LEWISBURG, Pa. – Bill Graham '62 has made a profound impact on the sport of wrestling at Bucknell and across the nation, and earlier this week he was inducted into the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum as part of its 24th induction class.
Graham was recognized as one of two “Outstanding American” honorees at the ceremony held at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, Pennsylvania. He was joined by co-recipient John Thomas, who spent more than 50 years in the sport of wrestling as a competitor or coach.
Also honored were seven “Lifetime Service to Wrestling” award-winners: Mike Clair, Bob Fehrs, Bud Lindholm, Paul Packer, Pat Pecora, Roger Reina, and Barry Smith.
“On behalf of Bucknell and Bison Athletics, I would like to congratulate Bill Graham on his recognition by the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame,” said John Hardt, director of athletics and recreation. “Bill's incredible support allowed us to restore our wrestling program to varsity status, and the sport has once again become a point of pride for Bison Athletics with numerous All-Americans and NCAA qualifiers, as well as two successful EIWA Championships staged here at Sojka Pavilion. Bill's unwavering support of Bucknell student-athletes has had ripple effects across the entire country.”
Graham serves as CEO and Chairman of the Board of the Graham Company in Philadelphia. One of the city's most successful businessmen, Graham in 2013 was recognized by The Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers (CIAB) as one of the top “Game Changers” over the last 100 years. Graham was also honored by The Philadelphia Insurance Society as the 2013 recipient of the Society's prestigious Distinguished Leadership Award. The Award recognizes leadership and management excellence, commitment to the Philadelphia community, and most importantly, a history of advancing the local insurance industry.
At Bucknell, Graham has been one of the University's most noteworthy donors. The recipient of the 2012 Distinguished Citizenship Award, his extraordinary generosity to athletics at Bucknell allowed for the reinstatement of the Bison wrestling program, the construction of Graham Field, a significant endowment that supports women's athletics, and most recently, the construction of the Graham Building, a brand-new facility that housed both the student health center and a state-of-the-art wrestling training center.
A Trustee Emeritus at Bucknell, Graham was named the University Division Donor of the Year by the National Association of Athletic Development Directors (NAADD) in 2007, after his $7.6 million gift helped Bucknell become one of the first institutions to find a solution to restoring a wrestling program to varsity status after it had previously been reclassified due to Title IX compliance.A former wrestling team captain at Bucknell, Graham was inducted into the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association Hall of Fame in 2011.