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William Daniel Bechill

Class of 1949

Public Servant – Welfare Administrator

We at Beloit like to think your deep concern about social problems dates back to your days as a government major here.  In the past 20 years since your graduation, you have become closely associated with organizations and institutions working for the betterment of life for older citizens.  Your expertise in this area prompted President Lyndon B. Johnson to appoint you as the first Commissioner on Aging for the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in October, 1965.  You accordingly were deputy chairman of the President’s Council on Aging and chairman of the Advisory Committee on Older Americans, providing direction and leadership in fulfilling the objectives of the Older Americans Act and the provisions of the Social Security Act as it pertains to persons receiving old-age assistance and Medicare.  Your career opened on a bright note following your completion of graduate studies in sociology and social work as you served as a case worker, county supervisor, and area representative for the Michigan Department of Social Welfare.  Then followed five years as a University of Michigan teacher in fields pertaining to social services, rehabilitation, and community organization.  State government beckoned again in 1960, when you went to California to be executive secretary of the Citizens’ Advisory Committee on Aging and later Acting Director of the Division of Medical Care, State Social Welfare Department.  You recently left federal service to return to the education of our youth in this vital area as an associate professor at the University of Maryland’s School of Social Work.  It is with pride that Beloit College recognize your distinguished life of service by awarding you this citation, the first to a member of your Class.