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Westminster College to honor alumnus, trustee emeritus with honorary degree

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Posted on Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Westminster College will recognize the outstanding achievements and leadership of 1960 alumnus and trustee emeritus William W. Rankin by awarding him with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at the institution’s spring’s 168th commencement exercises on Saturday, May 14.

“Westminster is pleased to present an honorary degree to Mr. Rankin, a valued member of our community who exemplifies the core values of our institution,” said Westminster College President Dr. Kathy Brittain Richardson. “Through his talents, time and philanthropy, Mr. Rankin has advanced the mission of Westminster and his support has generously enhanced the student experience.”

Rankin, who holds a B.A. in economics and business administration from Westminster and an M.B.A. from Pace University, had a 33-year career in human resources management with Pfizer Inc., working in the New York City headquarters and the European management headquarters in Brussels. He retired as vice president-employee resources for Pfizer Inc. Consumer Health Care Group.

Prior to graduating magna cum laude from Westminster, he was a campus leader who excelled academically and athletically. While a student he served two terms as class president, was vice president of Student Council and the Inter-Fraternity Council and president of Sigma Nu fraternity. A three-year letterman for tennis, Rankin was co-captain of the 1960 Titan team that went undefeated in the West Penn Conference. Rankin is only the fifth men’s tennis player inducted into the Westminster College Sports Hall of Fame. In his junior year, Rankin set a school record for singles wins in a season (13), which held for 24 years.

Rankin’s commitment to community service and volunteerism can be witnessed in his steadfast dedication to Westminster. Currently a trustee emeritus, Rankin was a three-term member of the Westminster College Board of Trustees. During his tenure, he served as chair of the Enrollment Management Committee and the Athletic Advisory Committee. In 2016, in recognition of his commitment and service to Westminster, Rankin was honored with the Alumni Citation Award.

He established two endowed scholarships for Westminster students—one for students interested in pursuing a career in human resources and the other for those who are members of Valencia (Pa.) Presbyterian Church or other churches in the Beaver-Butler (Pa.) Presbytery.

Rankin has also been a key supporter of Titan athletics and is recognized for initiating the design of the Hall of Fame ring available to inductees. He has frequently traveled to Hilton Head, S.C., to support the tennis teams during their spring break training matches. He has donated Presidents’ Athletic Conference Championship rings to the women’s tennis and golf teams, as well as men’s golf. He was the lead donor and major fundraiser for the campus’ indoor Bill Rankin Golf Center, built in 2016, which features two GC2 simulators, a chipping and putting green, and a locker room for the men’s and women’s golf teams. Most recently he donated men’s tennis and women’s golf trophy cases for the Huey Heritage Center in Memorial Field House.

Outside of Westminster, Rankin is active within his church, Valencia Presbyterian Church, having served as an elder and on numerous church committees. He also donated a medical lending facility to house medical supplies for use in the community. He supports many civic organizations including the Salvation Army, American Red Cross, It’s About the Warrior Foundation, Prostate Cancer Foundation, Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed American Veterans, United Service Organization, Veterans for Foreign Wars, Honduras Hope Mission, Light of Life Rescue Mission and The Lighthouse Foundation.

Rankin is a member of the Olde Stonewall Golf Club as well as Treesdale Golf and Country Club where he was a board chair. He was also president of the Pittsburgh Senior Inter-Club golf group.

Rankin resides in Gibsonia, Pa., with his wife, Carla, and they have two grown sons, Mark and Matt, and four grandchildren.