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Spirit of "MU" Inspires This Journalism Grad to Set His Own Mizzou Legacy

Bill DanielBill Daniel, BJ '50, said he never thought about going any place other than Mizzou. He established a scholarship for journalism students. Bill, who received a scholarship while attending the J-School, said he hopes that his scholarship will help somebody who needs it as much as he did when he was a student.

The news of Bill Daniel's birth didn't make the front pages of the St. Louis newspapers on May 20, 1927. But the journalists of that day might be forgiven for the oversight-after all, that was the very day Charles Lindbergh gunned the engine of his "Spirit of St. Louis" down the dirt runway of Roosevelt Field in Long Island and lifted off toward Paris.

You would be hard-pressed to talk about the history of aviation for very long without mentioning Lindbergh. In the same way, Bill Daniel's story isn't complete without including Mizzou. Bill was virtually a prenatal Missouri University student. His parents, Herbert and Annette Daniel, had met there as students in 1920. Herb was a Columbia town boy in the Business School and Annette a pre-journalism student from Henderson, Kentucky. With archival photos of the Columns around the house as Bill grew up, he never considered going anywhere but Mizzou.

Bill graduated from Webster Groves High School in 1945, served in the U.S. Navy, then enrolled at Mizzou under the G.I. Bill. A student at the Missouri School of Journalism, Bill won a John W. Jewell Scholarship his senior year. After graduation, Bill began work immediately as a copywriter for Sears, Roebuck and Company in Chicago. "I learned a lot about housewares," he noted wryly.

After being recalled to the Navy from 1952-54, Bill returned to highly successful positions with several advertising and public relations firms. He wrote, for example, Whirlpool commercials for entertainer Fran Allison and was involved in other well-known advertising campaigns. "My advertising credentials from the MU Journalism School were essential for good jobs," he said.

In 1967, Bill accepted a position with John Hancock Life Insurance and eventually transferred to Southern California, working in the Beverly Hills office. He retired in 1990 after qualifying as a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Round Table.

During his retirement, Bill established the William O. Daniel Journalism Scholarship Fund at Mizzou. The endowment provides support for students in the School of Journalism who have demonstrated high promise for a successful career in newspaper journalism. In addition to the generous contributions he has already made, Bill has planned a gift from his estate that will further strengthen his endowment. Commenting on the importance of his own scholarship award, Bill noted that he wouldn't have been able to eat his senior year without it! "My hope is that somebody else will benefit from my scholarship," he said, "...somebody who needs it as much as I did back when I was a student."

Yes, the newspaper correspondents overlooked the big news of Bill Daniel's birth on May 20, 1927, but he holds no grudges. Even so, it's a mistake not likely to be repeated. Thanks to his scholarship fund, future generations of Mizzou journalists will find it impossible to forget Bill Daniel's lifetime of generosity!

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