William Kenneth Hyslop was born on May 19, 1885, in Inkster, North Dakota. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. George Hyslop. The family moved to Grand Forks when he was twelve years old. He attended Grand Forks High School, and was a member of the football team.
Following graduation, Hyslop enrolled at the University of North Dakota in 1902. He was an active member of the A.D.T. Literary Society, played several positions on the university baseball team, and was Junior Class President. He was also a founding member of the Bungaloo Club, which became the Beta Zeta Chapter of Sigma Chi in 1909. He graduated from UND on June 14, 1906 with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of Arts.
After graduation, he went to New Mexico with two friends where the three made a considerable profit from a copper mining venture. He invested the money in a 3,000 acre farm in Alberta, Canada, which Hyslop managed for five years. While working on the farm, Hyslop took a winter job with the International Harvester Company. In 1914, he was soon sent to Europe, where he worked for the company for eleven years. In 1925, he began a position in the Ford Motor Company, acting as their Head of Operations in Spain and France.
In 1931 he joined the Massey-Harris Company, a farm equipment manufacturer, as their European Manager. When he was promoted to President and General Manager of the company in 1938, Hyslop returned to the United States. He led the company through the World War II years, during which the company manufactured tanks and military hardware. He also guided the company through its transition to a peace time economy, during which it resumed the manufacture of farm equipment. He retired as Chairman of the Board and First Vice-President in 1950. Following retirement, his hobbies included traveling, hunting, fishing and golf.
Hyslop was a generous contributor to the University of North Dakota. In January 1980, he gifted to the University over 4,100 acres of land in the Red River Valley appraised at $5.2 million. Previous gifts included over $153,000 in corporate stock, as well as 2,000 acres of land in the United States and Canada. Hyslop was honored by the UND Alumni Association in 1959 with a Distinguished Service Citation.
Hyslop died on May 30, 1981 in Racine, Wisconsin. Upon his death, the University was the beneficiary of an additional $2 million dollars. The UND Fieldhouse and its impending addition were named in Hyslop's honor on July 17, 1981.