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Hendrix Receives Estate Gift to Fuel Innovation

Dr. William Roberts’ bequest to support College’s residential liberal arts mission

CONWAY, Ark. (May 29, 2024) — Hendrix College has received a $4.6 million bequest from the estate of forward-thinking alumnus, former board member, and loyal supporter, the late Dr. William “Bill” Roberts ’65 of Conway.

The bequest — one of the largest estate gifts in Hendrix’s history — will be used to invest in new academic and co-curricular initiatives that support the College’s residential liberal arts mission through the previously established Dr. William “Bill” Roberts Innovation Endowment Fund.

Photos of Bill Roberts '65 as a Hendrix student (left) and later in life (right).A longtime Hendrix donor, Roberts used this bequest to further reflect his passion for the College and the education he received, which prepared him for a career as a physician and a life of engaged citizenship.

After Hendrix, Roberts attended the University of Arkansas at Little Rock for Medical Sciences School of Medicine, where he became licensed as a Doctor of Internal Medicine and received a Fellow in Cardiology certificate. He continued his medical career in the U.S. Army and received the Department of Defense Joint Service Commendation Medal in 1972 for meritorious service as a medical officer.

In 1974, Roberts opened his private practice in Conway, faithfully serving Conway area residents and generously supporting many charitable organizations in the community for nearly a half century. A Hendrix College Board of Trustees member for 12 years, Roberts advised pre-med students at Hendrix and served in a volunteer supervisory role for health care on campus for many years.

“Bill Roberts believed deeply in the residential liberal arts experience at Hendrix,” said Hendrix President Karen Petersen. “Through his philanthropy and service, he made sure that experience would continue to change the lives of future students.

“This latest expression of his generosity comes at a critical moment as we begin a new strategic planning process and make plans to celebrate the College’s sesquicentennial in 2026,” she said.

Petersen will lead efforts to identify initiatives suitable for investment from the fund’s annual proceeds. New initiatives supported by the Roberts Innovation Fund are intended to become self-sustaining within three years and will be reviewed annually by the Board of Trustees to measure their success based on increased enrollment and revenue growth.

“With the Roberts Innovation Fund, we can support bold and creative ideas that build on our tradition of excellence and further enhance the academic and student life experience at Hendrix,” said Petersen. “I cannot think of a more appropriate way to honor one of our most loyal supporters than to connect his legacy to programs that ensure Hendrix thrives for the next 150 years.”

The Roberts bequest underscores the potential of estate planning to create lasting impact, said Hendrix Vice President for Advancement Dr. Meredith Brunen.

“We are deeply grateful to Dr. Roberts for his vision, commitment to the College, and incredible generosity,” said Brunen. “This inspirational gift is a shining example of what is possible when individuals are forward-thinking and passionate about making a difference long after they are gone.”

Hendrix supporters and friends of Dr. Roberts may make gifts to the Roberts Innovation Fund by contacting the Office of Development at or 501-450-1223. For more information on planned giving, visit

About Hendrix College

Founded in 1876, Hendrix College is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges and celebrated among the country’s leading liberal arts colleges for academic quality, engaged learning opportunities and career preparation, vibrant campus life, and value. The Hendrix College Warriors compete in 21 NCAA Division III sports. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. Learn more at

“… Through engagement that links the classroom with the world, and a commitment to diversity, inclusion, justice, and sustainable living, the Hendrix community inspires students to lead lives of accomplishment, integrity, service, and joy.” —Hendrix College Statement of Purpose