After leaving the University of Dayton more than 40 years ago to begin a successful career in radio, William “Bill” Pugh will return Sunday to receive his undergraduate degree.
Now 62, Pugh will be among nearly 1,500 undergraduates to march across the stage inside UD Arena early Sunday morning to receive their diplomas.
Pugh will be the last of six siblings who will have graduated from UD, including his famous brother Dan (Pugh) Patrick, a former ESPN Sportscenter anchor, NBC sportscaster, national radio personality and actor.
Bill, Dan and their younger brother, Dave, are known as “radio royalty” by longtime radio people in Dayton and beyond. All three worked at Dayton’s popular rock station WTUE. In 1982, Pugh was named the program director of the year by Billboard magazine while at WTUE.
The diploma is a perfect gift for his mother, Patti Pugh, on Mother’s Day.
“I’m just beside myself. He’s been promising this for years. It’s a thrill to have all of my children graduate from there,” Patti said.
Pugh left the university between his sophomore and junior year in 1974 to start a radio career in Columbus at WCOL after cutting his teeth at UD’s station WVUD.
“I started overnights at that station. We were a religious station during the day and a Rock-n-Roll station during the night,” said Pugh, who was known as “Mr. Bill” at several radio stations in major markets.
For the past 40 years, Pugh has been pushing Rock-n-Roll music across airwaves at large radio stations in Nashville, Miami, Atlanta, San Diego and San Francisco.
Sunday’s graduation will be a culmination of more than two years of class work by Pugh to earn a degree in communications.
“I can’t thank the people at UD enough. They really worked with me to make this happen,” Pugh said.
The university granted Pugh several life-experience credits toward his degree and he took several online classes from his home north of San Francisco.
“He didn’t need this for his career. It’s great that he has done this. There is no substitution for experience and what he and other UD alumni offer our university is priceless,” said Jonathan Hess, associate dean for the College of Arts and Sciences.
Pugh, who is now retired from radio, has lived with his wife Laura Pugh in California for 18 years. He finished his career at San Francisco’s WFOG-FM radion station.
He’s now an artist who has work in several major studios in the San Francisco area. His expertise is static art.
“My art has always been my way to reach some sort of balance in life. The one thing that helps keep me sane. Art is my peace,” Pugh said.
All six Pugh siblings, Mike, Bill, Dan, Dave, Ann and Mollye,will be in attendance at the graduation and all will help celebrate at Mike’s house following the event in Mason, the same Warren County city where all attended high school.
The Pugh children were able to attend UD tuition free thanks to their father, John “Jack” Pugh, who worked at UD in the computer department 12 years. He died in 1981.
“Jack would have been so proud of him,” Patti Pugh said.
Pugh said he’s always been proud to tell people he attended UD, but it’s always been in the back of head that he had not graduated.
“I can now officially say I AM UD,” he said.
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