A Lifetime of Rotary Achievement: Bill Randall

By Liz Keuler


At Rotary’s 2013 holiday luncheon, Rotarians gathered with the friends and family of Bill Randall to celebrate Bill’s nearly 55-year Rotary history with the presentation of the RCM Lifetime Achievement Award. Bill was toasted by his friends, family and colleagues and thanked for his contributions to Rotary and the community. Bill closed out the program with the words he lives by, given to him on the day of his high school graduation:

It’s not what you get but what you give
Not what you say but how you live
Living a life of noble deeds
Giving the world the love it needs
Strong for the good, the light, the true
These are the things worthwhile to you.


The Lifetime Achievement Award honors the significant achievements of a club member who has made lasting contributions to the culture of the club, the local community and Rotary International.  The award recognizes members who exemplify the club's motto of "Leaders Making a Difference," and who have had an outstanding impact on the club. In every way over the last 55 years, Bill has said "yes" to Rotary and given generously of his time, talent and treasure to help keep Rotary evolving and growing.


Bill joined Rotary in 1959 at the age of 29, while his father, Cliff Randall, was serving his term as Rotary International President. Bill served as president of our club 1966-67. His proudest moment as president was when the club introduced its first executive director and two new members - the first Catholic priest and the first African American member. Randall considers that first step toward membership diversity to be the most memorable of his nearly 55-year Rotary career.


Bill has continued to provide direction and leadership to the club, especially in our large projects. He provided guidance and fundraising assistance for Second Harvest, now Feeding America, and the Health Education Center. He fondly remembers working directly with kids at Camp Enterprise, a Rotary-sponsored weekend camp for high-school students in the 70s. His leadership continues up to this day, as he provides invaluable input as a member of our Arboretum Preservation Fund campaign cabinet.


Bill is a Paul Harris Fellow +4 and a Harry Franke Fellow. He has attended a dozen District conferences and chaired the District Conference in 1962. He is a champion fundraiser who has had a hand in nearly every large Rotary project. He is a wit and poet who contributed memorable writing to Rotary news bulletins and top-secret Past President dinner programs.


Bill’s community involvement outside of Rotary has been equally impressive. He helped found and was the first president of the United Performing Arts Fund. When chairman of the Education Committee of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, he helped found the Greater Milwaukee Education Trust. He has served as president of the Dartmouth College Alumni Council and on the board of Alverno College. Other organizations Randall has served include: Milwaukee Academy of Science, Performing Arts Center, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, Milwaukee Art Museum, Sharp Literacy, McBeath Foundation, and Milwaukee School of Engineering.


Thank you, Bill, for your lifetime of Making a Difference!