Bill Knapp was raised on a farm in southern Iowa where he learned the value of hard work and honesty. Being born just three years before the start of the Great Depression, he also learned to make do with limited resources and make the most out of every opportunity. What he never learned was the ability to say “no” when asked to help those in need.
Bill’s tenacity, work ethic, and generosity have served him well throughout his life, a life that has seen him become one of the great entrepreneurs but also one of the most respected philanthropists in the state. His legacy continues to shape the face of Iowa.
“Bill exemplifies all that the Pillar of Character Award stands for: civility, character, and leadership,” said President of Drake University Marty Martin. “From humble beginnings on the farm to serving his country and ultimately his success in the boardroom, Bill has lived a life of impact. He has devoted his all to bettering his community and is a true servant-leader.”
“The Ray Award was created to honor Iowans like Bill Knapp,” said Marta Codina, chair of The Ray Center’s National Advisory Council. “Not only did Bill share a friendship with the Ray, the legacies of these two leaders will impact Iowans for generations to come.”