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William H. Rodgers, III

Died: March 19, 2009

Will Rodgers came to Yale from Allentown High School in Pennsylvania. Freshman year he roomed in Farnam with Bob Bartlett and Kent Rigsby. He later roomed with Kent Rigsby and John Williams in Saybrook. In the 35th Reunion Class Directory he wrote: “We were a real grind room, but we had good talks and good fun together and shared an interest in classical music.” He received a B.S. as an industrial administration major and was on the Dean’s List or a Ranking Scholar each year. He won the German Embassy Book Prize. He was captain of the 150 pound Varsity Crew. After Yale he got an M.S. degree from the MIT Sloan School of Management and a D.B.A. from the Harvard Business School.

Will was principal and founder of Hamilton Consultants, a marketing and strategy consulting services firm in Cambridge, Massachusetts which specialized in the information industry (telecommunications, media, software, information services, and publishing), and a variety of distribution-intensive industries, including financial services, automotive, building products and customer durables. The firm maintained close ties with some of the leading academics in the marketing field at top business schools in the U.S.A. and Europe. Will personally led projects in business strategy, marketing, auditing, branding, pricing, acquisition due diligence, and new business development. Prior to founding Hamilton, Mr. Rodgers served as senior vice president with The MAC Group, a global strategy consultancy. Prior to MAC, he worked for Procter and Gamble and a start up consumer electronics company.

He belonged to the American Marketing Association, the Cambridge Boat Club, and the Yale Club of New York. Will loved the outdoors and enjoyed his summer cottage on Queens Lake with his family, relatives, and friends. He was also a skiing, rowing, and hiking enthusiast.

In our 25th Reunion Class Book he wrote: “I’ve been places and seen things I thought I would never see and learned the hard lessons (hopefully) about the responsibilities of marriage, parenting and managing other people. I’ve grown older, and not necessarily wiser, but certainly more battle scarred. I’ve had the joys of a caring wife and three children I am tremendously fond of, and the frustrations of a business career that has had numerous ups and downs, creation and failure; promotion to higher positions and ultimate firing. What I’ve learned the most about perhaps in all those years is a relearning of lessons from crew and academic work — keep plugging, keep going, bad days will ultimately turn to bright ones.”

A classmate wrote: “Will will be most missed by those of us who rowed with him on the lightweight crew and raised funds together in recent years for our Yale Alumni Fund. Will, living in the Boston area, came annually to most Yale Crew Dinners at The Yale Club of New York. In recent years he attended our New York based Alumni Fund dinners and volunteered to host phonathons in the Boston area for our class, always leading the way with his college, Saybrook.”

Will died after a long illness, on Thursday, March 19, 2009, in his home in Charlestown, MA. He was the beloved husband of Christine (Johnsen) Rodgers whom he had married 8/11/94. He was also survived by his sons, John and Daniel; daughter Elizabeth, wife of Scott Brenner, step-daughter Samantha Johnsen Pitchell; and three grandchildren.

Robert Sullivan remembers:

For years Will phoned, trying to persuade me to donate to the alumni fund; but I resisted, explaining that I knew of other organizations more worthy in my opinion. Finally, at his thoughtful and gentle suggestion, I made a small donation each year to maintain good class statistics. We had several very enjoyable discussions on a variety of subjects, including some personal evolutions and discoveries. Will was a bright but modest, thoughtful, curious fellow I respected a great deal. Quiet generally, not a speck of excessive pride or need, guileless, very good company. Others I would include in that group from our class are John Eggleston, Mike Patrick, Tom Rink, and Charlie Skubas, all different sorts of fellows but sharing these same qualities of personal honesty and respect, good natured capable fellows.

Kent Rigsby remembers:

I think my most cherished recollection from Yale is of Will Rodgers; I hope others value his memory as much as I do. Will was one of my roommates for all four years. From day one, he was a stand-up guy who could be counted on — level-headed, generous, and good-humored. He is greatly missed