Homecoming Hero: Alumnus of the Year William Robinson ’41

September 08, 2009

William C. “Robbie” Robinson remembers being admitted into Western Maryland College within 10 minutes after another student dropped out.  Four years later…“I got a diploma, a commission, and a wife, “ he quips.

During the College's October 24 Homecoming celebration, Robinson will be honored as Alumnus of the Year.

A 1941 graduate in Economics, he joined the Air Force where he first reported to Fort Myer, Fla., as a member of the 176th Infantry Regiment in April of 1942, only five months after the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Later he transferred to the Army Air Corps and trained as a navigator in a B-24 Bomber. He flew 13 missions in the closing months of WWII and his 10-man crew never suffered a casualty.

After the war, Robinson continued his military service, earning both an Air Force Commendation Medal and Legion of Merit honors, and was promoted to a full colonel prior to his retirement in 1968. He joined the administration at George Washington University where he managed the graduate degree programs in Government and Business Administration until he retired in 1990.

Robinson, a staunch and loyal supporter of his alma mater, has led alumni events for the D.C. and northern Virginia area for more than two decades. In 1990, he was the travel leader for alumni touring the U.S. National Parks. He has served as an effective fundraiser for his class reunions and as a member of the Green Terror Sports Hall of Fame Committee from 1991-95. He also organized the first-ever military alumni reunion in 1998, when more than 100 veterans and guests from all service branches returned to the College.

A faithful reader of the New York Times as a youth, Robinson wrote a sports column for the College’s “Gold Bug” student newspaper and was a valued athlete on both the soccer and track teams. His student job as intramurals’ manager earned him 40 cents per hour, the earnings, he jokes, were spent on “girls.”  All 23 ROTC graduates in his Class of 1941 were commissioned, but no one was killed during their military service.

Robinson lives in Alexandria where he served as president and longtime member of the Rotary Club and still maintains a perfect attendance record of 38 years. He was married for 59 years to Jane Fraley’42 Robinson, who passed away in 2001. He will celebrate his 90th birthday in September as the College’s ROTC program begins its 90th year.