1992 Inaugural William R. Gould

The Sons of Martha – Reshaping the Electric Industry

William Richard Gould Native son William Gould, born "on the wrong side of University Avenue" in Provo, has returned to his home state and his alma mater to bestow a valuable gift to one of the state's most important possessions - the University of Utah. With the inauguration of the William R. and Erlyn J. Gould Endowment in support of the Marriott Library's Utah Science, Engineering, and Medical Archives and the accompanying annual lecture series, the Gould's legacy of service to the public is being preserved and perpetuated well into the future.


Mr. Gould's childhood and youth were spent in Provo, a small and relatively unknown town, "until the sports writers discovered it." He recalls the town as "more of a village at the time, with farmers coming to town in their wagons in the summertime, in their old-fashioned sleighs in the winter. There was still a hitching post and watering troughs in several places on Center Street." throughout his youth, his parents instilled the virtues of learning and education within Bill and his siblings.

Mr. Gould received a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Utah in 1942. His graduate work was later performed at MIT and elsewhere. It was during his time on campus that he and his future wife, Erlyn Johnson, met and courted. They were married in 1942, and in March of 1992, celebrated their fiftieth year together.

After Mr. Gould's graduation from the university, and following seven years of service in the Navy as an engineering officer, he joined Southern California Edison, where he ascended to the position of president in 1978 and chairman of the board and CEO in 1980. It was in 1980 that Mr. Gould made a "watershed" decision in the history of the utilities industry by committing his company to the pursuit and use of alternative energy sources to generate electrical power. Citing the decision as one of "high adventure," Mr. Gould made a lasting and overwhelming impact on the science, engineering, and entrepreneurship of the industry.

This innovative approach to the relationship between society, industry, and the environment characterized the faith and philosophy of William Gould. As a result of his insightful and courageous leadership in the utilities industry, Southern California Edison is the only corporation to ever receive the prestigious John and Alice Tyler Prize for Protection of the Environment - a sterling example for the rest of the industry.

Erlyn GouldMr. Gould has been involved throughout his life in various capacities for the LDS church, serving most recently as a regional representative. He and Erlyn enjoyed travel throughout the world on both personal and professional ventures, and through the years have met many people from diverse cultures and nationalities.

On a sad note, Mrs. Gould passed away on June 2, 1992. True to the high-minded values and spirit both Mr. and Mrs. Gould have long demonstrated, Mr. Gould requested that donations in lieu of flowers be made in Mrs. Gould's name to the Gould Distinguished Lectureship. The Marriott Library and University of Utah are proud to be able to participate in preserving Mrs. Gould's memory in this way.

Bill Gould and the University of Utah

Bill Gould graduated from the University of Utah in 1942 with a degree in mechanical engineering. In 1981, he was honored with the university's Distinguished Alumni Award, and was named to the National Advisory Council in 1975. He was named a sustaining member of the council in 1985, and continues his involvement with the group. The university is grateful for his continued willingness to serve yet another important mission, through the creation of the Gould Endowment and Distinguished Lecture Series.