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Former Hendrix board member donates $4.6 million to the university

Hendrix College has received a $4.6 million gift from the estate of alumnus and former board member the late Dr. William “Bill” Roberts of Conway. He had graduated from the college in 1965.

The legacy – one of the largest gifts in Hendrix history – will be used to invest in new academic and co-curricular initiatives that support the College’s residential liberal arts mission through the previously established Dr. William “Bill” Roberts Innovation Endowment Fund.

Roberts, a longtime donor to Hendrix, used this bequest to further reflect his passion for the university and the education he received, which prepared him for a career as a physician and a life of engaged citizenship, the school said.

After Hendrix, Roberts attended the University of Arkansas at Little Rock for Medical Sciences School of Medicine, where he was licensed as a Doctor of Internal Medicine and received a Fellow in Cardiology certificate. He continued his medical career in the United States Army and was awarded the Department of Defense Joint Service Commendation Medal in 1972 for meritorious service as a medical officer.

In 1974, Roberts opened his private practice in Conway, where he served Conway area residents and supported many charitable organizations in the community for nearly half a century. Roberts served on the Hendrix College Board of Trustees for twelve years, advised pre-med students at Hendrix and served for many years in a volunteer oversight role for campus health care.

“Bill Roberts believed deeply in the residential liberal arts experience at Hendrix,” said Karen Petersen, president of Hendrix. “Through his philanthropy and service, he ensured that experiences would continue to change the lives of future students. This latest expression of his generosity comes at a crucial time as we begin a new strategic planning process and make plans to celebrate the College’s centenary in 2026.”

Petersen will lead efforts to identify initiatives suitable for investments from the fund’s annual proceeds. New initiatives supported by the Roberts Innovation Fund are intended to become self-sustaining within three years and will be reviewed annually by the Board of Trustees to measure their success based on increased enrollment and revenue growth.

“The Roberts Innovation Fund allows us to support bold and creative ideas that build on our tradition of excellence and further enhance the academic and student life experience at Hendrix,” said Petersen. “I can’t think of a more fitting way to honor one of our most loyal supporters than by connecting his legacy with programs that will ensure Hendrix will thrive for the next 150 years.”

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