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Grateful Grad Bill Ward, C’65

Bill Ward, C;65

Bill Ward graduated from Mount St. Mary's in 1965, and his wife Judy is a 1966 alumna of St. Joseph College. Their daughter Lisa Campbell and son Colin are also Mount alumni, graduating in 1991 and 1994, respectively. The Ward's daughter-in-law Dana Pirone Ward, C'97, is chair of the Mount's Science Department. Two of their grandchildren, Caitlin Campbell. C'18, and Sean Campbell, C'20, are Mount alumni. Granddaughter Cassie Fischer is a junior at the Mount.

judy-bill_2-1-in-text.jpgQ: Tell us about yourself.

A: I’m a proud member of the Class of 1965. My wife, Judy, SJC’66, and I lived in Anchorage, Alaska, Topeka and Shawnee, Kansas, and Liberty, Missouri, before moving back to Baltimore in 1970. We built a house in Bel Air in 1971 and lived there until 2020 when we moved to Ellicott City. Along the way, we had three kids who blessed us with seven grandkids. All of us live within about an hour of each other in the northern and western suburbs of Baltimore and just about 90 minutes from Emmitsburg. 

Through the years, we visited both the school and the Grotto many times with the kids, so they were very familiar with the Mount. They have followed this tradition with their children as well. Our oldest daughter, Lisa Campbell, C’91, and our son, Colin, C’94, both attended the Mount.  Two of our grandkids, Caitlin Campbell, C’18, and Sean Campbell, C’20, are grads. Our second oldest granddaughter Cassie Fischer is a member of the Class of 2025. Colin’s wife, Dana (Pirone), whom he met at a Mount event, the Dragon Boat Races in Baltimore, was Class of 1997. One grandchild is at Towson. We are hoping the remaining three will choose the Mount, but it really is up to them and the course of study they want to pursue.

Q: What is a lesson you learned at the Mount that has impacted your life?

A: There certainly is something special about the Mount. The late Fr. Forker summed it up best when he famously said, “For those who went here, no explanation is needed; for those who didn’t, no explanation is possible.” Sure, you get a degree, but you can get that anywhere. The Mount gives you something beyond the degree, beyond knowledge. It gives you learning that is both intellectual and, more importantly, experiential. Often, we don’t realize we have that “something special” until years later. 

teaching-in-singapore-1.jpgThe Mount prepares us all to use our God-given talents to live lives that can have an impact on others. In my case, I think it has been through working in health services and in teaching future generations of healthcare leaders around the world. For others, it’s charitable giving, or volunteering their time and talent for others (like classmate Dick Hart, C’65, who volunteered with SCORE in Connecticut), or working in medical research (classmate Bob Diegelmann, C’65, developed groundbreaking techniques in wound care), or by mentoring Mount students as they begin to spread their wings and fly.     

judy-bill_1-1.jpgPart of it is being at the foot of Mary’s Mountain as if the Blessed Mother is always looking down on her children. I remember telling Tom Powell when he first arrived as the 24th president in 2003 that visiting the Mount is like visiting mom. Like going home to mom when we were little kids and had skinned our knee and mom would comfort us. Judy and I visit the Grotto several times a year to pray. There’s a peacefulness, a sense of the presence of the Blessed Mother, right there waiting to talk with us. We plan to be buried on that mountain when we die. It’s like you really can’t leave. And, frankly, you don’t want to.  

So, having said all that, what lesson did I learn that impacted my life? I think it’s to believe in yourself and to encourage others to do the same. I’ve tried to do the latter with my kids and grandkids and, for the past 40-plus years, my students.

Q: Who was your favorite professor?

A: Dunbar Ashbury quite literally saved my college career and turned me into an accountant. He taught Advanced Accounting in junior year. Up to that class, my grades were abysmal. You needed a certain number of “certifiers” (credits with a grade over 78) to graduate. After my first two years, I wasn’t close to being on track to graduate. He managed to get the proverbial light bulb over my head to turn on and it was dean’s list or nearly so from then on. He made me love accounting. There were others who I enjoyed – Adams for business law, Klein for philosophy, Fives for logic (I loved his way of illustrating backward logic: “All dogs have four legs; this table has four legs; therefore, this table is a dog.” which I cite to this day), and Ritter for American history. But for me, Ashbury was far and away the favorite.

Q: What is your favorite Mount memory?

A: Tough question. There are so many.

As a student, my favorite had to be the January 10, 1965, snowball fight at St. Joe’s. I met Judy there. A little over two years later we were married. Our first year we lived in Anchorage, Alaska, – there must be something about us and snow!

As an alumnus, there are three that stick out. I was awarded the President’s Medal in 2013 for my help in getting the Mount’s Master of Health Administration (MHA) degree program off the ground. I was inducted into the Dean’s Circle of Excellence Alumni Hall of Fame in 2015. Given my terrible academic record, I’m sure I could hear a bunch of deceased faculty members buried on Mary’s Mountain spinning in their graves on both occasions!

Several others come to mind: basketball games in the hangar and winning the NCAA Small College Division basketball championship my freshman year. The rivalry with CU and, especially, with Loyola. In 1985, Colin and I, along with Pat Goles, C’63, and his son, Greg, were sitting on the courtside paint in the hangar when Darryle Edwards, C’85, set up in front of us and shot the buzzer beater to beat C.W. Post 69-67 in the NCAA Division II Elite Eight playoffs. Fr. Delaney holding court at the fountain, Sunday Mass in pajamas in the Pangborn chapel, and “socializing” at the Palms are all good memories.

Q: Tell us about your career and your current position.  

A: I’ve had several “careers.” The first was in public affairs with the Air Force in Alaska and Kansas. I did radio and TV reporting, newspaper writing and editing, and public relations. After my discharge, I worked for a while in advertising in Kansas City. Moving back to Baltimore in 1970, it was back to my roots in accounting. I was hired by a CPA firm with a Mount connection: one of the partners was a member of the Class of 1955. 

I moved around in the accounting and finance field for many years. For a dozen years. I was a hospital executive (Chief Operating Officer at one of the Hopkins hospitals) before setting up my private consulting practice and getting into academia. For the past 30 years, I’ve been a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health where I still teach finance and management. My private practice consulting business is still active. I taught at the straddling-the-equator-1.pngUniversity of Maryland School of Nursing for 23 years, at the Hopkins School of Nursing for 20 years, and at the Singapore Management University for a dozen years. I’ve even taught a bit in the Mount’s MHA program (there’s that rumbling from the cemetery again!).    

Between my work at the School of Public Health and with Johns Hopkins International, and with my consulting practice, I’ve been to 49 of the 50 states, 26 countries, four continents, and 128 different airports. I’ve worked on projects in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, the Caribbean, and South America. I’ve taught in Singapore, Abu Dhabi, Peru, Taiwan, China, and Trinidad and Tobago. I’ve written three finance books and numerous articles and book chapters on various healthcare topics. I’ve served on the boards of several hospitals and health systems.    

By the grace of God, I’m still teaching and writing. I could have retired years ago, but I’m having too much fun doing what I do. 

Photos:

Bill, C’65, and Judy, SJC’66, spending time at Bethany Beach.

Bill, C’65, in the classroom at Singapore Management University, where he taught for a dozen years.

Bill and Judy at a special Mount dinner honoring a student-initiated scholarship in his name.

Bill, C’65, and faculty colleagues straddle the equator on a break when teaching in Quito, Ecuador

Bill Ward, C;65