1982 Horatio Alger Award Winner
"I don't know whether you can or cannot develop energy, but I'm satisfied that high energy and dedication are the secrets to a person's success."
William Clements, a fifth generation Texan, was born in Dallas. He got his start in the oil fields beginning as a roughneck and driller at age 20. He attended Southern Methodist University for two and one-half years and then served during World War II in the Army Corps of Engineers. In 1947, he acquired two used drilling rigs and began building his company, SEDCO, into the world's largest oil and gas drilling entity.
Clements took a leave of absence from his company to serve as deputy secretary of defense in the Nixon and Ford administrations. Two years after leaving that post, he scored a stunning upset to win the Texas governorship in 1979. After losing re-election in 1983, Clements came back to win again in 1987. He retired after completing his second term in 1991.
Looking back on his career, Clements said, "Everything I've ever done has been extremely satisfying, and I've used the kind of enthusiasm about what I've been doing to give it my 100 percent effort. That's made me completely happy and satisfied."
Latterly, Clements spent most of his time with his ranching operation. He was a member of the National Executive Board of Boy Scouts of America and considered scouting as a life-long interest. "I started out as a youngster and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. I've been active in the Boy Scouts ever since." He believed the foundations of scouting were "very fundamental to a way of life and are still relevant today." Clements, who said he was a goal setter, continued working on some of his goals. "If there is a great lesson to be learned from scouting," he said, "it's the discipline of the learning of setting goals and accomplishing those goals or working toward them. It applies to business; it applies to your personal life; it applies to all of us as individuals. If you're not a goal setter, you're in deep trouble."
Attributing his successes to high energy, Clements said, "I don't know whether you can develop energy or whether you can't, but I'm satisfied that high energy, dedication, and integrity are the secrets for success. You can be the smartest character in the world, but if you are lazy, nothing is going to happen."
Clements was a trustee emeritus of Southern Methodist University, where the Department of History and the Center for Southwest Studies are named for him. "Education is key," he said. "That's why I fully support the direction the Horatio Alger Association has taken in awarding scholarships to deserving youth."* Deceased