Andrew Loehman

Dr. William R. Engvall ’55 Distinguished Alumnus

by Miranda Bradley

When this year’s Distinguished Alumnus recipient, Dr. Bill Engvall ’55, was told he would be honored with the award, he knew he was right to listen to his mother all those years ago.

The well-respected family medicine practitioner and anesthesiologist admits it’s usually not a good idea for children to follow their parents’ plan for their career path. “I always tell people not to let their parents tell them what to be when they grow up,” he said. “But for me, I’m glad I followed my mother’s advice.” His mother, a nurse, thought doctors were “the absolute best things there were,” he said. So, she encouraged her son to make that his profession. Bill never looked back.

“I never imagined myself as anything else,” he said. “Since I was a child, I knew I was going to be a doctor.”

Bill Engvall, chemistry major at Southwestern University, Class of 1955, not only became a doctor, but he became the kind of doctor that patients repeatedly requested and medical students loved as a teacher. He earned his medical degree from the University of Texas at Galveston, and then proceeded to hold appointments with the United States Public Health Service, the University of Texas Health Science Center in Dallas, Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Scott & White Hospital in Temple and Texas A & M University College of Medicine. He is also a member of the American Board of Anesthesiologists.

Before his family medicine career was over, he was averaging 175 deliveries each year, evidence of just how sought-after he was. Just three years ago, at the height of his anesthesiology career, however, Bill chose to retire.

“I wanted to go out when people still wanted me around,” he said, “instead of when they were begging me to go.” Retirement is a relative term, however. Especially when it is connected to a man of such drive. Bill has served in almost every possible volunteer role at Southwestern, including Class Agent and 50th Reunion Chair.

“I don’t look at my serving Southwestern in those capacities as any sacrifice,” he said. “My time at the University was four of the best years of my life, and I’m proud that I am able to give back in any way.”

Honored by the place he has held in such great esteem, Bill says he is “totally humbled.” The father of four was a little nervous, though, about standing up to receive his award. One thing was for certain—he had to include a very special thank you as part of his acceptance speech. “My mother,” he said. “I’m sure she would have been happy for me.”

Miranda Bradley is a part-time editor at Austin Family Magazine and is author of the book, My Cup Runneth Over, Now How Do I Clean Up the Mess?. She and her family live in Georgetown.