William M. Bristol III
2010 Bell Ringer Award
Since its very beginnings as the Hamilton-Oneida Academy more than 200 years ago, the Bristol family has been intimately associated with Hamilton College. That legacy was enthusiastically embraced and carried forward with unparalleled dedication and distinction by William M. Bristol III, Class of 1943. Upon his passing last summer, he was aptly described by President Joan Hinde Stewart as “our College’s heart and soul.”
No single individual has played a more crucial role in creating the strong, vibrant institution that Hamilton is today than “Mac” Bristol. As a trustee and chairman of the board from 1977 to 1990, he selflessly, unstintingly and generously devoted himself to the College’s welfare and advancement. He provided wise and energetic leadership, helping to guide it through difficult and challenging times while always urging, with his faith and optimism in its future, that Hamilton seize every opportunity to better itself. The result has been the transformation of a small, regional men’s college into a coeducational institution of exceptional academic quality and national prestige.
As Hamilton approaches its 200th birthday, it continues to benefit enormously from the vision, leadership and admirable character of a man who was always uncomfortable in the limelight, who shrank from personal praise and who, beneath a gruff exterior, was ever warm, kind and considerate. Mac Bristol’s legacy can be found not only in the physical facilities, financial strength and academic stature of today’s Hamilton, but also in its faith in and commitment to an ever-better Hamilton, which he did so much to inspire.
Citation presented by
Julie Ross ’84
President, Alumni Association
June 5, 2010