Though William Jeanes's first experience as a published writer occurred while he was only an eighth grader growing up in Jackson, Miss., it wasn't until later in life that he decided to pursue a career as a writer and journalist.
Jeanes graduated from Millsaps in 1959 with a B.A. in History and enough hours to have also earned a second major in English. His talent for writing served him well as a columnist for the school newspaper, the Purple & White - though he says, with a hint of mischievousness, his "Thumbtacks" opinion column "kept me in constant hot water with the administration." While Jeanes did some freelance writing in the ensuing years, it wasn't until his mid-30s that he decided to write for a living.
He accepted an offer from Car and Driver magazine and advanced through the ranks to become Editor-in-Chief. He later became publisher of Car and Driver and Road & Track magazines. Through nearly 40 years of writing and publishing experience, Jeanes has compiled an impressive list of achievements.
He has written for Sports Illustrated, Smithsonian Air & Space, The New York Times and a host of automotive publications. He is the co-author of Branding Iron, a business book published in 2006, and is currently a contributor to Winding Road Magazine, Automotive News, AARP The Magazine and African Americans on Wheels.
Jeanes's career has been marked by other impressive milestones. He served as a senior vice president at two major advertising agencies J. Walter Thompson and SSC&B:Lintas, and he was named Writer-in-Residence at Northwestern University in the fall of 2005.
Of the numerous abilities he acquired and honed during his college years, Jeanes said it was the critical thinking skills he first mastered at Millsaps that he has valued most. "They didn't teach me what to think, but how to think and reason through things," he said. "Millsaps has an open environment where you are exposed to lots of different things and are encouraged to draw your own conclusions."
Jeanes has been a member of Millsaps College Board of Trustees for more than 10 years and was named Alumnus of the Year in 1992.
And while Jeanes has often joked that "today I could not get into Millsaps, let alone get out," he offers simple advice to aspiring Millsaps students. "Come prepared to work. But it will be worth it."