Memorial Service For Bill Ward
Scholars, politicians, family and friends of John William Ward '45 gathered in Memorial Church yesterday to pay tribute to the former Amherst College president and historian, who died in a mysterious suicide in August.
Ward, also remembered for his highly acclaimed book, "Andrew Jackson: Symbol for an Age," chaired a state commission in 1978 that delivered a shocking report on corruption in the awarding of public contracts.
In what most called the most moving speech of the service, Ward's son, Christopher, said of his father's suicide that "the public Bill Ward and the private Bill Ward never got to meet" Christopher Ward said his father always had much wise advice to give to others, but "never learned to run his own life."
Among the nine speakers were professors from MIT and Dartmouth, Amherst trustees, Ward's sons, and other friends. Dale Peterson, an Amherst Professor of English and Russian, said that "the full complexity of the man came alive in the service also strongly supported equal rights for women and minorities."
"I couldn't not come--he drew you to him like a magnet," said Jim Levine, a 1967 Amherst graduate who flew in from New York for the service.