Bill Stevenson

Military hero, Rhodes Scholar, Gold Medalist, US Ambassador

Category Data
Full Name William Edwards "Bill" Stevenson
Used Name Bill Stevenson
Born 25 October 1900; Chicago (IL) (USA)
Died 2 April 1985; Fort Myers (FL) (USA)
Measurements 183 cm / 77 kg
Affiliations New York Athletic Club
Year-Games Sport Event Place Medal
1924 Summer Athletics 4 × 400 metres Relay 1 Gold

After leaving Phillips Andover Academy, Bill Stevenson served in the Marine Corps, winning the Bronze Star, and then entered Princeton in 1920. The following year he was ranked as the top quarter-miler in America and won the AAU 440y in 48.6, which proved to be the best time of his career. Later in the season he beat the reigning Olympic champion, Bevil Rudd, in the dual meet between Princeton/Cornell and Oxford/ Cambridge.

In 1923, Stevenson went to Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship and placed second in the match against Cambridge before winning the British title. In the Olympic year he had a poor start to the season, finishing only third in the match against Cambridge and in the British championships, but he fully justified his selection for the Olympic relay team by turning a 2-meter deficit into a 5-meter advantage on the second leg. In 1925, his last year at Oxford, Stevenson finally won the quarter-mile against Cambridge and he closed his career back on American tracks with victories for the combined Oxford/Cambridge team against teams from Harvard/ Yale and Princeton/Cornell.

Bill Stevenson, who also represented Oxford at lacrosse, was admitted as a barrister-at-law in England in 1925 and in 1927 he became a member of the New York Bar. He eventually became a partner in the law firm of Deboise, Stevenson, Plimpton & Tage, and from 1946 until 1959 he served as president of Oberlin College. He also held numerous civic and government posts, the most distinguished of these being his appointment as U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines from 1961 to 1964.

Personal Best: 400 – 48.3y (1921).

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