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William ‘Bill’ Shaw receives Granvil Vaughan Founder’s Award 


In the spirit of those who established Missouri State University-West Plains over 60 years ago, campus officials presented William W. “Bill” Shaw, Birch Tree, with the prestigious Granvil Vaughan Founder’s Award during Saturday’s commencement ceremony at the West Plains Civic Center.

The award, named in honor of the campus’ founder, the late Missouri State Rep. Granvil Vaughan, was presented to Shaw by MSU-WP Chancellor Dennis Lancaster. The award is given annually at commencement to recognize individuals who have made a significant impact upon the mission of MSU-WP. Shaw is the 24th recipient of the award.

“There are so many causes that Mr. Shaw and his family’s foundation have supported over the years, including Missouri State-West Plains and, in particular, our students from south-central Missouri,” Lancaster said. “It is clear, at least to me, that Bill has great concern and a fervent passion to see his fellow residents succeed in developing the quality of life they want and deserve. His philanthropy has made the difference in so many lives, most of whom will never know his name nor how he helped. We are thrilled to acknowledge Bill and to thank him through our campus’ most prestigious award.”

As a longtime supporter of higher education and MSU-WP, Shaw has given his time and resources both personally and as a trustee of the Arch W. Shaw Foundation. The foundation was established in 1953 by his grandfather, Arch W. Shaw, who was a business leader, publisher and adviser to presidents. Since the 1980s, family members and the foundation have supported MSU-WP and its students with gifts toward scholarships, building projects and other campus fundraisers.

Shaw’s leadership of the foundation has led to several valuable gifts to the university, including the Arch W. Shaw Foundation Writing Center, which opened in 2020; landscaping at Gohn Hall; the Hass-Darr Hall renovation/construction project; the Friends of the Garnett Library; the Roger D. Shaw Endowed Scholarship, established in 1993 and named in honor of his father; and the Margaret W. Shaw Endowed Scholarship, established in 2004 and named in honor of his mother.

To date, the scholarships have helped a total of 149 students pursue their educational goals at MSU-WP.

Personally, Shaw made a significant contribution to help establish the Ozarks Heritage Research Center in the Garnett Library. The center houses an archive of materials related to the south-central and southeast Missouri Ozarks that can be used by researchers, regional history enthusiasts and students. He also has made contributions to the campus’ Fund for Excellence.

Because of their support of MSU-WP, Shaw and the foundation are members of the Missouri State University Foundation’s The Founders Club. The Founders Club recognizes those significant donors whose financial support provides and encourages many aspects of higher education for Missouri State University. The Arch W. Shaw Foundation is a Platinum Medallion recipient, and Shaw is a Sterling Medallion recipient.

A decorated U.S. Army veteran during World War II, Shaw received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy, now known as Missouri University of Science and Technology, in Rolla in 1949. He found employment with the Missouri Department of Transportation in July 1949 and held numerous positions within the department until his retirement in January 1988.

Although his attendance at university events is limited, Shaw continues to remain connected to the university and is in routine contact with campus’ university advancement office.

“Mr. Shaw is a kind man and I’m excited to see that he was selected for this prestigious award,” said Rachel Peterson, director of development and annual giving. “The Shaw family, with their foundation, have been tremendous supporters of our students and campus, and we are the better for it.”