William Joseph Donovan

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See also Wikipedia's article about "William J. Donovan".

William Joseph "Wild Bill" Donovan CC 1905 Law 1908 LLD (hon. caus.) 1947 was the chief of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the forerunner of the CIA.

As an undergraduate, Donovan played football, rowed crew, and ran cross country.

At the law school, he met future president Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who would send him on wartime intelligence missions and later appoint him to the position for which he is famous. When he tried to retire, he was summoned by ex-Columbia President (and then current US President) Dwight D. Eisenhower to become ambassador to Thailand, then strategically placed next to an unstable Vietnam.

He has been awarded the Alexander Hamilton Medal, and the Alumni Athletic Award, among other university honors. He was also continuously active in university fundraising activities.

The sculpture Tight Rope Walker on Revson Plaza was donated in his honour.

Somehow, he is not the only famous Columbia alumnus to have been nicknamed "Wild Bill," the other being William Langer, Governor of and Senator from North Dakota.

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