Hazel McLeod Wills

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Time Period

1910-1940

Notable Facts

Held leadership positions in many Vermont organizations and colleges, including Bennington College and the University of Vermont. Served in the Vermont Senate for one term. President of the Vermont Chapter of the American Association of University Women from 1937-1941 and 1953-1955. Wife of Vermont State Governor William Wills (1941-1945).

Personal Information

Date of Birth

1886

Date of Death

1969

Primary Residence

Bennington

Ethnicity

Caucasian

Historical Significance

Hazel McLeod Wills was born in Goldsboro, North Carolina in 1886. She moved to Vermont when she was two years old. After attending Bennington High School, she went to Middlebury College where she was a 1909 Phi Beta Kappa graduate. She received an honorary M.A. degree from Middlebury in 1942. She supported the founding of Bennington College and served as a trustee to the school from 1946 to 1953. Wills was also a trustee at the University of Vermont for several years and was also awarded an honorary Ph.D. degree from UVM.

Hazel McLeod married William Wills in 1914. William Wills served as Governor of Vermont from 1941 to 1945. Together, they had one daughter, Annie Wills Pike. Wills was involved in numerous organizations including the United Counseling Service Board of Directors, the Vermont Association for the Crippled, the Vermont Council on World Affairs, the Vermont Historical Society, the Elizabeth Lund Home, and the Eastern Star. She also served as a director of Station WRY in Schenectady, New York. From 1937 to 1941 and from 1953 to 1955, Wills served as the state president of the American Association of University Women. William Wills died in 1946, but Hazel remained active in Republican Politics and the Republican Women's Club in Bennington County. In 1960, she was persuaded to run for the Vermont Senate, and she served one term. Wills also enjoyed writing and was the author of "Bill Wills & Co.", along with a weekly column in the Bennington Banner. At her death in 1969, the AAUW chapter of Vermont was given money to establish a scholarship in her name.

Organizations or Movements

  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Middlebury College
  • Bennington College Trustee
  • University of Vermont Trustee
  • United Counseling Service Board of Directors
  • Vermont Association for the Crippled
  • Vermont Council on World Affairs
  • Vermont Historical Society
  • Elizabeth Lund Home
  • The Eastern Star
  • Republican Party
  • American Association of University Women of Vermont
  • Bennington County Republican Women's Club

Occupations

  • State president of the American Association of University Women
  • First Lady of Vermont
  • Trustee at Bennington College and the University of Vermont
  • Helped to organize the United Counseling Service Board of Directors
  • President of the Vermont Association for the Crippled
  • Member of the Vermont Council on World Affairs, the Vermont Historical Society, the Elizabeth Lund Home, and the Eastern Star
  • Director of Station WRY in Schenectady, New York
  • Vermont State Senator (1960)
  • Author of Bill Wills & Co
  • Weekly column writer for the Bennington Banner

Education

  • Bennington High School
  • Middlebury College (1909)
  • Honorary M.A. degree from Middlebury College (1942)
  • Honorary Ph.D. degree from UVM

Additional Information (Bibliography)

  • Elizabeth Lund Home Link

  • American Association of University Women Link

  • Those Indomitable Vermont Women

  • AAUW in Vermont Link