Dr. Bill Thrall has devoted countless hours of his time to the University of Northern Iowa – both in his retirement and as the department head of the College of Education’s School of Health, Physical Education & Leisure Services (HPELS).
To recognize his commitment to the university, the UNI Foundation recently honored Dr. Thrall with the Faculty and Staff Award at its annual Distinguished Awards Celebration. This award recognizes an individual or couple currently employed by or retired from the University of Northern Iowa who has provided philanthropic support, dedicated long-term service and creative leadership to the university.
Dr. Bill Thrall (right with President Bill Ruud) is the 2015 recipient of the Faculty and Staff Award.
“When he was the director of the School of Health, Physical Education and Leisure Services he laid the foundation for the organization of this academic program,” said Dr. Chris Edginton, the R.J. McElroy Professor of Youth Leadership Studies.
“He also hired a number of outstanding faculty members that have served the school and the university very well. In addition to that, he put in place plans for the Wellness Recreation Center and other developments that have served the institution well and provide outstanding resources not only to run our academic programs, but that serve to recruit students to this campus and support them in their campus recreation activities. “
In retirement, Dr. Thrall has teamed with Dr. Elinor Crawford to create the Elinor A. Crawford and William R. Thrall Hall of Excellence. This includes an annual two-day event that recognizes graduates from HPELS who have distinguished themselves as professionals in their fields. The Hall of Excellence is located in the Wellness and Recreation Center where students gather to work toward their own bright futures and are inspired to strive toward excellence.
“Bill Thrall is very deserving of a distinguished award due to the fact that he has put an endless amount of hours every year into the Hall of Excellence, which he and Dr. Crawford developed,” said Don Briggs, Instructor of Leisure, Youth and Human Services. “That’s the thing that I have really respected about Bill Thrall throughout the years. He’s not afraid to get his hands dirty and walk-the-walk himself.”
For 41 years students at UNI have benefited from Dr. Thrall’s generosity, and they will continue to reap benefits for years to come through his thoughtful estate planning. He is an inspiration to faculty and staff who join him in supporting the Hall of Excellence event and Panther athletics through the Panther Scholarship Club.
Dr. Thrall and his wife, Kay, are actively engaged on campus and regularly attend UNI Foundation and Panther athletic events.