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Advancement University of Illinois Springfield

William E. Winter: Leader, Volunteer, Advocate

Cullom Davis
Former Winter recipient Bob Clary (State Farm); Jeff Lorber, UIS Vice Chancellor for Development; Cullom Davis; Robert Felker, Member, University of Illinois Foundation Board of Directors; UIS Chancellor Susan J. Koch


This past Tuesday, May 20, the University of Illinois Foundation presented Cullom Davis with the 2014 William E. Winter Award for Outstanding Advocate Leadership. The award celebrates individuals who have played an active role in securing private support for the University of Illinois.

Cullom Davis is a founding faculty member of Sangamon State University (now UIS) and Emeritus Professor of History. He was briefly dean of Brookens Library. A strong campus advocate and fundraiser, he has brought significant gifts to UIS for Brookens Library, the Papers of Abraham Lincoln, WUIS, and other programs.

“Through the Lens of History”

According to David Racine, Executive Director of the Center for State Policy and Leadership:

“No individual has made a greater contribution to the University’s scholarship and public service in the study of Abraham Lincoln than Professor Cullom Davis.

“His vision in creating the Lincoln Legal Papers Project at SSU in the 1980s, and his generous support since, have produced the innovative Papers of Abraham Lincoln, a joint initiative of UIS’ Center for State Policy and Leadership, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, and the Abraham Lincoln Association.

“His role in launching and supporting the Center’s Annual Lincoln Legacy Lecture Series since 2002, and in underwriting the Center’s documentary film about the Old State Capitol Historic Site, completed in 2013, are just two more examples of Cullom’s success in bringing life to UIS’ public affairs mission through the lens of history.”

A Professor, Administrator, and Scholar

While a professor, Cullom created and directed the University’s Oral History Office and helped design its M.A. program in public history. Following his retirement from UIS in 1995, he served as Director and Senior Editor of the Lincoln Legal Papers (which later became the Papers of Abraham Lincoln) from 1988 to 2000.

“It has been my privilege to serve and then support the University of Illinois at Springfield,” he says. “Present at its origins (as SSU) in 1970, I embraced the student-centered education, the public affairs mission, and its early determination to make Brookens Library the physical and intellectual center of our campus. Whatever I have accomplished pales in comparison with the rewards I have enjoyed.”

You can read an interview with Cullom about creating the Oral History Office (pdf) and his own personal oral history (pdf) as well—both very interesting. UIS is better today because of him.  Thank you, Cullom, for being such a strong advocate and friend to UIS.

Recent UIS Awardees

William E. Winter, A Strong Advocate for the University of Illinois

William E. Winter, whom the award honors, was CEO Emeritus of the 7-Up Company and a longtime member of the University of Illinois Foundation Board of Directors. He headed the volunteer component of the University’s first major campaign in the early 1980’s.

The University of Illinois Foundation recognized his many contributions with this award named in his honer: the William E. Winter Award for Outstanding Advocate Leadership.

The purpose of the award, now in its 21st year, is to recognize individuals outside of the University structure who play active roles in securing private support for the University of Illinois.

A Brief Biography

Bill earned an A.B. in the general curriculum with a concentration in economics from UIUC in 1942. Bill is chairman emeritus and a consultant for the St. Louis, Missouri-based Seven Up Company, now a subsidiary of Cadbury Beverages, Inc.

He went to work for Seven Up in April 1946 and his career in the soft drink industry spanned 55 years. He retired in 1981. Bill has been a director for the First National Bank of St. Louis, the Centerre Bank of St. Louis, the Cardinal Ritter Institute, and the Bank Building and Equipment Corporation.

Bill has been active in community and civic organizations in the St. Louis area for many years and has been a key volunteer on the national level for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Bill became a director of the U of I Foundation in 1984 and is currently a life director. In 1990 the Foundation established the William E. Winter Award for Outstanding Advocate Leadership in Bill’s honor.