Why I Give: William “Bill” Oakley, MS ’71

William “Bill” Oakley, MS GWSB ’71

William “Bill” Oakley, MS GWSB ’71

To hear William “Bill” Oakley, MS GWSB ’71, tell it, his time at GW helped put rugs under his feet and a roof over his head — so he’s giving it back and then some.

“I hope to give bright, eager young people the opportunity to get a good and meaningful education,” says Oakley. “I want to prepare them for a better life and to achieve the American dream.”

In 1986, Oakley established a charitable remainder trust (CRT) that will help finance three endowed funds at the George Washington University: The William B. Oakley Scholarship in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the William B. Oakley Endowed Business Scholarship, and the William B. Oakley Professorial Fellowship Fund — the latter two in the School of Business.

“Endowments provide a continuing flow of funds for scholarships, as opposed to seeing it expended over a short period of time,” explains Oakley, a Heritage Society and George Washington Society member. “These endowments will benefit more people over the long haul.”

Oakley spent the first 20 years of his career in the U.S. Army working in the Communications Systems field. He was stationed in Washington, D.C., in 1968 and took night classes to earn a master’s degree in Administration with a concentration in Information Technology from GW’s School of Business and Public Management. Because of his GW degree and communications background, Oakley spent the final eleven years of his Army career working on a Worldwide Intercomputer Network (“I don’t know whatever happened to that program,” Oakley chuckles) before becoming a consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton.

“The GW education gave me the credentials, when tied with my other experience, for a full and satisfying career with a good salary,” says Oakley.

The Army veteran is still impressed with the effect GW has on its students because of its location in the nation’s capital and its emphasis on international relations. “The role of America in the world is extremely important and developing a broad understanding of what goes on outside of your immediate area is of ultimate importance,” says Oakley. “GW students not only get involved and see the governmental structure of the U.S.; they also get a feel for international activities by interacting with the broad spectrum of foreign students.”

An avid traveler, Oakley spent time living in the Middle East and purchased a number of rugs from pilgrims making the Hajj to Mecca. Oakley recently donated three of his rugs to the George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum for use in their educational programs. He also intends to give his home to the University when he no longer needs it.

“GW gave me the credentials to have a very satisfying and rewarding career,” says Oakley, “so I’m sharing some of the benefits of that education and career with GW and hoping to give young, eager students a chance to enjoy the same benefits of the education and of the American experience.”


If you’d like to follow in Bill Oakley’s footsteps by giving back to GW, please contact the Office of Planned Giving at (877) 498-7590 or pgiving1@gwu.edu. To learn more about making a planned gift while also seeing your gift have an immediate impact through our Legacy Challenge match, visit go.gwu.edu/GWLegacyChallenge.

Author: Craig Burdick

Craig Burdick is a writer on GW's development communications team. If you have a story idea, let him know at cburdick@gwu.edu.

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