University of Dayton alumnus William Tweed and his wife, Jan, have donated $1.5 million to endow a Flyer Promise scholarship as part of a new program that removes financial barriers for high-achieving underrepresented students at partner high schools.
The Flyer Promise Scholars program launched this year with 42 students from the Dayton Early College Academy and Chaminade Julienne High School in Dayton, and the Colegio San Jose High School in Puerto Rico.
Bill Tweed, ‘70, said he chose the program for his gift because he wants to make a difference for students like himself. Born and raised in Cleveland, Tweed said he was a first-generation college student from a low-income family. His mother had a fifth-grade education and his father only finished 11th grade.
“I had the chance to come to campus and meet the Flyer Promise scholars. Before this program, these students were continually told they couldn’t and they wouldn’t — they faced long odds and difficult circumstances. I went through that same thing when I was young. I was told I couldn’t,” he said.
"I became excited when I met with and found out that Eric Spina, the new president of the University of Dayton, had a similar vision of a more diverse and inclusive campus, and the central role of the Flyer Promise program in advancing this vision,” he said.
Tweed said he received important help to pay for his education. He had grants and loans, and worked two jobs each summer to earn money for tuition. But he also points to the help of generous people, such as the mother of one of his fraternity brothers in Alpha Phi Alpha, who loaned him $500 in 1968, which is more than $4,000 today, when his student loan fell through because of a clerical error his junior year. And also his six fraternity brothers who paid his room and board at the fraternity house for him, for which he assisted in house duties.
“I’m thankful for all the support I received. Now I want to pay all that back as much as I can, especially for students who don’t have the ability to pay the high cost of college today,” he said. “I think the impact of this program is going to be far greater than any of us can imagine.”
Flyer Promise scholars receive significant university- and donor-funded scholarship and grant assistance, a $4,000 textbook scholarship and access to study abroad opportunities at no extra cost. The program also offers a range of academic enrichment, mentoring and leadership opportunities.
“This program is an important part of the University’s commitment to affordability and accessibility,” said Jason Reinoehl, vice president for strategic enrollment management. “It also aligns with our vision to create a more diverse and inclusive campus and our mission as a Marianist, Catholic university to build a community of servant leaders.”
The Tweeds' gift helps make the program sustainable beyond this year’s pilot phase and will create meaningful opportunities for students in the future, said Donnell Wiggins, assistant vice president in new markets for admissions, who oversees the program. The University is recruiting new students to enter the program this fall and has seen strong interest, he added.
“The Flyer Promise scholars really enrich our campus through their leadership, determination, service and Catholic, Marianist values,” Wiggins said. “The students say this program has changed their lives by removing the financial barriers to a high-quality, four-year education. And they elevate the University by calling on us to be champions for the common good.”
The Tweeds’ gift will be targeted to students in engineering or science, Bill Tweed’s areas of study. While earning his degree in mechanical engineering from UD, he was on the dean’s list, managed homecoming campaigns, served as a cheerleader for the football and basketball teams, in addition to being a member of Alpha Phi Alpha.
He continued his education at Wayne State University’s postgraduate business and law school, Cal State Fullerton’s MBA program, Claremont College School of Business, hydraulics courses at UCLA and three Dale Carnegie programs. Tweed retired and sold his business, General Pump Company Inc., in San Dimas, California, in January.
Bill and Jan Tweed are avid Flyers athletics fans, traveling each year to see both men and women's basketball games. They also made a $250,000 commitment to the athletic competitiveness fund.
To learn more about the Flyer Promise Scholars program at the University of Dayton and how you can support it, please contact Chris Morrison, associate vice president of university advancement, at 937-229-2859 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a first-generation college student from a low-income family, Bill Tweed ’70 knows how difficult it can be to obtain a college degree when money is tight. During his time at UD, he scraped together funds for school by working two jobs in the summer, taking on loans, applying for grants — and received help from others along the way.
right decision, but Flyer Promise showed me right as I arrived, fresh with all my doubts, that Dayton was where I belonged.”
William’s background starts in construction. His experience starts with summer jobs in high school and continues all the way through college learning, plumbing, welding, project management and civil engineering. In 1970 he earned his 5 year Mechanical Engineering Degree from University of Dayton and was on the Deans Honor List. William continued his education with classes at Wayne State University’s Post Graduate Business & Law School, Cal State Fullerton’s MBA Program, Hydraulics courses at UCLA, three Dale Carnegie programs, and Peter Drucker’s courses at Claremont College School of Business.
During his time at the University of Dayton he did community volunteering, managed Home Coming campaigns, and was a Cheer Leader for football and the nationally recognized Flyers basketball team. He pledged into the Alpha Phi Alpha Service Fraternity who paid his share to let him live in the fraternity house in exchange for cooking and other odd jobs. Bill is, and will always be, forever grateful of their kindness using it as an example for the way he tries to live, work and treat others to this day.
From 1970 to 1974 Bill was the first Engineering Graduate to become a District Engineer for the Engineered Equipment Division of Worthington Corp in Detroit and later Los Angeles, coordinating the service and repair of major equipment for the steel, automotive, and power industries. Using his knowledge as a Ham Radio Operator he lead and was was instrumental in the development of the equipment and process to predetermine condenser tube failures for Worthington Corp. They became the industry leader of the patented process, which was later sold to Carrier Corporation.
From 1974 to 1980 he was instrumental in the growth and development of Johnston Pump Company Service Division. He established and managed the Mobile, AL, facility. As Director of Parts and Service Bill continued to grow the business by adding 7 facilities to their service organization, including the establishment of the vertical pump industries first Nuclear Pump Service Facility in Chattanooga, TN, and a repair facility in Singapore. Other positions he held at Johnston Pump included, Director of Sales & Marketing and also President, Johnston Pump Canada.
William’s work experience during his time at Worthington and Johnston Pump companies gave him the honor of working directly with and receiving guidance from icons and authors of the pump industry; Igor J. Karassik and Val S. Lobanoff, both authors and world renowned pump engineers for Worthington Corp. At Johnston Pump he training under and presented pump seminars with Herman Gruitnik, Chief Engineer and director of the Hydraulic Institute and John L. (Jack) Dicmas, PHD Hydraulic Engineer and author.
While at Johnston Pump William was instrumental in developing the vertical turbine pump industries first and foremost Vertical Pump Trouble Shooting Manual, published in several languages including French and Spanish. He instigated regional Pump Training Seminars for the industry.
In January 1981 William took over ownership of General Pump Service, currently known as General Pump Company, Inc. (GPC). The company supports local municipalities, industry, agriculture and drillers with designing and development of new water systems, redevelopment and protection of existing wells in Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange County, CA areas. From the 1950’s to 1970’s the company grew with the Southern California economy, maintaining a strong presence as a water well service company to many dedicated water agencies and commercial customers. Since 1981 General Pump sales have grown by a factor of 30 and today they are a highly regarded industry leader.
General Pump Company originally started out as Peck Well Drilling, a cable tool drilling company located in Gardena, CA in 1938. In 1948 Bud Hill and Les Janeway, formally from Byron Jackson Pumps, joined Matt Peck after he closed Peck Drilling and started General Pump Service moving to the 127th and Main Street, Los Angeles address. General Pump Service incorporated in July 1952, built the only telescoping third leg pump pulling and water well service rig in California. William then refined the design and built three additional advanced versions of the telescoping rig. All four of the rigs are still in operation today and are the only ones of their kind in the USA.
With William Tweed’s new ownership of GPC and the influx of new talent and technical knowhow they expanded their services and customer base. By the mid 1980’s GPC’s facility in Los Angeles too small for the growing business and in 1987 left their Los Angeles facility and moved, purchasing their current facility in San Dimas, CA. This three acre facility, once a lemon packing house, with large open buildings has allowed them to expand their capabilities, service and growing fleet of equipment.
William Tweed is only the third owner of this property, first given as a Spanish Land Grant and then bought by the Spencer Family. Spencer was a contractor, business man, and Feather River Water Project Contractor building 700 miles of canals and pump stations from Sacramento to Southern Californian, a 10 year project. San Dimas and GPC’s property have a long heritage of water system engineering and service.
General Pump Company is a design and engineering firm, vertical pump manufacture, and a professional water well redevelopment and pump equipment contractor GPC is licensed as: A- General Engineering, C-61 Limited Specialty, and a C-57 Well Drilling contractor in California with the ability work on all aspects of water wells, boosters and groundwater facilities. GPC is the only water well licensed contractor Certified by the State of California to provide Continuing Education Units through its accredited classes, training the water industry’s managers, water plant operators, workers, and future leaders. These programs are presented at and in conjunction with Southern California Edison, Southern California Gas, and other large water utility training facilities.
William himself is a contributing author and was a technical advisor for the latest edition of the water well industries bible: Groundwater & Wells by Johnston Screens. His wide breath of knowledge of the water well industry has allowed him the opportunity to serve as expert witness for the State of California and other private parties in several law suits.
William Tweed retired as of January 1st 2017, selling the Company to an investment group led by GPC’s President, insuring the company’s legacy and stability will continue for generations to come. William remains on GPC’s Board of Directors.
The legacy continues: William says his greatest accomplishment has been: “Knowing the people he’s been given the privilege, opportunity and resources to help, touch, and be touched by.” He says, “The machinery he’s made may fail or be forgotten but his life’s contributions will forever grow, as they are passed on to others.
”The Irony of General Pump Company, started by two employees of Byron Jackson, General Pump Moving to San Dimas to a property involved in construction to move water to SOCAL, to the first well pump in the country being installed in San Dimas, is amazing! I have a copy of the original drawings by Byron Jackson of the first well pump design.
William in 2017 became a Member of the University of Dayton Engineering Advisory Board.In 2017
William & Jan Tweed Started Flyer Promise Scholarship Program For disadvantaged students in STEM Programs.
In 2021 William & Jan Tweed received the University of Dayton “Special Services Award.”
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In this episode of Curiosity Quest, Joel Green will explore where the City of Upland gets water for its residents. In several scenes you will see General Pump Company performing maintenance for the city.