William J. Thomas, III
Traveling From: Maryland
“Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records.” – William Arthur Ward
May 7, 2004 was the day William Joseph Thomas’ life changed completely. He was an innocent bystander in the shooting incident that took place at Randallstown High School. As a result, the onetime three-sport athlete was left paralyzed from the injuries sustained from the shooting. Some would describe him, then, as a victim. Today, William J. Thomas, affectionately known to many as “Tipper,” can no longer be described as a victim. William is a humanitarian, a philanthropist, an entrepreneur, an engineer and most importantly incredibly resilient.
William has always been a self-starter and a highly ambitious young man. No matter the area of life, William has excelled brilliantly. Despite not being able to fulfill a lifelong dream of playing collegiate football for his beloved Alma mater, he graduated from the illustrious Morgan State University in May of 2011 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. During his matriculation at Morgan State, he earned the 2007 Outstanding Morgan Male of the Year Award. He became an esteemed member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated in 2006. Before long, he was appointed as one of the first two collegiate members at large to the International General Board of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. He also received the Champion of Courage Award from the Zeta Sigma Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated in April of 2012. Upon his graduation, he received the Morgan State University Academic Resilience Award.
Outside of his collegiate studies, William has remained an active force in the community. He has spent countless Thanksgivings feeding needy families, donating toys for the Angel Tree program, being a motivational speaker and participating in numerous Lupus and Breast Cancer walks. He is an active mentor in numerous programs and an active community service leader. William believes in speaking out on urban community health issues (domestic violence, mental health, etc.), promoting education and advocating against youth violence. He is also an advocate for the disabled community regarding public policy, as well as a reoccurring panelist on NBA Veteran Etan Thomas’ “Overcoming Obstacles” panel.