William Ward Obituary (1942-2021) – Washington, DC

William A. “Bill” Ward
September 29, 1942 – April 2, 2021
Washington, DC – The global development community lost a leading practitioner, advisor, and teacher on April 2, 2021. Bill was born on September 29, 1942 in Lake City, SC, to Wylie and Kathleen Feagin Ward. He attended Eau Claire High School in Columbia, where he excelled in baseball and football. He attended Clemson University on a football scholarship and was a start-up assistant to Hall of Fame coach Frank Howard, who called Bill “pound-for-pound, the toughest player I’ve ever coached.” In 1964 he was awarded the Jacobs Trophy.
Dr. Ward received BA and MS degrees from Clemson and a PhD from Michigan State University. He was one of two Americans among 30 global selections for the World Bank‘s Young Professionals Program in 1970 when two competing approaches to cost-benefit analysis emerged. Mastering both approaches, he developed training materials, each of which was illustrated, one of which became the most widely taught economic analysis case study in the world from 1975-2000. His 1991 book was the bank’s best-selling title in the 1990s.
In 1989, Bill was named a Centennial Distinguished Alumnus of his beloved Clemson University, where he was an economics professor for 23 years. He accepted the Land Grant mission to serve the people of SC and ended his class with “Go out, do a good job, and remember Clemson!”
He has been a sought-after project economics and microeconomic policy teacher among staff at the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, International Finance Corporation, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN Development Program, and aid officials around the world. His methods of listening and processing information were filmed and taught to other trainers and counselors.
He has worked in more than 80 countries and has advised foreign governments and development institutions, including the World Bank, where he served as an expert on project economics on the bank’s inspection body. He was famous for his creativity in finding solutions to problems where the problem itself was misidentified.
Bill co-authored many peer-reviewed articles and books, including the recent LIVING IN THE LIGHT, which describes a project that will provide affordable solar power to 20 million off-grid people in Bangladesh. The methods he developed have become best practices for economic and financial assessments of off-grid electrification. The book was published by the World Bank six days after his death. He worked to the last to make the world a better place for millions of people around the world.
Bill was previously deceased by his parents, sister Jacqueline Wyleen Shaylor and brother Carroll Eugene Ward. He leaves behind his brother James Robert (Bob) Ward, his 55-year-old wife Karen (Kaye) Jordan Ward and his son William Jordan Ward.
Monuments can be sent to his home church, Fair Lawn United Methodist Church, 9203 Wilson Blvd, Columbia, SC 29203, or a charity of your choice.

Published by The State on August 22, 2021.

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