William A. Seay was born in Missouri but spent most of his early years in Hickman County. He went on to receive bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agriculture at the University of Kentucky and earned his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin.
Upon completion of his doctorate, Seay returned to the UK College of Agriculture as an assistant professor of soils. At UK, he went on to hold the positions of professor in soils, administrative assistant to the dean and director of the Division of Agriculture and vice director of the Kentucky Experiment Station.
Seay twice served as acting dean and director of the Kentucky Experiment Station. He was appointed dean of the UK College of Agriculture in 1963 and served in that capacity until his death in 1969. Dean Seay died when an airplane he was piloting crashed into a mountain in West Virginia.
Seay was a member of many professional and honorary societies including Alpha Zeta, Sigma Xi, the Kentucky Academy of Science, Kentucky Research Club and the American Soil Science Society. He was appointed by the governor to the Nuclear Energy Advisory Committee and Commission on Agriculture. He also was a member of numerous civic and social organizations.
He served as a member of the National Agricultural Research Advisory Committee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He published many scientific papers on soil chemistry, fertility and the use of radioisotopes.
Seay served in the U.S. Army during World War II and was a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserves.
The auditorium in UK’s Agricultural Science Center is named in Seay’s honor.