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AMIGOS lost a cherished member of our community, William “Bill” Arnold, on August 5, 2020 after a battle with cancer.

Bill was known for his love of people, quick wit, and charm; he thrived in his roles of loyal husband, Dad, Poppy, professor, world traveler, photographer, fly-fisherman, energy commentator, mentor and friend to so many across the globe. He was passionate about advancing opportunities for others, especially his students.

AMIGOS is deeply grateful for the decades of guidance, support, and leadership that Bill provided to this organization. To honor his memory, we have established the Bill Arnold Leadership Award to be awarded annually to an AMIGOS volunteer or project staff member who demonstrates exceptional leadership, consistent with the selfless example set by Bill and others throughout the long and continuing history of AMIGOS.

The award will provide a stipend for the recipient to pursue their education or other civic pursuits. We thank the Arnold Family, Cook Family, and many others for providing financial support for this award fund.

The 2020 Bill Arnold Leadership Award recipient will be announced shortly.

Bill’s journey with AMIGOS started in 1965. He was part of the first AMIGOS class of volunteers and joined the program from his home in Woonsocket, Rhode Island and while a student at Cornell University.

Honduras, summer 1966

Over the next three years, Bill helped launch the “youth led program” model that AMIGOS has championed for more than 50 years. In 1966, he served as the senior member of the staff team and in 1967, he served as Country Director of Guatemala.

Steve Cook and Bill Arnold, 1965

That summer, Bill met Cathy Anthony, a volunteer from Houston. They married in 1971 and their daughter Elizabeth also became an AMIGOS volunteer 30 years later. The Arnolds have been an inspirational AMIGOS family. Both Bill and Cathy served on the Board of Directors.

Bill and Cathy at the AMIGOS gala, 2007

Bill received his master’s degree in Latin American studies and became an esteemed leader in international business and government. He enjoyed a diverse career spanning senior roles in volunteer organizations, banking, government, and academia – all connected by his lifelong commitment to improving global understanding.

Bill enjoyed positions with Texas Commerce Bank, the Export-Import Bank in Washington, D.C. appointed by the Reagan-Bush administration, Royal Dutch Shell (Head of International Government Relations), and Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business (Professor in the Practice of Energy Management) where he pioneered new courses and taught more than 1,000 students over a decade.

Bill leaves behind an indelible legacy of compassion, courage, and leadership. He will be profoundly missed by his family and friends, but also by the many lives he touched around the world. His unwavering encouragement, optimism and confidence in each of us that knew him will forever be a source of strength and inspiration.

Thank you Bill for being a member of the AMIGOS family.

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