Texas Tech University

Impactful Individual:William P. Dukes

After fighting in World War II and retiring from the Marine Corps, William P. Bill Dukes went on to teach at Rawls College for over 45 years.

Rawls College  |  April 25, 2023

As Texas Tech University celebrates its centennial year in 2023, the Jerry S. Rawls College of Business will highlight impactful individuals from years past. While each person be it as a student, alumni, friend, faculty or staff member may have impacted the college or their industry differently, one thing will always be constant: they are all part of the Rawls College legacy.

The late William P. "Bill" Dukes was an American World War II hero and distinguished finance professor of more than 45 years at Texas Tech University.

Graduating No. 1 in his class, Dukes entered the Marines as a second lieutenant. Throughout his military career, Dukes completed numerous assignments around the world and received many honors for his distinguished service. While in Japan, Dukes served as the commanding officer of the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines Division, and while stationed at Marine Headquarters, he coordinated a $200 million budget for ammunition and equipment.

Dukes received combat decorations in 1943 and 1944 when he piloted some of the first flights to Bougainville, near Guadalcanal. Additionally, he was awarded two Distinguished Flying Cross medals and seven Air Medals, among other military honors, for his service in the South Pacific.

Dukes served as a professor of naval science while commanding an ROTC unit at Cornell University and working on his doctorate. He earned a bachelor's degree in military science from the University of Maryland in 1953, an MBA in finance from the University of Michigan in 1958 and a PhD in business and finance from Cornell in 1968. He retired from the Marines as a colonel and was later promoted to the rank of general.

Immediately after retiring from the Marine Corps, Dukes began a distinguished academic career at Rawls College, where he taught and mentored thousands of students over 45 years. During his tenure with the college, Dukes received more than 15 awards for excellence in teaching and research including the inaugural Outstanding Educator Award from the Southwestern Finance Association and the President's Academic Achievement Award - one of Texas Tech's highest honors for a faculty member. In 2007, he was named the James E. and Elizabeth F. Sowell Professor of Finance. Dukes retired from Rawls College in 2013, and upon his passing in 2015, the William P. Dukes Scholarship Endowment was created in his honor.

For more information on the impact of Rawls College, please visit the centennial exhibit at the Texas Tech Museum.