DBU Honors the Life of President Emeritus, Dr. William E. "Bill" Thorn

Dr. William E. "Bill" Thorn 1923-2020

Dr. William E. “Bill” Thorn, President Emeritus of Dallas Baptist University, recently passed away on June 22 at the age of 97. A native of Oklahoma who was drafted into the U.S. Navy during World War II, Bill later became a graduate and distinguished alumnus of Hardin-Simmons University and also completed a Bachelor of Divinity degree at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He held several pastorates in Texas, including First Baptist Church of Bruceville and Calvary Baptist Church in Lubbock, as well as Metropolitan Baptist Church in Wichita, Kansas.

Bill served as the third president of Dallas Baptist College from 1975-79. He was appointed President Emeritus after the school attained university status and later served on the Board of Trustees. An author of more than 20 books, he was a popular public speaker and also provided leadership to the Baptist General Convention of Texas as Vice President.

“Dr. Thorn served as a true servant leader and a great role model to all of us who are younger,” said Dr. Gary Cook, current Chancellor and former President of DBU. “All of us at DBU are indebted to him for his faithfulness in keeping DBU anchored and stable during some very difficult days.”

Bill was married to Jessie D. Thorn (’80), a Distinguished Alumnus of DBU, who passed away in 2015. They have four daughters from their 68 years of marriage and were beloved grandparents and great-grandparents.

“Everyone loved Dr. Thorn,” said Dr. Adam C. Wright, DBU President. “Although I only had the honor of meeting Dr. Thorn on a handful of occasions, he was one of those individuals that you just felt like you knew for a lifetime after one encounter. As a University, we want to remember and pray for the Thorn Family during this season of loss and celebrate with them and so many others this incredible servant who lived a wonderful life of faith.”

In lieu of flowers, the family asked that gifts be made to DBU’s established Dr. W. E. Thorn Endowed Scholarship Fund. 

Written by Dr. Michael Whiting

Dr. Michael Whiting is the Director of Written Content in University Communications at Dallas Baptist University.