William B. Bates, Distinguished Alumni, Class of 1968
April 22, 2013, William B. Bates, better known as Bill, was born, raised, and still lives in Lincoln. After graduating from Lincoln Junior High School in 1968 and from Lincoln Community High School in 1972, he entered Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. He was a member of the Delta Tau Chapter of Sigma Chi fraternity and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in May 1976 with a double major in Economics – Business Administration and Accounting. Wanting to pursue a career as a lawyer led Bill to the Drake University Law School in Des Moines, Iowa. His internship position during his final year of law school was serving as the law clerk for the late Honorable John T. McCullough, Justice of the Fourth District Appellate Court. Bill received his Juris Doctor and graduated with honors in December of 1978.
He returned to Lincoln as an associate in his father’s law practice, later becoming a partner, managing partner, and then the owner of Woods and Bates, Attorneys at Law. Throughout his law career, Bill has presented many public seminars in the local area on various legal issues – wills, estate planning, and Powers of Attorney. He continues to be a member of the American, Illinois, and Logan County Bar Associations.
Since returning to Lincoln in 1978, Bill has been actively involved in the community. His time and dedication have made, and continue to make, positive contributions to Lincoln and Logan County.
The Bates family has a long association with District 27. Bill’s father, William C. Bates, Jr., served on the Board of Education in the 1960s. Bill was a Board Member for sixteen years (1985-2001), serving as Board President from 1993 to 2001. His son, Blinn Bates, was recently re-elected to his second term on the Board and currently serves as Vice President.
Since 1998, Bill has been the President and Director of The Woods Foundation. The Foundation was established by Bill’s former law partner, Robert Woods and his wife Joan, and generously supports education and other services in Lincoln and Logan County. Bill also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital. He has served on various hospital committees and was recently co-chair of the Capital Campaign Committee which raised approximately 4.2 million dollars for the new hospital building.
Bill has served as a member of the Lincoln College Board of Trustees, the Boards of the Lincoln YMCA, Lincoln Elks Crippled Children’s Trust, Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, Logan County Chapter of American Cancer Society, and the Logan County Park and Trails Foundation. He has also served as President of the St. Clara’s Manor Board of Directors, and as President and Founding Director of the Logan County Chapter of Ducks Unlimited.