Mary Davis
CEO of Special Olympics International

As Bill Alford steps down from his position as Vice Dean for the Graduate Program and International Legal Studies at Harvard Law School after 18 years, I wanted to take the time to acknowledge the incredible work he has been doing in the area of disability and justice and rights for all citizens.

He is renowned for his work at Harvard Law School, helping to transform its international programs, expanding the curriculum, establishing international exchange programs and opening the doors of Harvard to the best, the brightest and the most diverse range of law students. He had a great talent for knowing and doing what was right, and this was very evident in his drive and ambition to admit students irrespective of financial need and career goals, while also awarding financial aid by developing an innovative matching gift program with the help of friends and donors.

Bill may be less well known for his role as an advocate, a social activist and the lead director of Special Olympics, but his influence has been as mighty as his work with the Law School. Bill always sees ability not disability and believes in justice. As lead director, he has guided the organization together with our Chairman, Tim Shriver, and the Board and has strongly advocated for the rights of people with intellectual disabilities.

His work with us is always grounded in the belief that through sport, the athletes of Special Olympics can realize their skills and talents and excel to become the leaders and teachers of inclusion.

His deep international experience has helped us particularly with the development and expansion of our Programs in East Asia. His commitment to China and his great generosity were borne out when in 2019 he was awarded the annual Li Buyun Prize by the Shanghai Institute of Finance and Law and he donated his prize to the Special Olympics Program in China.

I also recall Bill leaping into the freezing cold waters of Austria in March 2017 to raise funds for our World Winter Games!

The athletes of Special Olympics and I are incredibly grateful to Bill for his commitment, contribution, warmth and tenacity and for his leadership of so many aspects of our programs, including more recently, our diversity and inclusion taskforce, which he leads with our Chief Legal Officer, Angela Ciccolo.

On a personal note, I consider it a gift, a blessing and an honor to have Bill by my side with his wisdom, sound advice, great judgement and gentle but highly effective nature, and I look forward to many more years of working closely and collaborating with him on the many strategies that will drive forward our Revolution that is INCLUSION.

Thank you Bill and very best wishes as you step away from your role as Vice Dean for the Graduate Program and International Legal Studies at Harvard Law School.