The University of Chicago News Office
March 18, 1997 Press Contact: Julia Morse
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William B. and Catherine V. Graham give $10 million to the University of Chicago Center for Continuing Studies renamed in their honor

Noted Chicago philanthropist and business executive William B. Graham and his wife Catherine V. Graham have made a $10 million gift to the University of Chicago. In their honor, the University’s nationally recognized Center for Continuing Studies has been renamed the William B. and Catherine V. Graham School of General Studies. Graham is Chairman Emeritus of Baxter International Inc. and a Life Trustee of the University of Chicago since 1981.

“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 Hugo Sonnenschein, President of the University of Chicago. “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.”

Graham graduated from the University of Chicago with an S.B. in chemistry in 1932, finishing first in his class, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi. He spent two years at the University as a graduate student in chemistry, studying under Nobel Laureate Harold Urey, who discovered heavy hydrogen and carried out a landmark experiment that contributed significantly to the scientific understanding of the evolution of life. Graham then entered the University of Chicago Law School, earning a J.D. in 1936. At the law school, he studied with Edward Levi, U.S. Attorney General from 1975 through 1977 and President of the University of Chicago from 1968 to 1975.

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.

His wife Catherine is on the board of Alliance Francaise, the Women’s Board of Lyric Opera and the Women’s Boards of the Field Museum and the University of Chicago, and is an active supporter of the University of Chicago’s Center on Modern France.

The University of Chicago’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 University 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 postcollegiate 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.

William B. and Catherine V. Graham

William B. Graham is Chairman Emeritus of Baxter International Inc. and a life trustee of the University of Chicago. He joined Baxter in 1945 as vice president and manager. In 1953, he became chief executive officer, retaining that post until 1980. He was chairman from 1971 until 1985. During Graham’s tenure as CEO, 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 graduated from the University of Chicago with an S.B. in chemistry in 1932, finishing first in his class, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi. He spent two years at the University as a graduate student in chemistry, studying under Nobel Laureate Harold Urey, who discovered heavy hydrogen and carried out a landmark experiment that contributed significantly to the scientific understanding of the evolution of life. Graham then entered law school, earning a J.D. in 1936 from the University. At the law school, he had classes with Edward Levi, U.S. Attorney General from 1975 through 1977 and University of Chicago President from 1968 to 1975.

“I spent a total of nine years at the University of Chicago, and it provided me with a wonderful background in both chemistry and law. At Baxter, I am able to work in a field where I have made a contribution not only to Baxter, but also to the health care of the country - I owe this, partly, to the training I received at the University,” Graham said. He practiced patent law until joining Baxter.

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. Graham is a member of the Bretton Woods Committee and a trustee of the Orchestral Association. He has served as a director of the First Chicago Corporation, The First National Bank of Chicago, Deere & Company, Bell & Howell and Borg Warner. He is a past president of the Community Fund of Chicago and the Illinois Manufacturers Association.

Graham has been prominent in drug-industry activities, having served as president of the American Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association and chairman of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PMA). He served as a director of the PMA for more than a quarter of a century.

Graham received the Lewis Foundation VIP Award in 1963; the Illinois Saint Andrew Society Distinguished Citizen Award and the Decision Maker of the Year Award in 1974; and the Marketer of the Year Award in 1976. In 1978, the Weizmann Institute established the Chair of Pharmacology in his honor. He received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Carthage College, Kenosha, Wisconsin, in 1974.

In 1981, Graham was honored with the PMA’s Award for Special Distinction and Leadership, as well as recognition by the Health Industry Manufacturers Association (HIMA) for his pioneering work in bringing new lifesaving products to the health-care industry. He received the National Kidney Foundation’s first Foundation Award, which recognizes lifelong support and personal concern for the progress of medicine; the first Annual Med-Tech Achievement Award; and was named Chicagoan of the Year by the Chicago Boys’ Club. From 1981 through 1982, Graham was the chair of the Grace Commission in the field of agriculture. During 1981, Graham also was a lecturer at the University of Chicago.

In 1982, Graham received the Distinguished Fellows Award from the International Center for Artificial Organ & Transplantations. The following year, he received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Lake Forest College, Doctor of Humane Letters degrees from the National College of Education and Saint Xavier College, and was named Business Statesman of the Year by the Harvard Business School Club of Chicago. In 1984, Graham was appointed Vice Chairman of the National Park Foundation under Secretary of the Interior James Watt. In 1986, Graham received the Chicago Civic Award from DePaul University and he was inducted into the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame. In 1988, Mr. Graham received the International Visitors Golden Medallion Award and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Illinois.

In 1992, he received the University of Chicago Medal, the Lincoln Academy of Illinois Laureate Award, and the Lyric Opera Carol Fox Award. He received the Good Scout Award in 1993.

Catherine V. Graham is on the board of Alliance Francaise, the Women’s Board of Lyric Opera and the Women’s Boards of the Field Museum and the University of Chicago, and is an active supporter of the University of Chicago’s Center on Modern France. She is a native of Argentina and the daughter of the former Vice President of International Harvester in South America. An international traveler, she has lived in France and Brazil, and she speaks fluent French, Spanish, Portuguese and English.

 

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