Institute president William was presented the Distinguished Service Medal by the general alumni association at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
He was recognized for numerous contributions to the university and its students. While serving on the UNC board of trustees, he pushed for measures that resulted in the largest number of African American men being granted undergraduate admission. Graduation rates for African American male students also improved during his time on the board. In 2018, Keyes was presented the Harvey E. Beech Award at the Black Alumni Reunion. He was joined at that event by more than a dozen African American male students he was mentoring, including some who were Institute scholars.