Grahams give gift of $10 million to University
Continuing Studies program renamed in their honor Noted Chicago philanthropist and business executive William B. Graham and his wife, Catherine Graham, have made a $10 million gift to the University. In their honor, the Center for Continuing Studies has been renamed the William B. and Catherine V. Graham School of General Studies.
Graham, a University alumnus, is Chairman Emeritus of Baxter International Inc. and a Life Trustee of the University.
"I have always felt it important to contribute to civic life as well as to the university I love," Graham said. "My wife, Catherine, and I are proud to have our names associated with one of the University's most visible public outreach programs in the city of Chicago."
"William and Catherine Graham are wonderfully generous supporters of the University," said President Sonnenschein. "We were fortunate to have William Graham as a student at the University for nine years, but we are even more fortunate that he has continued to strengthen his ties with us, remaining a devoted friend of the University ever since." In addition to their most recent gift, the Grahams have endowed professorships in the Biological Sciences Division and the Law School.
Graham received his S.B. in chemistry from Chicago in 1932, finishing first in his class, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi. He spent the following two years at the University as a graduate student in chemistry, studying under Nobel Laureate Harold Urey. He then entered the Law School, where he studied with Edward Levi, who later became U.S. Attorney General and President of the University. Graham received his J.D. in 1936.
During Graham's tenure as chief executive officer at Baxter, from 1953 through 1980, the company established one of the most outstanding growth records in American industry. Baxter, through its subsidiaries, is the leading manufacturer and marketer of health-care products, systems and services worldwide.
Graham plays an active role in business, civic and philanthropic affairs. He is chairman of the Lyric Opera of Chicago and a director of the Chicago Horticultural Society, Evanston Hospital, Big Shoulders and the Wendy Will Case Foundation. He has been involved with numerous other organizations and corporations, and has been prominent in drug-industry activities, having served as president of the American Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association and chairman of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association. He served as a director of the PMA for more than a quarter of a century.
He also has received countless awards, including the University of Chicago Medal, the highest honor given by the Board of Trustees, in 1992.
His wife, Catherine, is a member of the Women's Board of the University and is an active supporter of the University's Center on Modern France. She is also on the board of Alliance Francaise and the women's boards of the Lyric Opera and the Field Museum. She is a native of Argentina and the daughter of the former Vice President of International Harvester in South America. An international traveler, she speaks fluent French, Spanish, Portuguese and English.
The University's continuing studies program, which attracts over 10,000 students yearly from the Chicago area, was an early pioneer in adult education. Founded in 1892, it was developed by President William Rainey Harper as a way of bringing a University of Chicago education to the citizens of the city. Today, the William B. and Catherine V. Graham School of General Studies continues this commitment to adult education by linking University faculty to adult students who work in higher education, the professions, business, government, the arts and civic affairs.
"The name change brings an exciting new focus to the University of Chicago's connection to the community," said Daniel Shannon, Dean of the Graham School of General Studies. "Our nationally recognized programs provide opportunities for adults to expand their knowledge of our society and the world, to fulfill their personal educational goals and to function more effectively in our increasingly more complex knowledge-based economy and society."
Programs offered at the Graham School include Seminars in Marketing Management, the Publishing Program, Managing Institutional Advancement, the Midwest Faculty Seminars and the National Institute on Issues in Teaching and Learning.
Additionally, the Graham School offers liberal arts courses and colloquia for post-collegiate adults, including the Open Program, Know Your Chicago, and the Basic Program, which introduced the Great Books to Chicago 50 years ago. The Graham School also offers a three-year program of study leading to a M.L.A. degree.
Courses are taught primarily by University faculty, advanced Ph.D. candidates, and invited guests recommended by the faculty.