Safety First

Posted by cservaes on September 19, 2011 in Alumni, "The College" William H. Gossard has a passion for saving lives. And that’s what he, a senior program manager with the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), has spent his life doing. Gossard ’67 recently was added to the National Safe Boating Council’s Boating Safety Hall of Fame. The award recognizes those who have demonstrated vital leadership and support through many years of service to boating safety. Gossard, who has been sailing for 40 years, accepted the award at the 15th Annual International Boating and Water Safety Summit in Savannah, Georgia, in March. “We’re so proud of Bill,” says NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman. “For the past 34 years, he has been a voice for the recreational boating community, testifying in 22 states on various boating safety issues and publishing or contributing to four recreational boating safety studies.” Gossard began his government service in 1967 after graduating from Ottawa University. He joined the U.S. Peace Corps, where he served two years in the Tongan Islands, South Pacific. Once he returned to the United States, Gossard was granted a full graduate assistantship at Ball State University. In 1971, he joined the Federal Railroad Administration with the U.S. Department of Transportation, and just six years later was asked to join the National Transportation Safety Board. “I have found that [saving lives] is best accomplished by state laws proscribing safety equipment,” says Gossard. Currently, Gossard has been assigned to advance a number of state-oriented highway safety initiatives, including the mandatory wearing of motorcycle helmets and primary seat belt enforcement. He also is a senior executive fellow at Harvard University. Gossard’s desire to help save lives began many years ago during his time at Ottawa University. “My time at Ottawa University was a time of learning about myself and the world,” says Gossard. “Being young and challenged by the possibilities of changing the world, I set out with my wife to see what the world was about. “Ottawa provided a tremendous base because of its core learning requirements and testing,” says Gossard. “Learning art and music are as important as the sciences, mathematics and other studies.” Gossard also is an honorary member of the United States Marine Safety Association and the Italian National Rescue Society of Genoa, Italy. Gossard’s community service-oriented lifestyle has called him to help animals as well as people. He and his wife, Cara, live in Centreville, Maryland, on a small horse ranch with two ornament gray horses they rescued from Baltimore County.