1958 Horatio Alger Award Winner
"Hard work and a good education will get you where you want to go."
While in grade school, William Payne milked cows, delivered newspapers, and worked as a church janitor. He worked in the harvest fields of Oklahoma, Kansas, and the South while he was in high school. In college, he sold cooking utensils door to door. After receiving his bachelor's degree from Oklahoma State University, he was awarded a graduate assistantship in microbiology at Massachusetts State College, and later became assistant bacteriologist for the City of Detroit. After serving in World War I, he returned to Oklahoma as a scout for the North American Oil Company. He became vice president of Helmerich & Payne, and then organized Big Chief Drilling Company in 1936. He was national president of the American Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors and the Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association. He also served as president of the Last Frontier Council of the Boy Scouts of America and chairman of the executive committee of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.* Deceased