Richard William “Bill” Highlander (MA ’72), a retired lieutenant colonel, was inducted into the US Army Hall of Fame this past summer. Highlander was cited for serving the public affairs field with great distinction while making lasting and significant contributions to the profession and history.
Brigadier General Malcolm Frost, the US Army Chief of Public Affairs, inducted Highlander at the awards ceremony. Frost said Highlander served the Public Affairs field with great distinction while making lasting and significant contributions to the country, profession and history.
Excerpts of the ceremony commended Highlander for “exceptional and lifelong contribution to the career field’ that was “groundbreaking, enduring, and trailblazing.”
Before Highlander’s 1984 retirement, he served as director, corporate communications for FMC Defense Systems and later as vice president of its spin-off, United Defense. His responsibilities included media relations, employee communications, marketing communications and state/local government relations.
Taking early retirement from FMC/United Defense, Highlander became vice president, public relations for Calpine, the largest independent power producer in America. Following his second retirement six years later, Highlander was named the editor of the Evergreen Times, a weekly community newspaper. He is also the author of two history books.
“I owe a lot to Grady and UGA for the start of a career and many experiences that led to the Hall of Fame recognition,” Highlander said of his honor.
While pursuing his masters in journalism at Grady College, Highlander worked at the Oconee Enterprise and was a Phi Beta Kappa.
“After a military and corporate career, I came full circle by becoming editor of the Evergreen Times, a community newspaper,” Highlander added. “Since then, I have authored or edited three books and I am continuing to write. Much thanks to Grady and UGA.”
Highlander has earned several other accolades throughout his career including the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star with V device, Bronze Star for Meritorious Service, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Gold Star, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Ranger tab, Airborne wings, Army General Staff Identification Badge and Department of Defense badge.
The U.S. Army Public Affairs Hall of Fame was established in 2000 to educate and inspire the current generation of public affairs professionals. More than 50 individuals have been inducted into the Hall of Fame for exemplary efforts in peacetime and war, including service during combat operations in World War I, World War II, Vietnam, Korea, the Cold War, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan. General Frost said all should be inspired by Colonel Highlander’s dedication and exceptional service to Public Affairs, the U.S. Army and the United States.
A photo and biography of Highlander will be displayed at the Pentagon in the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs and at the Defense Information School in Fort Meade, Maryland.