Edwards, Bill -Legend

Bill Edwards Plaque
This plaque of “William Davidson Edwards” was dedicated
with the book drop at E. H. Little Library. The picture is actually of a Navy buddy of Mike Myers. His name is John Speer.

William “Bill” Davidson Edwards, Class of 1953, was a fictional alumnus of Davidson College, created by Mike Myers, also Class of 1953. As the Alumni Secretary of the Class of 1953, Myers would gather news from fellow classmates to put in the “Class Notes” section of the Davidson College Bulletin. As a joke, Myers created a fictitious character, Bill Edwards. Periodically, he would update his fellow classmates on the dramatic adventures and stories of “good ole Bill” in the class notes.

Bill Edward's grave
Tombstone of Bill Edwards, located in Hobart Park, Davidson

Bill was born in 1931, and attended Davidson for four years, graduating in 1953 with his classmates. He first appeared in the October 1963 issue of the Davidson College Bulletin, as having “put his savings into a ‘valueless chunk of land near Metuchen, N. J. airport with no roads within miles.’ No reason; he’s just always wanted to own some land…” Throughout several class notes, it is reported that Bill Edwards was elected to the board of a bank, met with famous alumni, fathered triplets (whose names change with each report), and traveled to Singapore and Hong Kong to work on his “zero gravity platform.” Bill Edwards passed away in the March 1973 class notes. The details were unclear, but the suspicious death may have been the result of his investigations into the Metuchen drug trade that sent him to Hong Kong.

That was the last report in the class notes of Bill Edwards. Some people caught on to the joke, while others seriously believed that Bill existed for a long time. The Class of 1953, however, continued to keep his legacy alive. During an October 1974 class reunion at Homecoming, the Class of 1953 returned to campus to ensure that the William Davidson Edwards Memorial Book Drop was properly dedicated as an addition to the new E. H. Little Library. Bill made national news, when the book drop dedication and corresponding fund-raising by the Class of 1953 was reported by the Associated Press.

Mike Myers
Mike Myers ’53, creator of Bill Edwards, at the dedication of the Bill Edwards Memorial Bookdrop. [1974]

During another reunion in April 1978, Bill Edwards was put to rest “at sea,” in Lake Norman. There was a ceremony or party before his sea voyage. There are reports that when Bill was pushed into the water, his casket did not sink. Apparently, some strategically-placed gunshots and the resulting bullet holes solved that problem.

Additionally, in 1988 the class donated a stained-glass window to the right of the main entrance of the Lula Bell Houston Laundry building. The translation of the text is, “If you raise crows, they’ll peck your eyes out.” It was paid for by selling plates with the same graphic for one for three dollars or two for eight dollars. In 1993, a grave marker was placed in Hobart Park at Davidson College, and can still be seen there today. In the Winter 1994 issue of the Davidson Journal, despite the lack of a varsity fencing program at Davidson College, the Class of 1953 announced the William Davidson Edwards Fencing Scholarship, to be awarded to the freshman, who “achieved mediocrity at an early age.”

Creator Mike Meyers kept Bill Edwards and the idea of Bill Edwards alive for Davidson College. Myers passed away on December 3, 2006 at the age of 75. Bill Edwards’s signature appeared numerous times in the memorial book at the church service of Mike Myers. Bill Edwards is a legend that lives on at Davidson through his story and the various memorials that are scattered around campus.

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Bill Edwards – Works Cited

“Alive or Dead?” The Richmond News Leader 9 Nov. 1974: 14.

“Bill Edwards Legend Makes National News.” Davidson Update Nov. 1974: 4-5.

“The Bill Edwards Saga Continues…” Davidson Journal Winter 1994: 76.

Davidson College. Quips ‘N Cranks. Vol. 55 Davidson: Davidson College, 1953.

“Davidsonian a Hoax: Exit Bill Edwards.” The Charlotte News 5 Nov. 1974: 13A.

Kelley, Pam. “Bill Edwards – The Legend Lives! (Though He Didn’t).” Charlotte Observer 24 Apr. 1988: 1C, 6C.

Lione, Louise Hickman. “Bill Was a Fable in His Own Time.” Charlotte Observer 16 Apr. 1978: A.

“Long Live Bill Edwards.” New York Times 10 Nov. 1974: 4.8.

Myers, Mike G. “Class Notes: 1953.” Davidson College Bulletin Oct. 1963: 28.

Myers, Mike G. “Class Notes: 1953.” Davidson College Bulletin July 1964: 45.

Myers, Mike G. “Class Notes: 1953.” Davidson College Bulletin Oct. 1965: A-18.

Myers, Mike G. “Class Notes: 1953.” Davidson College Bulletin June 1966: A-14.

Myers, Mike G. “Class Notes: 1953.” Davidson College Bulletin May 1969: 13.

Myers, Mike G. “Class Notes: 1953.” Davidson Update Feb. 1971: 34.

Myers, Mike G. “Class Notes: 1953.” Davidson Update Oct. 1972: 18.

Myers, Mike G. “Class Notes: 1953.” Davidson Update Mar. 1973: 18-19.

“Spring Convocation and Alumni Weekend.” Davidson Update May-June 1978: 11.

Author: Mark Grotjohn
Date: May 31, 2007

Cite as: Grotjohn, Mark. “Bill Edwards ” Davidson Encyclopedia,
31 May 2007 <https://davidsonarchivesandspecialcollections.org/archives/encyclopedia/the-legend-of-bill-edwards/>

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