Chairman of the Quinnipiac Board of Trustees to be inducted into Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans

April 04, 2019

William Weldon smiles while wearing a suit.

William C. Weldon '71, chairman of the Board of Trustees at Quinnipiac and retired chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson, will be formally inducted into the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, at the 72nd Horatio Alger Award Induction Ceremonies on April 4-6 in Washington, D.C.

The Horatio Alger Association is a nonprofit educational organization that honors the achievements of outstanding individuals and encourages young people to pursue their dreams through higher education.

Weldon joins 12 other exceptional business, civic and cultural leaders from across North America in receiving the honor for 2019. For more than 70 years, the Alger award has been annually bestowed upon esteemed individuals who have succeeded despite facing adversities, and who have remained committed to higher education and charitable endeavors throughout their lives.

"Like many Horatio Alger scholars, I understand tragedy and realize the strength and fortitude that is necessary to get through the most trying of times," Weldon said.

"I have made it my lifelong mission to create a family environment as part of my work and philanthropic endeavors. I'm honored to be welcomed into the Horatio Alger Association, and I look forward to serving as a trusted confidant for scholars as they navigate their futures."

Weldon grew up in a small flat in Brooklyn, New York, with his parents and sister. Throughout his childhood, he witnessed unwavering resiliency in the face of great setbacks exhibited by his parents, while also experiencing real pain. His father died at a young age, and after this loss, his mother struggled. Though never encouraged to pursue academics, Weldon recognized the value of hard work and became his own source of motivation. He received a partial scholarship to attend Quinnipiac, working multiple jobs to pay for the remainder of his tuition and support himself.

Following graduation, Weldon began his lifelong career with Johnson & Johnson. In 1971, he was hired as an entry-level sales representative and rapidly rose through the ranks of the company, serving in several sales, marketing and international management positions before becoming president of Ethicon Endo-Surgery at Johnson & Johnson in 1992 and later company group chairman in 1994. He was appointed to the executive committee as worldwide chairman of the Pharmaceuticals Group in 1998 before being named chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson in 2002. In the company's then 116-year history, only five individuals had held that role. During his successful tenure, Weldon strategically led Johnson & Johnson through the 2008 recession, ensuring the company was well-positioned for future growth when he retired in 2012.

"Bill's story is one to which many of our scholars can relate – one parent gone too soon and another struggling with addiction," said Matthew Rose, president of the Horatio Alger Association and 2013 Horatio Alger Award recipient.

"He rose above these challenges by developing a strong work ethic and securing his own personal and professional success. He embodies the qualities of perseverance, integrity and excellence that we honor at the association, and we are privileged to welcome him as a 2019 member."

As chairman of the Board of Trustees at Quinnipiac, Weldon has been a pivotal and dedicated force in shaping the university’s future strategy and success.

His steadfast commitment to helping improve the quality of life for veterans with physical and mental disabilities led to the university's establishment of the Weldon Chair in Rehabilitation Medicine at its medical school.

He also supports the Mountain Mission School in Virginia, a unique educational institution that provides refuge, resources and relief to children in need. Weldon previously served four years as chairman for the CEO Roundtable on Cancer, where he worked closely with President George H.W. Bush and other corporate leaders.

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