Alumni Award Honors Ford ’75


Ford Motor Company

Wiliam “Bill” C. Ford Jr. ’75 speaks at the 2012 GSM Association Mobile World Congress, a conference in Barcelona, Spain for leaders in the mobile and technology industries.

Tomorrow, the school will welcome back Mr. William “Bill” C. Ford Jr. ’75 and honor him with the Alumni Award, the highest possible distinction awarded to the school’s graduated students.

Established in 1931, the Alumni Award is awarded annually to a distinguished alum selected by alumni volunteers on the Nominating Committee of the Board of Governors. While anyone in the school community may nominate potential recipients, the voting members pick the recipient. The selection process for this year’s award began in January, allowing time for the committee to look for alumni who have significantly advanced their respective fields and distinguished themselves among their peers. This year, the school will recognize Mr. Ford, who currently serves as the Executive Chairman of Ford Motor Company, during an all-school ceremony in Elfers Hall. A group of about 40 students will also share dinner with Mr. Ford this evening.

After graduating from Hotchkiss, Mr. Ford studied at Princeton University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology before joining Ford Motor Company in 1979. Mr. Ford was named Executive Chairman in 2006 after serving on the Board of Directors for part of his time as its chair. Under Mr. Ford’s guidance, the company implemented improvements in fuel efficiency and added hybrid vehicles to its lineup, soon becoming a leader in sustainability among peers in the automotive industry. Mr. Ford said, “When I joined the company, I was an enthusiastic environmentalist at a time when most people in the auto industry didn’t want to go beyond regulatory compliance. But I kept speaking out about the environment and sustainability, and in time, my views became the consensus.”

Mr. Ford’s time at Hotchkiss set the stage for his career at Ford Motor Company. Mr. Ford said, “I grew up loving the outdoors, but my strong environment[al] ethic really began at Hotchkiss. What I learned [here] about the issues confronting the natural world set the stage for the environmental advocacy I pursued in the years that followed.”