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Scottish Heritage Board Member, Bob McWilliam Recipient of National Tartan Day Award!

On Thursday April 14th, 2016, The Scottish Coalition, USA, presented the National Tartan Day Award to Mr. Robert McWilliam as part of Washington DC's annual celebration of Scottish-American heritage. The reception, hosted by the National Capital Tartan Day Committee, took place on Capitol Hill.

Robert McWilliam has devoted more than 40 years to supporting and promoting Scottish-American culture, in addition to his military, legal, business and philanthropic careers where his energy and dedication has been boundless."

McWilliam, a long-time resident of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, enlisted in the Army after high school, and saw active duty in 1948 and 1949. He served in the reserves for many years, and was promoted to colonel in 1978.

"I am delighted at the unanimous selection of Robert McWilliam for the 2016 Scottish Coalition, USA Award," announced Alan L. Bain, President of the TSC, USA and Chairman of the American-Scottish Foundation, a founding member of the coalition.

"Bob never stops!" added Bain. "He has been tireless in his support of so many Scottish American causes, - and I have worked with him on various boards where his enery and dedication has been boundless."

As he completed his active duty in the Army, McWilliam took his bar exams. From 1957, he practiced law before joining a family-owned start-up company in the automotive and metal casting industries. During his 40 years with the company, he traveled extensively, speaking with engineering societies and presenting research papers at international meetings. At the time of his retirement, the company was providing materials and equipment to industries all over the world.

Scottish American Activities

McWilliam has been involved with the Scottish-American community since the 1970s. He is currently:

McWilliam was granted a personal coat of Scottish arms by Scotland's Lord Lyon, King of Arms. The grant is unique in that it was not based on ancestry, but "for service to Scotland and Scottish Culture."

He is the originator of the Wisconsin State Tartan, passed by both houses of the state legislature and signed into law by Governor James Doyle on April 7, 2008.


Bob McWilliam with Prince Charles at the Scottish Parliment

In July of 2009, he was invited by the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs to speak in the Debating Chambers of the Scottish Parliament on the occasion of the 2009 International Clan Gathering in Edinburgh.

He was a member of Clan Donald USA's 1993 crew of 13 that rowed and sailed the Aileach - an open decked, 40 foot replica of a Scottish Berlinn ( a short Viking long boat) - from Armadale, Skye; down the west coast of Scotland; through the Inner Hebrides, portaging the Aileach across the Kintyre Isthmus to commemorate Magnus Bare Legs, the King of Norway's 1098 portage; and then up the river Clyde to the center of the city of Glasgow, commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Forfeiture of the Lordship of the Isles.

The National Tartan Day Award

The 2016 National Tartan Day Award was designed by Keith Lipert Gallery for the TSC USA to reflect the historic story of Tartan Day, held annually on April 6th. With wording from the Senate Resolution that established the holiday, and historic images of Arbroath Cathedral, Robert the Bruce, the Capitol and the Scottish Parliament, the award represents the story of Tartan Day's evolution.