Former GMC President and President Emeritus, Major General William P. Acker was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and graduated from high school in Greenville, South Carolina. This former President is also an alumnus of Georgia Military College. General Acker joined the GMC Junior College Corps of Cadets and graduated in 1950. General Acker went on to attain a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Georgia and a Master of Management from Arizona State University. He completed the Armed Forces Staff College in 1967, Air War College in 1971, and the Harvard University Advanced Management Program in 1973.
In 1952, he has commissioned a second lieutenant through the Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Program at the University of Georgia. During his time serving his country, General Acker traveled around the world and became a decorated combat pilot, serving assignments in Japan, Germany, and Spain. Following the armistice during the Korean War, he flew missions designed to preserve the armistice. Later, he would serve two combat tours in Vietnam, during which he flew more than 211 combat hours. His military decorations and awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with 10 oak leaf clusters and Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster. In 1977, he was awarded the GMC Distinguished Alumnus Award for his service to humanity and dedication to the institution.
General Acker served 33 distinguished years in the Air Force before coming back to serve his Alma Mater. In 1985, GeneralAcker retired from active duty and assumed the duties as the 19th President of GMC from 1985 to 1992, when there was talk of closing the school due to financial problems and a decline in student enrollment. His job was to keep the school from going under.
Over his years as President of GMC, General Acker worked towards moving the institution to new heights. So much of what GMC is today is due to years of hard work and the solid foundation laid by General Acker. When he assumed the role of President, General Acker was able to increase state funding for the school, added sixth and seventh grades to the Prep school and added four new college campuses in Georgia. He also resurrected the College football team and implemented new technology in the classrooms.
Diversity was an issue near and dear to General Acker’s heart. As President, he began providing scholarships to African American students to increase diversity. He grew African American student enrollments from three to 18 percent during his tenure. A lifelong commitment to providing equal opportunities to all people was a focus of his leadership. Through his dedication to GMC, the school developed a solid track record of sending young adults to four-year colleges, instilled with the strength of character and discipline that comes from a military school.
General Acker also worked with the GMC Foundation to secure large land tracts from donations and purchases which would eventually be used for the construction of Baugh Barracks, athletic playing fields, Ruark Athletic Center, and more. General Acker was named a GMC President Emeritus in 2017, a prestigious title recognizing his immense dedication to GMC.
General Acker was a loving husband to his wife Nadine Giles Acker, and a proud father of his three children, Col (Ret) Patricia A. Griffin, Mrs. Kathryn M. Sessions, and Lt Col (Ret) William P. Acker, Jr., as well as many grandchildren, and several great-grandchildren.