William "Weegee" Sawyers is the proud recipient of the West Virginia State University 2023 Alumnus of the Year. He began his undergraduate studies at WVSU in 1971 and graduated in 1974 with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. He began his career as an Adult Probation Officer in Columbus, Ohio, until he moved to Houston, Texas in 1980. In Houston, William became a State Parole Officer and later a County Juvenile Probation Officer. He remained in the Criminal Justice field for 23 years, where he gained extensive knowledge of the Courts and Penal system. In 1997, William ventured into the world of Finance. He became an Investment advisor with Nationwide Retirement Solutions, specializing in retirement planning. After a very successful career as a Program director with Nationwide, William retired in 2016.


William has always been passionate about WVSU. In 1975, he became President of his Columbus, Ohio Alumni Chapter. After moving to Houston, he charted a WVSU Alumni Chapter and became the chapter's first President, then Vice President, and later Treasurer. He currently serves on the WVSU Foundation Board and sits on the Finance and Audit Committee, where his investment experience and knowledge can be fully utilized. 


In an ongoing effort to benefit the Community and the University, William saw a need to create the WVSUNAA Institutional Support Fund. He also established a reunion for two consecutive years for all who attended the Institute Elementary School, which was located on the WVSU campus but was open to the community. 


William has always been enthusiastic about the prospect of being able to recruit young people to attend WVSU. He speaks with great pride about the Professors and how they have a nurturing spirit that has been shown at WVSU and most HBCUs. His joy has always been supporting and guiding our youth. This joy began as a child when he attended a grant-funded recreational program for the children of the community that was operated by WVSU. The program offered sports such as baseball, tennis, basketball, and swimming. Coach Grant Gray, a tenured coach at WVSU, supervised the program at the time William attended. In an effort to continue Coach Grant Gray's legacy, William and his wife, YeVonne, created the Coach Grant S. Gray and William "Weegee" Sawyers Summer Youth Program in 2015, where it continues yearly through the Athletic Department. 



William "Weegee" Sawyers, '74