The late Rev. Dr. William G. Bodamer Jr. is being recognized posthumously for his contributions to the Big Blue men’s soccer program. Instrumental in starting the men’s soccer program, he served as head coach from 1986-91. He currently ranks second in the Big Blue record book for career coaching wins with a career record of 37-63-3 (.373).
Bodamer joined the Millikin staff in 1965 as chaplain and assistant professor of religion. He served the university in many roles, including chairman of the religion department for much of his career. He was named Millikin's first Griswold Distinguished Professor of Religion in 1985 and Distinguished Faculty Lecturer in 1987. In 2003, he received the Millikin Medallion Society Award for his contributions and service to the university.
Though he retired from full-time teaching in 1997, Bodamer continued to serve the university as the first director of Pilling Chapel from 1997 to 2003. He frequently was a featured speaker at the university’s baccalaureate ceremony and was a member of the Millikin Quarterback Club and Millikin Associates. Additionally, he worked as a consultant and evaluator for the North Central Association of Universities and was a guest scholar at the Center of Asian Studies at the University of Illinois.
Bodamer died Sept. 27, 2015, at age 83. His impact on Millikin is perhaps best summed up in this excerpt from his obituary: “In all his pursuits, he was known for exemplifying excellence and integrity and a deep caring for his students and colleagues. His distinguished career at Millikin has been characterized by his academic, pedagogical, scholarly, professional and collegial pursuits on behalf of the university.”
Bodamer earned a bachelor’s degree from Wagner College in Staten Island, N.Y., and a bachelor's degree and a doctorate, both in divinity, from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, N.J. Prior to joining Millikin, he served as pastor at Wallington Presbyterian Church in Wallington, N.J. Bodamer also served as an instructor in pastoral theology at Princeton Theological Seminary and as a lecturer at Wagner College.
His wife, Elizabeth, preceded him in death in 2014. He is survived by his four children: daughters, Michelle Nicol, Lesley Rodell and Lisa Kida, and son Jonathan Bodamer; five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.