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November 14, 2018

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Preview Entry
November 14, 2018

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 Memories & Condolences
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July 1, 2018
Dear Susan, Anne, Jim and family: I send my deepest condolences during such a sad time. My heart goes out to each of you, and you'll be remembered in my prayers. I have such fond childhood memories with our dear next door neighbors that have lasted a lifetime, and I will be sending positive thoughts of strength and comfort your way. With love, Beth (Poffenbaugh) Avila
June 26, 2018
I am forever indebted to Bill for Chairing the search committee when I was hired to Chair the HCRD department in 2002. Dr. Flinn was a valued colleague and contributed to our department in so many unique ways. He and Susan were gracious hosts to many events in their home over a number of years. We are glad to be able to call him a valued colleague and friend. Best wishes to Susan and family in this time of loss.
Bob and Pam Birkenholz
June 22, 2018
My sympathy to all the Flinn family. He was definitely a special character. How appropriate to have one last party in his memory. Oh the stories. Sandy Shepler
June 19, 2018
Bill Flinn was a great guy who with humility and humor accomplished many things. His family roots were deep and wide, and especially well reflected in his children, Anne and Jim, and beautiful wife, Susan. Bill's commitment to his graduate students knew no bounds. Hid academic work in the international arena ranged widely and was important. John Lombardi once noted that many academics have only one good research idea (reflected in a dissertation) in a career, but Bill generated idea upon new idea through his career in all its iterations. For a "farm boy" from Piqua, Bill did a lot of things and covered a lot of territory in one lifetime.

Bill and I met in 1977 as partners on a USAID consulting project. Almost immediately fast friends, I gave him my strong support when Ohio State nominated him for the MUCIA (Big Ten international consortium) executive director position. My first startled glimpse of Bill's audacity came in his interview for that position with the university presidents. One president challenged Bill "to make the consortium great," to which Bill calmly replied, "I can make this consortium great, but not if you keep sending your deadwood and fossils to consortium projects."

I believe that statement began a unique dialogue between Bill and the presidents that continued throughout his tenure. He received especially strong support from Stan Ikenberry (Illinois), John DiBiaggio (Michigan State), Jim Freedman (Iowa), and Nils Hasselmo (Minnesota) but also especially Ed Jennings and Gordon Gee (Ohio State). Board members also strongly supported Bill's leadership--Bry Kearl and Peter Dorner (Wisconsin), Duane Spriesterbach (Iowa), Mort Wier (Illinois) and Art Adams and Francille Firebaugh (Ohio State). Bill's intuitive sense of interacting with both presidents and board members--individuals and groups that could be very "prickly"--was masterful.

For me personally Bill was a friend, colleague, mentor and leader. We often discussed strategy at great length, and Bill's skill at finding "indirect routes" to reach goals was very skillful and almost always effective. He provided many learning opportunities and examples for me. No doubt, all will remember Bill's one-liner humor, which some days sent me home with sore ribs from laughing so hard! We also often worked in somewhat unusual settings--not infrequently we wrote letters, proposals or whatever on the Varsity Club's white paper placements, returning these draft documents to the office late in the afternoon.

Bill success as MUCIA executive director were numerous, but one accomplishment was foundational. Soon after taking over, Bill persuaded the presidents to drop the policy of working only with the Federal government. (Their view was "Federal staff understand us, and Federal funds are safe funds.") Bill's view was that "the world works on contracts, and, for the most part, those contracts are honored." Access to the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, other agencies and host country funding was at the heart of MUCIA's success in the 1980's and 1990's. Bill, Sid Stafford and I made a single trip through Asia signing nearly $150 million dollars in contracts--none with the Federal government. These were the peak years of MUCIA's success around the world, and Bill led it every step of the way.

The presidents moved the consortium to Michigan State in 2001, signaling a downgrading of the consortium's influence within the Big Ten university group. Bill, however, readily readjusted his focus to the College of Agriculture at Ohio State and continued to generate new ideas in international programs, teaching and research. I left Ohio State at that time, moving to Malaysia to direct its Fulbright program. For the following 6 years I had many opportunities to apply and test what I had learned from Bill. Although I had success in my work in Malaysia, I never felt I matched the intuitive leadership skills that Bill practiced--intuitively--every day!

It's time to say, "Bill, job well done, my friend. May you rest in peace always.

Don McCloud