Why I Give

William H. Curtis '54

I came to Pembroke-Country Day in second grade, left, returned in seventh grade and graduated in 1954.

My C average got me into the University of Missouri, then into Naval Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Newport, R. I. After four years of active duty, I applied to graduate business school and was accepted at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Graduate school was way more than I expected, but when you want something, you put in the effort – The Dean’s List looked very good with my name on it. Some of us are “late bloomers…”

Growing up as an Army brat, Pem-Day was my home, and my classmates were my closest friends. I keep in touch with most of them and am saddened whe n any are lost. Our class giving is in memory of our classmates who have passed – Evert Asjes, Lou Davis, Dick Hamilton, Peter Hawes, Bill Nickel, Jim Porter, Whitney Ruby, David Schopflin and Mike Selbert.

This profile is not so much about me as it is an honor to The Class of 1954. Of the 28 young men in our class, I cannot think of one who was not successful in his lifetime adventure. In addition, one taught me how to build a bird cage in shop class; another won my first law suit; and two invested and helped me get my development business going. Still others have offered advice on different matters. I may not appear to listen, but I do.

My memories take me back to teachers and coaches including Ralph Wedin, Phil Dundas, Joe Scalet, Mary Scott Miner and especially my track coach, Wayne Campbell. Wayne kept his eye on me and made me work hard – hard enough that I could run track in college.

There was no fooling around in those days. Justice was swift and painful, certainly not to be forgotten.

Due to my 20 years in the Navy, a second career in California industrial development and a third “avocation” with a sailing charter business in the Caribbean, I was not able to return to Kansas City as often as I would have liked. While I miss the old Pem-Day buildings with creaky wooden floors, I have to admit I am proud of the new and improved campus sites and facilities.

I enjoy giving back to Pembroke Hill and have included the school in my estate. I hope that this will, in some small way, help other students.

Thanks, Pembroke Hill, it was a great ride.