William R. Joseph ’72 was well known throughout Ohio for his lifelong work with many of the state’s cultural, artistic, and health care organizations. He passed away on October 26, 2012, at the age of 66.
An Ohio native, Joseph descended from a long line of Columbia Law School alumni: His grandfather, father, and brother all received law degrees from the Law School. Joseph graduated from Columbia College in 1968, and from Columbia Law School in 1972. Following graduation, he returned to Ohio to practice law at Arter & Hadden in Cleveland.
In 1976, Joseph co-founded Ohio Citizens for the Arts. Through that organization, he worked with the Ohio state legislature to secure millions of dollars in funding for Ohio’s cultural institutions. Two years later, Joseph received the Ohio Museums Association Award of Special Recognition for his efforts.
During the next three decades, Joseph volunteered for more than 50 organizations, including serving as president of the Jewish Family Service Association, the Sisters of Charity Foundation, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland. In addition, he continued to practice law, joining Weston Hurd—where he specialized in nonprofit law, tax law, and advocacy—in 1989.
Joseph, who was president of the Columbia University Club of Cleveland for 20 years—the third member of his family to hold that position—was awarded the Alumni Medal from the Columbia Alumni Association in 1992 for his distinguished service to the University.
Joseph is survived by his children, William R. Joseph Jr. and Dr. Robyn J. Gutman, as well as five grandchildren.