Willard "Bill" Wright '59 will receive an Alumni Loyalty award in recognition of his dedicated and faithful service to Millikin.
A devoted alumnus and former student athlete, Wright is an active member of the Big Blue Club advisory board and exhibits an enduring passion for the student-athlete experience. He and his wife, Madeleine “Maddy” Weber Wright ’62, attend most home football games and many men’s basketball games, traveling 160 miles roundtrip to do so.
Wright served as captain of Millikin’s first cross-country team, and the university’s H. W. Wright Classic cross-country meet was named in his honor in 2008, recognizing both his team leadership and his continued support of Millikin athletics.
Through more than 50 years of giving, Wright has provided generous support for Millikin through the annual fund and the Big Blue Club. He has contributed to the “Advancing the Vision” capital campaign, supporting a global studies program in honor of the late Professor Emeritus Bill Williams ’55 and naming a classroom in ADM-Scovill Hall in honor of the late Professor Glen Smith. Wright retired as information systems manager at Caterpillar Inc.’s Morton facility in 1997, following a 32-year career with the company.
Wright is an active fan of horse racing and harness racing, and owns a stable of harness racing horses. He served as president of the Illinois Harness Horseman’s Association in 2001-2002, and was chairman of Illinois Horse Racing’s strategic planning council from 1999 through 2010. In August 2010, he was honored as Illinoisan of the Day at the Illinois State Fair in recognition of his service to the state through those organizations.
As a Millikin student, Wright was a member of Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity and participated in cross country, basketball, track and Student Senate. He also served as senior class secretary, was a member of the M Club and Homecoming Committee, and was student barracks manager during his sophomore year.
Wright and his wife, Maddy, live in Morton, Ill. They have three sons: Lindsay ’83, Craig ’85 and Kevin, and four grandchildren.