Inside Clemson

William A. (Bill) Ward, alum and Professor Emeritus of Economics – April 2, 2021

Bill Ward, 79, alum and Professor Emeritus of Economics, died April 2, 2021.

In 1989, Ward was named a Centennial Distinguished Alumnus of Clemson University where he was professor of economics for 23 years before retiring in 2013.

Ward attended Eau Claire High School in Columbia where he excelled in baseball and football. He attended Clemson on a football scholarship and was a starting halfback for Hall of Fame Coach Frank Howard who called him “pound-for-pound, the toughest player I ever coached.” He was awarded the Jacobs Trophy in 1964.

Ward received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Clemson and a Ph.D. from Michigan State University.

Before his time on the Clemson faculty, Ward spent his early career with the World Bank. In that capacity, he was the go-to guy for project assessment. His book on the subject was the leading seller from the World Bank press for more than a decade.

He worked in more than 80 countries and was an advisor to foreign governments and development institutions, including the World Bank where he was the Project Economics Expert on the Bank’s Inspection Panel. He was famous for his creativity in finding solutions to problems in which the problem itself had been misidentified.

Ward was the coauthor of many peer-reviewed articles and books, including the recent Living in the Light which describes a project that brought affordable solar electricity to 20 million off-the-grid people in Bangladesh. The methodologies he developed have become best practice for off-grid electrification economic and financial evaluations. The book was published by The World Bank six days after his death – he worked to the very end to make the world a better place for millions of people all over the world.

He is survived by his brother, James Robert (Bob) Ward; his wife of 55 years, Karen (Kaye) Jordan Ward; and his son William Jordan Ward.

His full obituary is posted online.