Former Advisory Board chair William Higie dies

McDowell with Higies
McDowell (left) with "Boots" and Bill Higie

William F. Higie, chair of the Pitt-Bradford Advisory Board for 21 years, died Monday in Gibsonia.

            He served as advisory board chair from 1973 to 1995, and continued to serve as a member of the Advisory Board as chair emeritus.

            During Higie's tenure as chair, the university broke ground on four academic buildings, became a four-year, degree-granting institution and saw enrollment increase from 400 to more than 1,200 students.

            Higie joined the board in 1972 at the invitation of then-board chair Dr. Robert Bromeley. In 1993, he was elected to the University of Pittsburgh's Board of Trustees.

            Higie's tenure as chair overlapped that of Dr. Richard E. McDowell, president of Pitt-Bradford.

            “Bill shaped the Advisory Board to function and operate much like a board of trustees of a private college with committees and councils,” McDowell said. “This structure and Bill's leadership were major forces to the development of the university we see today.”

            Higie was one of the founders and served as the director and vice president of the Bradford Educational Foundation, which exclusively benefits Pitt-Bradford.

            In 1996, the campus awarded him its highest honor, the Presidential Medal of Distinction.

            A retired vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary of Forest Oil Corp., Higie served on the Forest Oil Board of Directors from 1977 to 1992 and also as managing director of the Glendorn Foundation.

            Higie was also a longtime member of the Bradford Regional Medical Center board of directors and was instrumental in the establishment of the Bradford Area United Way.

            Among his survivors are his wife, Pauline “Boots” Higie, and his son David Higie '76, a current member of the Advisory Board.