William S. Shields


Location: South Bend
Partners in Philanthropy (2002)
Herman B Wells Visionary Award
IUAA President's Award (2002)
Honorary Degree (1993)
Doctor of Laws
Location: South Bend
Presenter: Thomas Ehrlich


William Shields is the retired chairman of Wells Companies, which manufacture aluminum, electronics, metal tooling and plastic blast materials. These companies employ more than 3,000 people. He grew the businesses by studying and anticipating customer needs and by having an unusual ability to lead and manage people. Shields also served on the IUSB Advisory Board for many years.

Shields attended Indiana University and Northwestern University. He first started his career with Northside Lumber Yard and later established Wells Manufacturing. With the addition of Wells Aluminum, his company became Wells Companies. Shields also established and later sold Weldon International Tool & Die Company and Heat Treat in Lakeville, IN. He also helped in the establishment of St. Paul's Retirement Community and served as its chairman of the board. Along with his wife, Kathryn, Shields supported the Campaign for History that led to the creation of the Northern Indiana Center for History in 1994. The couple also funded a challenge grant for Fischoff National Chamber Music Association to underwrite the Bronze Medal Award for senior strings. In 1998, they established an endowed chair for the Dean of Nursing at Indiana University of South Bend, along with having endowed scholarships for medical professionals by establishing the William & Kathryn Memorial Endowment Fund. They received the IUSB Chancellor's Award and the Purdue's President's Council Award for Loyalty and Support in the Pursuit of Excellence and were recognized for their generosity to Ivy Tech, Studebaker National Museum, Silver Hawks, Football Hall of Fame, South Bend Parks and South Bend Community Hall of Fame.

He holds honorary doctorate degrees from IU South Bend and the Statewide Technology Program of Purdue University. He is a recipient of IU South Bend's E.M. Morris Achievement Award, IUAA President's Award, the Sagamore of the Wabash, 1986 Distinguished Business Leader of the Chamber of Commerce of St. Joseph County, the 1997 Helping Hands award of St. Joseph County and the Herman B. Wells Visionary Award. He served on the Board of Memorial Hospital and the advisory board of Purdue Technology and IUSB. He was a member of the 32nd degree Scottish Rite of South Bend and St. Joe Lodge 45.