William Elliott ’27, Hon. ’69

William Elliott ’27, Hon. ’69, was raised in upstate New York, aspiring to a career in business. He lived an active, energetic and philanthropic life. An avid reader and naturally competitive, Mr. Elliott excelled in business, as well as his two favorite pastimes: bridge and golf — “shooting his age of 74” in the latter at the Pine Valley Golf Club. “Dad was the kind of person you’d want to hang out with,” says his daughter, Katherine Elliott. He had many friends — friends from all walks of life. He believed deeply in the importance of education as a means to “open a window” in a young person’s life to reveal their inherent potential.

In keeping with his wishes, the William and Muriel Elliott Foundation was created from his estate after his wife passed away in 2010. (Mr. Elliott died in 1989.) The Foundation focuses on funding education.

The Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship is a perfect fit for the Foundation’s generosity. With its commitment to fostering the skills needed to drive innovation in business, the School echoes Mr. Elliott’s life and career. After attending Drexel during the late 1920s and serving in the Navy during World War II, Mr. Elliott worked his way up from an agent at Philadelphia Life Insurance Company to president of the company. He led it to become one of the top 100 publicly traded insurance companies in the country.

We want to support students not only to allow them to attend Drexel but also to provide them with the means to complete their studies.

Since 2012, the Foundation’s three trustees, William McKernan, Neil Cass and Ms. Elliott, have chosen to honor Mr. Elliott’s life and work by supporting students in the Close School. The Foundation’s third and most recent gift establishes a scholarship for immediate use for incoming freshmen.

“The trustees of the Foundation strongly believe in making contributions that directly benefit individuals,” says Mr. Cass. “I was the recipient of a scholarship while I was attending law school, and I know what an impact a scholarship can have. Not only does it benefit the individual, it can benefit his or her entire family.”

Mr. McKernan says, “We want to support students not only to allow them to attend Drexel but also to provide them with the means to complete their studies.” Recently, the trustees were able to meet three of the students who were benefiting from the Foundation’s support. When asked why scholarships were important, all three said they would not have been able to stay at Drexel without the funding.

The trustees are confident that the recipients of these scholarships are pursuing ideas that may ultimately change the ways in which we live.

Supporting the Close School — and students who will become catalysts for innovation — exemplifies the way Mr. Elliott lived his life: always looking ahead with the aim of improving upon the past.

“He believed that real progress comes from those who are able to see the future,” says Katherine Elliott. “He felt it was his responsibility to mentor and support those people with vision.”

A Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship class