Wall of Fame
Dr. William Howard HamiltonClass Of: 1960
Inducted In: 2015
During his formative years at Waukesha High School, Bill had several experiences that helped shape his life: participating in Future Business Leaders club, studying Civics and Spanish language, and becoming an Eagle Scout. At the University of WisconsinWhitewater, he earned a business degree and was Student Council President. However, while he pursued a Master’s degree in Latin American politics at the University of Colorado, Bill’s future seemed compromised by a congenital spinal condition that eventually led to paraplegia. Although thereafter confined to a wheelchair, he earned a Ph.D. at the University of CaliforniaSanta Barbara, researching USMexico economic history. Bill adopted swimming as his rehabilitation tool and became a Masters disabled swimming champion. He was a national recordholder and Wheelchair Olympics medalist in several events. He mentored younger swimmers, was a leader in disabled athletics organizations, and had a prominent career in rehabilitation services administration. Bill’s renown was highlighted when he was chosen as a 1984 Olympics torch carrier in Santa Barbara. The national wheelchair athletics magazine lionized him as a “wheelchair sports icon.” His lifelong humanitarian service to Latino communities was acknowledged in a letter of appreciation to him from former President Carter. Beyond such recognitions, however, it was Bill’s engaging charisma, compassion and dedication to service that characterized him. A friend eulogized him thusly: “The smile defines Bill Hamilton for anyone who knew him. If there was an Olympic event in Broad Smiling, he’d win it easily.” Built on a solid Waukesha High School educational foundation, Bill’s true light did not shine until he matured into the incredible man who overcame so much while giving so much to others.