“We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process… And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.” – Peter Drucker
It was hard for little Bill to sit still. He was ready to run into the world, pushing through barriers and making a difference. He was a natural leader and soon became the first black student body president of Foshay Middle School in Los Angeles. He continued to break norms by being the first black student body president at Polytechnic High School before graduating with honors. He went on to get a degree at UC Berkeley before being drafted into the U.S. Army. He served 2 years during the Korean War, attaining the rank of Captain.
After the Army, Bill enrolled in the pre-med program at UCLA. He was accepted as the first African American medical student. After graduating he interned at Harbor General Hospital. He specialized in obstetrics and gynecology and opened two women’s clinics in Los Angeles. He later became the first African-American resident at Queen of Angels Hospital in Los Angeles. Bill loved people and had a special affection for children. He served his longest time at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he once held the record for the most infants delivered.
Forever learning, restless and driven, Bill at the age of 52 and after 14 years of medical practice, returned to school and received his J.D. from Southwestern University School of Law. After passing the bar, he worked as a forensic attorney helping victims in malpractice suits. He served on the Board of Governors of the UCLA Foundation and even after retiring, went back to practice medicine and law until his passing. Through his life, he touched so many other lives. His impact was far reaching and he was even recognized by the U.S. Congress for his life’s work and achievements.
Bill’s life reminds us that we can all restlessly pursue learning and improvement. We can challenge the limits others place on us or we place on ourselves. I hope Bill’s story inspired you as it did me. Keep learning. Keep striving. Keep helping. We can make this world a better place, if we try. And, like Bill, we can also leave behind a legacy that can inspire the next generation.
Oh, and one more thing… Dr. Lawrence William “Bill” Scott not only left behind a legacy of “firsts”, he also passed on his passion of science and the restless pursuit of learning through his children. You might know at least one of them. His son is a leader at Disney and in the industry, a champion of technology and the restless pursuit of learning, Brian L. Scott.