By Liz Martinez, The Whetstone 

When he was only six years old, Wesley College’s new Vice President of Institutional Advancement picked up an encyclopedia.

The encyclopedia was a part of a set his parent’s gave him about the United States presidents.

Right then, Bill Pritchard’s fascination with history and politics started to grow.

“Everything takes practice, and practice makes you better,” he said. “So I practiced learning how to read with those encyclopedias.”

Pritchard, 54, smiles after he admits he can name every president in order from beginning to end. He can even recite them backwards.

Pritchard took his childhood passion with him when he headed to college where he received a bachelor’s degree in political science from St. John Fisher College in Rochester, N.Y., and a master’s degree in international studies from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va.

He joined the military as an intelligence analyst.

“I can connect everything in my life back to when I was in the Air Force,” he said. “It surprises some people when they see it on my resume.”

Pritchard met many good friends, including his husband, Michael Mooney, in 1988, with whom he’s traveled all over the world with.

“The advice we received was to travel while we’re young, while we can afford it, and while we’re healthy enough to do it,” he said.

One of Mooney’s favorite stories about traveling with Pritchard involves the night they got engaged.

“He went out of his way to propose to me in Paris at night,” he said. “It was on the overlook looking down on the Eiffel Tower lit up in all its spectacular glory.”

Several of his Wesley colleagues said Pritchard is a great addition to the school.

“Something students should know about Bill Pritchard is his ‘human-relations’ skills,” chemistry professor Dr. Malcolm D’Souza said. “He is strategic, very personable, and very approachable.”

Mooney knows better than anyone how courteous Pritchard is with people.

“He doesn’t take his relationships with people for granted,” he said. “Through his example, I learn that the definition of family is not confined to the blood running through my veins.”

Pritchard loves his job – helping raise money for the College – because it’s about people.

“I measure the good things in my life to people,” he said.

Since starting at Wesley in September, Pritchard has been trying to fundraise for the school and make connections.

“His first day of work Bill hit the ground running,” Vice President of Enrollment Management Chris Dearth said. “He understands the importance of utilizing scholarships to help offset the cost of higher education and has been working tirelessly to secure more scholarships for students.”

Prior to his arrival at Wesley, he raised money for hospitals.

He worked with Union Hospital in Elkton, Md., where he completed a $2.1 million campaign to update the hospital’s services.

“Working with the hospital has been one of my greatest accomplishments,” he said.

Provost Jeff Gibson said it’s a shame students don’t get many chances to interact with Pritchard.

“But he’s out there establishing connections with private foundations, governmental agencies, and individual donors to ensure funding that helps improve life on campus.”