WILLIAM DONALD SCHAEFER was born in West Baltimore, Maryland, and graduated from Baltimore City College in 1939. He received his bachelor of law degree in 1942 and his master of law degree in 1951 from the University of Baltimore. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II as a hospital administrator in Europe from 1942-1945. He remained in the U.S. Army Reserve, retiring with the rank of colonel in 1979. He returned to Baltimore after his tour in Europe and resumed his law career. His leadership role in citizen associations helped him win a seat in 1955 on the Baltimore City Council, serving three terms. He then ran a successful campaign for council president. After four years he was elected mayor of Baltimore and served four consecutive terms until he was elected governor in 1986. He was reelected to a second term in 1990. He went on to become Comptroller of Maryland from 1999 to 2007. He was the recipient of several honorary degrees and awards, including the Jefferson Award for Public Service by an elected official.