deceased) graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where he was a business major and Student Council President.  Nascent interests in government and Latino culture drew him to the University of Colorado where he wrote a Master's thesis on Latin American politics.  During that time, failed corrective surgery for a congenital spinal defect led to paralysis of Bill's lower body.  Although thereafter confined to a wheelchair, he earned a Ph.D. in political science at the University of California-Santa Barbara with a dissertation on U.S.-Mexico economic history.  Throughout this period, Bill coped physically through rigorous swimming, eventually establishing a prominent reputation in Masters disabled swimming competition.  He became a national wheelchair record-holder in two events, and earned National Wheelchair Olympics medals, including three golds.  After his personal competitive days, Bill mentored another generation of elite disabled athletes and was a leader in organizations for disabled athletics.  Abandoning a promising future in scholarly activity, Bill had a long and successful career in administration of rehabilitation services with the City of Santa Barbara and later with the State of Nevada.  Recognition of Bill's contributions to the rehabilitation field was highlighted when he was chosen to carry the 1984 Olympics torch through the streets of Santa Barbara.  Service to Latino individuals and communities was especially close to Bill's heart.  In his final days, he received a personal letter of appreciation for his humanitarian work from former President Carter.   After his passing, Bill was lionized as a “wheelchair sports icon” by the national wheelchair athletics magazine.  Beyond his trophies, however, it was Bill's engaging charisma, compassion and dedication to human service that characterized him.  A friend eulogized him thusly: “The smile defines Bill Hamilton for anyone who knew him.  If there was an Olympic event in Broad Smiling, he'd win it easily.”