The Dimorier Project began in 2004, when a handwritten journal of original poetry was discovered at a printing-house auction in Erie, PA. The journal belonged to William E. Dimorier who was born in Afton, NY, in 1871, and died there in 1951. An educator, he spent nearly 40 years in Erie dedicating himself to a life of service to his students and the community.
William, the son of a farmer, graduated high school at the age of 25. The delay in receiving his diploma was likely the result of his being needed in the fields. He was 31 years old before he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1903 from Colgate University, but by then he had already held two Baptist pastorates and several teaching positions. After graduation, William taught for a year at a women’s college and two years at a college prep school, both in upstate New York. At the prep school, one of his students was a future Chinese ambassador to the United States. Later, he sponsored the education of a poor, but promising, Chinese student, who became a respected educator himself.
Coming to Erie High School in 1906, William served as head of the English Department and advisor to the debate club, yearbook, school newspaper, and athletic program, leading the cause for a 10-acre athletic field. Later, as assistant principal at the new Academy High School, he led the fundraising for a 15,000-seat stadium dedicated to World War I veterans. For many years, he also served as business manager for the school’s nationally known choir.
During his career, William wrote a number of scholarly articles and self-published two books of poetry. Some of his verses were included in published choral compositions.
William E. Dimorier: Servant Leader is the manuscript that grew out of more than a decade of research. It examines the life of a farmer’s son, who took a non-traditional path to becoming a leader. The manuscript follows Dimorier’s long career in education, as he became a role model for leadership and service without expectation of reward.
The goal of William E. Dimorier: Servant-Leader is to share with a general audience how a person from humble beginnings can lead a life of service, largely unrecognized, but ultimately, having an influence that stretches around the globe and across centuries.
Dimorier can accurately be called a servant leader; a concept introduced by the late Robert K. Greenleaf, a retired AT&T executive:
The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…
William E. Dimorier: Servant Leader is an unpublished, complete manuscript at approximately 137,000 words, or 464 pages including notes and supplements.