William Beaty Boyd Obituary – Racine, NY|Racine Journal Times – Legacy.com

20December 2020

William Beaty Boyd 1923 -2020 Dr. William Beaty(” Bill”)Boyd died in harmony in your home in Racine, Wisconsin on December 16 after a short disease. He was 97.

Dr. Boyd, a local of South Carolina, was President of the University of Oregon prior to coming to Racine in 1980 to become the 2nd president of The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread.

Dr. Boyd was the son of the late Francis T. and Eunice (Beaty) Boyd. His mother passionately called him “Billy” when he was young. Born in seaside Mount Pleasant, S.C., he had a terrific love of sailing which stuck with him throughout his life. He went to high school in neighboring Charleston before serving in the United States Navy in World War II and the Korean War. He received his B.A. from Presbyterian College and his M.A. from Emory University.

He started a recognized academic career in 1954, earning his Ph.D. in Modern Diplomatic History from the University of Pennsylvania. His profession spanned 4 years: after teaching for four years in the Humanities Department at Michigan State University, he moved into academic administration, first as Dean of the Faculty at Alma College, then as a dean and Director of the Honors Program at Ohio State University, and next as Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs at the University of California, Berkeley. From 1968 to 1975 he was President of Central Michigan University, and in 1975 he ended up being President of the University of Oregon. He left academic community in 1980 to presume the presidency of the Johnson Foundation. He retired in 1988 as President Emeritus of the Johnson Foundation.

Dr. Boyd was granted 5 honorary degrees throughout his career. He was also a member of the Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Alpha Theta national honor societies.

In Racine, he was a board member of a variety of neighborhood organizations. He was especially proud of his service with the Racine Community Foundation and its Kids First Fund, in combination with the Racine Unified School District. He likewise served on the National Committee on United States-China Relations in New York City.

Dr. Boyd was a world tourist. He spoke with pride of clandestinely delivering what would have been considered subversive product to a Jewish “refusenik” in Moscow during a trip to the Soviet Union in the 1970s. Although he ate well during his travels and at expert functions throughout his profession, his lunch of option with pals recently was a walleye sandwich at The Yardarm in Racine.

Dr. Boyd was wed twice: to Ruth Louise Philson Boyd (d. 2016) from 1945 to 1976, and to Karen Johnson Boyd, whom he wed in 1982 and who predeceased him in 2016. Dr. Boyd quipped that friends sometimes accused him of weding her for the Frank Lloyd Wright house she resided in, which she commissioned in 1954.

Dr. Boyd is survived by his children Marcie Boyd and Susan (Boyd) Greenwell and her hubby Ronald; grandchildren Jennifer Baker and Jeffrey Greenwell and their respective partners Brad and Meghan; great-grandchildren Lucas and Avery Baker; nephews Donald Boyd, John Boyd and James David Boyd; nieces Mary Donehower, Cleo Boyd and Karen Jones; the children and granddaughter of Karen Johnson Boyd: Nikolina, Henrietta, Harold (Bill) and Onnolee Keland; plus many good friends and dedicated caretakers.

An event of Dr. Boyd's life will be held at a future date. Donations in Dr. Boyd's memory can be made to the Kids First Fund at the Racine Community Foundation: https://www.racinecommunityfoundation.org/


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Published by Racine Journal Times on Dec. 20, 2020.

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