During each Homecoming, the William Jewell College Alumni Board of Governors recognizes alumni who have shown evidence of ongoing meritorious service to the College. On Friday, September 29, Former Knight Commander William E. “Bill” Dreyer (Alpha Delta–William Jewell ’57) was recognized as the 2023 recipient of the John F. Truex Award [a 1942 KA initiate from William Jewell] for Lifetime Alumni Service. This pinnacle award of the Alumni Association is presented to an alumnus or alumna who graduated more than 50 years ago.
Chiles Province Commander M. Tyler Griffin presented Bill with this award during the Celebration of Golden Classes. His remarks are included below.
The John F. Truex Award for Lifetime Alumni Service, presented by our Alumni Association, is a prestigious recognition for graduates showcasing exceptional dedication over time—just like its namesake, whom I was also privileged to know and call a friend. Today, as we honor the recipient, we recognize an individual epitomizing dedication and the true spirit of our alumni community.
William E. Dreyer, affectionately known as Bill, is a man whose journey is deeply intertwined with both his roots in Concordia, Missouri, and his steadfast dedication to William Jewell College. Born and raised in Concordia, Bill embarked on his educational journey at William Jewell, culminating in his graduation in 1959. This marked the commencement of a remarkable career that traversed the telecommunications landscape, leaving an indelible mark on companies and communities alike.
Post-graduation, Bill launched his career at Southwestern Bell Telephone Company in Saint Louis, Missouri, igniting a trajectory spanning states like Missouri, Georgia, Kansas, and Texas. His dedication and expertise in the telecommunications industry propelled him into pivotal roles, notably as the company’s coordinator for the 1976 Republican National Convention in Kansas City. In 1982, Bill’s journey elevated him to the position of General Manager of the Southwestern Region for the Western Electric Company in Saint Louis, where his exceptional leadership shone through.
Continuing his ascent, Bill was appointed President of the Kansas Division of Southwestern Bell Telephone Company in 1985, a testament to his competence and expertise in the telecom arena. Further advancing in leadership, 1988 saw his rise to Group President of Southwestern Bell Corporation in Saint Louis, overseeing crucial international and national subsidiaries that significantly impacted the industry. A highlight in his career arrived in 1992, as he took the helm as President of Southwestern Bell Telephone Company of Texas, leading a substantial workforce catering to over five million customers. The pinnacle of his professional journey came in 1998 when he retired as Senior Executive Vice President of SBC, now the industry titan AT&T, where he guided state presidents and reported directly to the Chairman of the Board.
Beyond his distinguished career, Bill epitomizes dedication to community and education. His service on the Board of Trustees of William Jewell College and being honored with the Citation of Achievement in 1985 reflect his success and commitment to the institution. As a Knight Commander of the Kappa Alpha Order from 2011 to 2015, Bill’s engagement in education and community service remains profound, evident in his roles on the Board of Trustees of the Kappa Alpha Order Educational Foundation and several other organizations.
In the sphere of family, Bill’s legacy radiates through his enduring 60-year marriage to Linda Lee Hill Dreyer, a union blessed with two daughters: Elizabeth Hill Dreyer Norris and Cynthia Susan Dreyer Brysacz. The family grew with the inclusion of two sons-in-law, one granddaughter, and four grandsons, furthering the Jewell legacy through his daughter Beth Norris, son-in-law Ed Norris, and grandson Will Norris.
Reflecting on his time at William Jewell, Bill cherishes the joy of dating his future wife, Linda, during those student years. Dr. Ulrich Pugh, head of the history department, left an indelible mark, igniting Bill’s passion for history and life-long learning.
Bill’s bond with William Jewell remains enduring, rooted in the multi-generational presence of his family at the College. The lifelong friendships fostered during his tenure, especially through Kappa Alpha, epitomize his enduring affection for William Jewell, exemplified through his friendship with John Truex, the namesake of this award.
In conclusion, Bill’s journey intertwines with the past and future of William Jewell, epitomizing a legacy of leadership, dedication, and family bonds shaping the institution and its community. His story embodies what it means to be a devoted and engaged alumnus, leaving an inspiring legacy for generations to come.