Longtime business leader named UIAA Board chair

Family, community and education have been integral to Bill Forsyth’s life and success

Bill Forsyth New UIAA Board Chair Bill Forsyth promises to generate engagement opportunities for alumni, students and University leaders. (Image courtesy of the Chicago Illini Club)
Family, community and education have been integral to Bill Forsyth’s life and success

“It’s quite a privilege,” William D. Forsyth III, ’86 BUS, says of becoming chair of the University of Illinois Alumni Association Board of Directors for 2019–21. Modesty notwithstanding, he is well suited to the office as both a business prodigy and UIAA Board Member for more than 25 years. 

Forsyth began working with the UIAA in 1993, guiding the Board’s investment committee for its life-member fund. He was clearly the right man in the right place. Forsyth joined the committee at the same time that he founded his investment advisory company, Frontier Partners. The Winnetka, Ill.–based firm has since defined a highly successful niche, helping boutique investment fund managers worldwide access financial support.

Forsyth started Frontier Partners at age 29, with family foremost on his mind: He resolved to become his own boss by running an asset-management company that put a premium on face time and office hours. “I wanted to make sure I was an integral part of my kids’ lives,” he explains. “I decided to see if I could be a good businessman and a good parent.” He and his wife, Martha, have four grown children, including John Forsyth, ’15 MEDIA.

Forsyth also resolved to invest in the community, and in 1995 he founded the New Frontiers Foundation as part of Frontier Partners. To date, the foundation has given $2 million to create educational opportunities and resources for underprivileged children and youth in the greater Chicago area.

Education is a longtime priority for Forsyth, who is also a member of the UI Foundation and the steering committee for the UI System. He is keen to find multiple ways for the UIAA to engage students and alumni, including online town halls, where alumni can converse with University leaders and scholars, and a networking platform for students and alumni.

“As I tell my children,” he says, “I learned as much outside the classroom at Illinois as I did inside the classroom.”