UNIVERSITY, Miss. -- Five individuals are honored Oct. 27 with The University of Mississippi Alumni Association's highest recognition: induction into the Alumni Hall of Fame.
William G. Yates Jr., a native of Philadelphia, Miss., received an ROTC commission at Ole Miss and entered active duty in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers immediately following his 1965 graduation. He served in Germany and attained the rank of captain and Engineering Plans and Services Division chief at the U.S. Army's largest NATO training center. Yates also received the U.S. Army Commendation Medal.
Afterwards, he began managing W.G. Yates & Sons Construction Co., which he had founded with his father. The company now has more than 2,000 employees, making it one of the South's largest contractors. Yates Construction has been listed in Engineering News Record's Top 400 Construction Companies for nine years and The Yates Companies Inc. was ranked in the top 50 in the recent Engineering News Record's Top 400 U.S. Contractors.
The "Mississippi Construction Man of the Year" in 1991, Yates served as president of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Mississippi and director of the national organization. The Ole Miss Engineer Alumni Chapter selected him for its 1992 Engineer of Distinction Award.
The businessman is a member of the Woods and Lamar orders at Ole Miss and serves as a board member for the University Foundation. Yates was a director of the Mississippi Economic Council and Philadelphia-Neshoba County Chamber of Commerce. In 1998, Neshoba County named him Citizen of the Year. He has received the Boy Scout Silver Beaver Award and serves on the executive board of the Choctaw Area Council, Boy Scouts of America. Yates is a board member of the United Methodist Hour, Mississippi Partnership for Economic Development and the Thalia Mara Foundation.
He and his wife, Nancy, have two children, William G. Yates III and Carolyn G. Yates.
Nondenominational Paris-Yates Chapel serves as a quiet place of reflection for Ole Miss students, faculty, and staff. Without the generosity of so very many, this beautiful nondenominational chapel in the heart of the Oxford campus would not have existed and could not have offered its comfort to the grieving.
For the UM Foundation, the chapel was "a labor of love," said Don Frugé, foundation president and CEO. &qout;Everything about the chapel is a story," he said. It started to become reality with Henry and Rose Paris, their family, and especially their son Lee. The chapel idea goes all the way back to Chancellor J.D. Williams, but Frugé credits Chancellor Robert C. Khayat for his commitment to seeing it through.
The Paris's major gift is in thanksgiving for their parents and their children, Lisa and Lee Paris, Irma and Rusty Harlow, and Rachel and Ken Causey.
The Yates family also agreed to assist financially in a major way, and Bill Yates's company actually built the chapel. They expressed their thanks for Bill and Nancy Yates, William and Tara Yates, and Carolyn Yates.