January 7, 2008

Children, Travel, and Lafayette

Time abroad made big impact on Northern Trust Corp. Treasurer Bill Dodds ’74

By Dan Edelen

Every day, a stream of the world’s finances crosses the desk of Bill Dodds ’74. As executive vice president and treasurer of Northern Trust Corporation, a Chicago-based global provider of investment management, asset servicing, and fiduciary services, Dodds ensures his company remains competitive in global financial markets.

“The world’s gotten to be a very small place,” he says.

To Dodds, small may be good, as Lafayette’s size initially attracted him. The College also possessed a “high degree of interest in the student,” a trait he still admires 33 years after graduating, with honors, in economics. He also credits Lafayette with “helping me develop an analytical way of thinking.”

Dodds applied that skill toward an MBA from The University of Chicago in 1976. Jobs as a financial analyst for Ford Motor Company and Northwest Industries segued into a position with Northern Trust, where he’s been since 1983.

As chief manager of Northern’s global funding and investments, Dodds finds great variety in his work. Business travel takes him around the world.

“I’ve been fortunate to have some interesting assignments along the way,” he says, recalling a five-year term as general manager of Northern Trust’s London office. “It gave my family and me the opportunity to learn about a foreign culture, to live it day to day, and see America through a non-U.S. perspective.”

Dodds credits his family’s time in the U.K. as a major source of growth, not only for his wife Ann and himself, but especially their children, Allison and Peter. “I would not have traded it for anything in the world,” he says.

Though he enjoys his wide travels, Dodds fondly recalls his youth in Teaneck , N.J. “It was an idyllic suburban life growing up in the fifties and sixties, like ‘Leave It to Beaver,’” he says.

But he also recognizes that many children did not experience the innocent childhood he did. For this reason, he serves as a board member and treasurer of The Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center, one of the country’s leading providers of social, medical, and legal services to victims of child abuse.

Dodds’s concern for young people, his love of travel, and his respect for Lafayette combine in the William & Ann Dodds Study Abroad Endowment Fund, established in 2002.

“Our living abroad was a great experience from a family, business, and growth perspective,” he says.

With the fund, he hopes to honor his alma mater and allow others to expand their horizons.

“It’s important to give back to the organization that contributed to your own development and success in life,” he says.

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