William Stevenson (athlete)

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Olympic medal record
Men's athletics
Competitor for the  United States
Gold 1924 Paris 4x400 m relay
William Edwards Stevenson
8th President of Oberlin College
In office
1946 (1946) – 1960 (1960)
Preceded by Ernest Hatch Wilkins
Succeeded by Robert K. Carr
Personal details
Born ( 1900-10-25)October 25, 1900
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Died April 2, 1985(1985-04-02) (aged 84)
Fort Myers, Florida, U.S.
Spouse(s) Eleanor "Bumpie" Bumstead Stevenson
Children Helen Stevenson Meyner, Priscilla
Alma mater Princeton University (undergraduate)
University of Oxford
Profession track and field athlete, lawyer, diplomat
William Edwards Stevenson
United States Ambassador to the Philippines
In office
February 5, 1962 – June 14, 1964
President John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Preceded by John D. Hickerson
Succeeded by William McCormick Blair, Jr.
Personal details
Born (1900-10-25)October 25, 1900
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Died April 2, 1985(1985-04-02) (aged 84)
Fort Myers, Florida, U.S.
Spouse(s) Eleanor "Bumpie" Bumstead Stevenson
Children Helen Stevenson Meyner, Priscilla

William Edwards Stevenson (October 25, 1900 – April 2, 1985) was an American track and field athlete, lawyer and diplomat, who won the gold medal in the 4 × 400 metres relay at the 1924 Summer Olympics, and later served as president of Oberlin College.

At the Paris Olympics, Stevenson ran the last leg in the American 4 × 400 metres relay team, which won the gold medal with a new world record of 3.16.0. His teammates were Commodore Cochran, Alan Helffrich and Oliver MacDonald.

Biography[edit]

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Chicago, Illinois, William Stevenson won the AAU championships in 440 yd (400 m) in 1921.

He was a graduate of Andover and Princeton University before winning a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University, where he studied law.

Legal career[edit]

After returning to United States, he was an assistant U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York in the 1920s and, in 1931, founded the prominent New York law partnership of Debevoise, Stevenson, Plimpton and Page, now Debevoise & Plimpton L.L.P.[1]

World War II[edit]

During the World War II, Stevenson and his wife, Eleanor "Bumpie" Bumstead Stevenson, a 1923 graduate of Smith College, organized and administered American Red Cross operations in Great Britain, North Africa, Sicily, and Italy. Both he and his wife were awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious achievement in support of military operations.[1] (Eleanor Stevenson was the author of I Knew Your Soldier in 1946. She was active in the civil rights movement and the first person to give a nationally broadcast speech on behalf of Planned Parenthood.)[1]

President of Oberlin College[edit]

In 1946, Stevenson succeeded Ernest Hatch Wilkins as a president of Oberlin College. He held the post until 1960.[2]

Ambassador[edit]

In 1962 John F. Kennedy appointed him as an ambassador to Philippines, where he served until 1965. He then became the head of the Aspen Institute of Humanistic Studies in Colorado.[1]

Death[edit]

Stevenson died in Fort Myers, Florida, aged 84.

Personal life[edit]

In 1937, Stevenson bought Buttonwood Manor in the North Stamford section of Stamford, Connecticut, an 1809 Colonial-style house. When Stevenson and his wife went to England during World War II, they rented the house to Dorothy Fields, a renowned lyricist, according to the columnist and war correspondent Ernie Pyle.[1]

He was the father of U.S. Representative Helen Stevenson Meyner, who served for two terms, from 1975 to 1979. She was the wife of two-term New Jersey Gov. Robert B. Meyner. His other daughter, Priscilla, married Richard Hunt, a Harvard professor and the university's marshal.[1] He was also a cousin of the Vice-President Adlai E. Stevenson, presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson, Senator Adlai Stevenson III, and actor McLean Stevenson.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Nova, Susan, "Manor is rich with history: Offer has been accepted to buy 5,300-square-foot (490 m2) home", news article in the Real Estate section of The Advocate of Stamford (daily newspaper), Friday, April 20, 2007, pp R1, R4
  2. ^ "Presidents of Oberlin College". Oberlin College Archives. Retrieved 21 October 2013.