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Pannills receive Hampden-Sydney awards
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Shown at the Hampden-Sydney College awards presentation are (from left) William Gordon Pannill II and Kenneth Stuart Pannill, both class of 2008; John Taylor Pannill, class of 2014; their father, Will Pannill, class of 1977; and college President Dr. Chris Howard. (Contributed photo)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

William “Will” L. Pannill of Martinsville and his father, William “Bill” Gordon Pannill of Palm Beach, Fla., both were honored at the Hampden-Sydney College commencement May 11.

Both men received Algernon Sydney Sullivan Medallions. Three medallions are given each year to friends of the college who have been conspicuously helpful to the college in its efforts to encourage and preserve a high standard of morals, according to a college news release.

The medallions are given in honor of Hampden-Sydney’s first president, Algernon Sydney Sullivan, by the New York Southern Society.

Hampden-Sydney College President Chris Howard presented the medallions. Will Pannill accepted his; he and his three sons, William Gordon Pannill II, Kenneth Stuart Pannill and John Taylor Pannill, accepted the medallion for William Gordon Pannill.

John Taylor Pannill graduated from Hampden-Sydney on May 11, joining his father and brothers as Hampden-Sydney alumni.

William Gordon Pannill’s father, William Letcher Pannill, started Pannill Knitting Co. in Martinsville in 1925. It was the first mill in the South to knit cotton textiles rather than spin yarn or weave cloth, according to the Textile Heritage timeline on

William Gordon Pannill joined the Pannill Knitting in 1959 as executive vice president. He became president in 1966 and remained at its helm until it was sold to Sara Lee Corp. in 1989. It ceased operations in 1994.

Will Pannill is a member of Hampden-Sydney College’s class of 1977 and a former and returning trustee. His bachelor’s degree is in government and Spanish.

He is a past president of the Carlisle School Board, a member of the Tek.Xam board, a member and former chairman of the Brenner Children’s Hospital Advisory Board, a member of the board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Martinsville/Henry County, a member of the board of the Virginia Foundation of Independent Colleges, the past president of the Martinsville/Henry American Heart Association and a former board member of the Martinsville/Henry County Chamber of Commerce, Piedmont Arts Association and the Pannill Scholarship Foundation.

In 2006 he was named the first Patrick Henry Community College recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy. Pannill served on the PHCC Foundation board from 1986-2001 and was its chairman from 1988-1992. He headed the first endowment campaign, “Continue the Revolution,” which raised $4.4 million by 1994.

Will Pannill is the chairman of the board of Tacoma Management Inc., DBA Taco Bell. He and his wife, Susan, have four children.

Hampden-Sydney is a private college for men in the Virginia town of the same name. It is ranked nationally in the top 100 of liberal arts colleges by U.S. News & World Report.


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