William B. Boyd (1923- ), the seventh president of CMU (1968-75), was born in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. After serving in the U. S. Navy (1943-46), He received a BA from Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina (1946), an MA degree from Emory University (1947), and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania (1954). Before arriving in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, Boyd served as a faculty member in history at Michigan State University (1953-58), Dean of the Faculty and professor of history at Alma College (1958-65), and Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs at the University of California – Berkeley (1966-68).
During President Boyd’s tenure, Central saw progressive policies instituted. Some initiatives include loosening restrictions on students and in residence halls, instituting an affirmative action hiring policy, the development of courses in African-American studies, the creation of a Cultural Center, and a campus beautification project. In addition, the athletics programs were promoted to NCAA Division I status and Special Olympics Michigan brought its headquarters to the CMU campus. President Boyd oversaw the safety and security of a relatively peaceful CMU campus during a time when unrest was seen at many colleges and universities in the U. S. In 1975, Dr. Boyd resigned from Central and accepted the position of President at the University of Oregon.