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MSU mourns the death of former dean Dr. William 'Bill' Whitaker

Bill Whitaker Obit PictureThe Morehead State University community mourns the loss of former professor and dean of MSU's College of Business, Dr. William "Bill" Whitaker (Class of 1964), who passed away July 11, 2022. He was 78 years old.  

Born February 27, 1944, in Maysville, Kentucky, he was the son of the late William M., Jr. and Hazel Hicks Whitaker.   

Whitaker was a 1961 graduate of the Breckinridge Training School. He graduated with high distinction with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Mathematics from Morehead State University in 1964. Continuing his education at the University of Kentucky, Whitaker completed an MBA and Ph.D. in economics and business. Upon graduating cum laude in the spring of 1968, he accepted a faculty position at Florida State University in the College of Business. Throughout his 40-year career in higher education, he served as a faculty member at multiple colleges and universities.   

At MSU, Whitaker served as the vice president of academic affairs and as a professor and dean in MSU's College of Business from 1975-89. As dean, he helped expand the College of Business enrollment by more than 50%, facilitated the development of several new courses and programs, and improved student retention and advising.    

Whitaker left an indelible impression on many students and colleagues in his various roles. One of these was former MSU Professor Dr. Will McIntosh. McIntosh, a resident of San Antonio, Texas, is the global head of research for USAA Real Estate. Whitaker served as McIntosh's mentor throughout his career. To honor the impact he had on his education and career, McIntosh established a $10,000 scholarship in Whitaker's honor in 2018.   

The Whitaker family committed to growing the scholarship to the endowment level. Thanks to Bill and Patricia Whitaker's support and many family and friends, the Dr. William M. Whitaker III Scholarship Endowment is now valued at over $25,000. This endowment will be invested and scholarships will be awarded in Whitaker's memory for generations to come.   

"I am humbled by the generous donations made in my honor," Whitaker said in an interview before his passing. "I am thrilled that this financial support will help MSU students in the College of Business and Technology."  

Scholarship recipients shall be junior or senior students majoring in finance with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or above. Preference will be given to female students. The scholarship is renewable for up to one year if the student maintains a 3.0 GPA and continues to major in finance.   

He is survived by his wife, Patricia Dorton Whitaker (Class of 1978, 1983), and his five children: sons Will (Class of 1991), Rob (Class of 1991), Jim (Class of 1995) and Brandon (Class of 2003), and daughter Destinee (Class of 2000). He was preceded in death by his mother and father-in-law, Ellis and Mae Dorton, and brother-in-law, Richard L. Dorton. The Whitakers are a family of Eagles and are loyal supporters of Morehead State University.   

A celebration of life will be held on September 24, 2022, at 10 a.m. at The First Presbyterian Church in Maysville. In place of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Dr. William M. Whitaker III Scholarship Endowment. Make memorial gifts online by visiting

At Morehead State University, over 94% of our students receive some form of financial aid. The MSU Foundation is instrumental in assisting with scholarship support. The Foundation's endowment, valued at over $70 million, manages nearly 600 funds to support MSU students. As we celebrate 100 years as a public institution, the MSU Foundation is on a mission to grow the endowment to $100 million.   

If you're interested in establishing a scholarship or making a planned gift commitment, contact MSU's Office of Alumni Relations and Development at 606-783-2033, email or visit