Posted 8:35 a.m. Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Bill and Yvonne Hyde, longtime employees and supporters of UWL, established the William & Yvonne Hyde Special English Endowment in 1998, providing support for the department’s visiting speakers, books and equipment, and other materials and programs.

Bill and Yvonne Hyde fondly remembered

Had there been a UWL Power Couple title in the ’80s and ’90s, it probably would have gone to William “Bill” and Yvonne Hyde.

The Hydes came to campus in 1956 when they returned to the Badger State from a three-year stay in Texas. Bill had taught English at Trinity University in San Antonio, while Yvonne worked at the university’s library. During their next four decades at UWL, they left their marks across campus.

Bill taught in the English Department from 1956-1992. Associate Professor Emeritus Tom Pribek, ’76, who taught in the English Department from 1984-2014, recalls Bill fondly. Hyde was one of his undergraduate teachers. Pribek remembers how Hyde and others in the department were friendly and respectful when Pribek returned with a doctorate in hand. Yet, Pribek still had some fear that he would never be taken quite seriously as his equal.

“This department was instead very welcoming to me, and if he was more than just typical of teachers who became my friends, I believe Bill could take credit for being the model of the really fine person who encouraged me and made me feel I belonged here,” Pribek says. “Most of my colleagues have been friends, but few deserve as high a rating of ‘gentleman and scholar’ as Bill Hyde.”

Bill Hyde taught in the UWL English Department from 1956 to 1992.

Yvonne Hyde joined the campus library staff in 1957, doing various jobs before settling into cataloging for the last 18 years of her 38-year stint running through 1995. After retiring, she volunteered a couple of hours a day for about a year.

Professor Emeritus of English Carla Graham recalls both Bill and Yvonne having a tremendous wit.

“As a composition professor, Bill enjoyed student word-usage, such as one who saw a long line of ‘tankard’ cars on the railroad south of La Crosse,” says Graham.

She asked him to visit her British Literature survey following his retirement to teach Thomas Hardy, his primary interest and publishing area.

“He was proper and gallant, but that wit was a real source of my admiration,” she notes.

Yvonne Hyde, pictured here on the day she retired, joined the campus library staff in 1957. She did various jobs before settling into cataloging for the last 18 years of her 38-years running through 1995. After retiring, Hyde volunteered a couple of hours a day for about a year.

Graham says Yvonne was an immense reader and a fan of Anthony Trollope's novels. In recent years, she devoured magazines like The Atlantic and the Smithsonian.   

“She loved everyone from colleagues at Murphy Library to waitstaff at Diggers and Rocky's in Stoddard,” Graham notes. “In short, for Bill, I recall his wit; for Yvonne, her love of people.” 

Together, the Hydes were also known for their generosity toward campus.

Their support for the English Department includes the William & Yvonne Hyde Special English Endowment in 1998, providing support for the English Department’s visiting speakers, books and equipment, and other materials and programs. The impetus for the fund came when Bill volunteered to teach a composition class after he retired. He didn’t want to be paid, but rules required payment. So Bill cashed the check and gave the money to the UWL Foundation for the fund.

The couple also funded the William J. Hyde English Department Scholarship Fund. In 2002, the department honored them by naming its colloquium series as the English Department William J. and Yvonne M. Hyde Colloquium Series.

Their support for Murphy Library included setting up the Billie J. Batchelor Trust Fund, in which Bill donated expensive reference books. Along with Yvonne’s volunteering, they also supported the library financially. In 2002, the library recognized them with the Eugene W. Murphy Library Special Recognition Award.

Memorials may still be given to any of the Hyde funds through the UWL Foundation.

Read more stories from the July eLantern.