Posted on Monday, July 20, 2020
Bill Eavenson is a proud supporter of Westminster College. A resident of Atlanta, Georgia, he has graciously opened his home to host Westminster alumni events. He currently is president-elect of Westminster’s Alumni Council. He has been in the banking industry for more 40 years and is a consultant for Resurgent Performance, Inc.
Why did you choose Westminster College?
I was raised and confirmed in the Presbyterian Church. In the fourth grade, a new youth minister was hired who had a profound impact on my life. His name is the Rev. Dr. William N. Jackson, a graduate of the College and former member of the Board of Trustees. His influence led me to Westminster. In an unusual turn of events, he became the Interim Dean of the Chapel my freshmen year. He also became my New Testament professor. The following year, he was called to serve as the senior pastor at Boardman Presbyterian Church in Ohio, where I spent the next year as a youth intern. So, this outstanding man was my pastor, my mentor, my professor and friend. I am in regular contact with him today.
What have you been up to since graduation?
I considered the ministry, but immediately went on to earn an M.A. in College Student Personnel Administration from Bowling Green State University. I then was hired to serve as the assistant dean for men at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. After four years, I decided to return to school, and earned an M.B.A. from Vanderbilt University. This led me to a 40-year career in banking and bank consulting with a focus on lending and credit in which I am still active. I met my wife Wendy through Westminster friends. We have been married for 37 years and have two successful adult children. I continue to be an engaged Presbyterian and am currently an incoming elder at Peachtree Presbyterian Church where I serve as a Stephen Minister. I am a consistent runner and have completed 40 Peachtree Road Races, the largest 10K race in the country with 60,000 plus runners.
How well did Westminster prepare you for your career?
I cannot say enough about the way in which Westminster prepared me for my career and life. My liberal arts education prepared me to think critically, write well and speak well. It also allowed me to become my best mentally, physically and spiritually. I learned how to effectively engage with a wide variety of people with different backgrounds and styles.
How would you describe the level of academics you experienced during your time at Westminster College?
The academic experience in the early ’70s was very different from the one faced by students today. Without technology, there was a need for more face-to-face interaction and research was far more labor intensive. Papers and exams were typed and completed in long-hand. Nevertheless, the demands were never compromised.
What Westminster professors influenced you the most and why?
English Professor Dr. Fritz Horn was memorable. He knew how to engage students with knowledge and enthusiasm. Dean of Students Tom Carver must also be noted. He was a mentor to me who constantly reminded me of my gifts and abilities. I am still in touch with him today.
Did you participate in any organizations or activities when you were a student?
I served as a resident advisor and a resident director my senior year. I wrote for the student newspaper The Holcad and served as the features editor one year. I was tapped for Omicron Delta Kappa, Who's Who in American Colleges and University, and the English and Journalism honoraries. I was a member of the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity and served as recording secretary and sergeant-at-arms.
What makes the Westminster College experience unique?
I would have to say the people which includes the leadership team, the professors and the students. The environment on campus is friendly, and there is a genuine interest that the faculty takes with its students.
What significant life lesson did you learn at Westminster?
I discovered my passions, gifts and skills which allowed me to make career choices and personal choices which aligned with who I am.
Knowing what you know now, what piece of advice would you give to incoming students?
I would encourage students to be open-minded relative to choosing a major. They should take a variety of course work during their first two years to discover what they really enjoy. They should try not to be influenced by what others or society say are meaningful or important careers. Finally, I would suggest that they participate in extracurricular activities to help them develop leadership and interpersonal skills.
To learn more about Westminster’s English major, visit www.westminster.edu/english.