Grahams Receive McKendree’s ‘Friends of the University’ Award

Photo of Grahams Founders Day 2012Recognition is Given on Founders’ Day

Lebanon, Ill. — McKendree University observed its 184th anniversary on Feb. 21 with a Founders’ Day program at the Russel E. and Fern M. Hettenhausen Center for the Arts. O’Fallon Mayor Gary Graham and his wife, Lucia K.S. Graham, a university trustee, accepted the Friends of the University Award, which honors non-alumni for their exemplary service.

“Gary and Lucia Graham have been friends of McKendree University for more than 15 years,” noted Dr. James Dennis, president. “Their impact has been felt as citizen leaders in the Metro- East, as volunteers and as philanthropists. The university has benefitted from the community leadership that Gary provides in O’Fallon and from the vision and guidance that Lucia provides as a member of the Board of Trustees.”

Gary Graham is the president of LUCO, Inc., a river barge company, and serves as mayor of the City of O’Fallon. Over the past 30 years, he has worked in the life insurance business and with his wife, owned and managed the Westwood Country Club in Paducah, Ky.

Prior to his election as mayor in 1997, Graham was a Ward 2 alderman, school board member for O’Fallon District 203, and Planning Commission member. He was appointed by the governor to the Southwestern Illinois Development Authority in 2001 and to the East-West Gateway Coordinating Council in 1997. He also served on the Southwestern Illinois Regional (MidAmerica) Airport Task Force. He is on the board of the National League of Cities; chairman of the Southwestern Illinois College Foundation Board; and amember of the Southwestern Illinois YMCA Board, Council of Mayors, SWIMPAC, O’Fallon Economic Development Council, Rotary Club, O’Fallon Chamber of Commerce, Shriners and Elks.

Throughout her life, Lucia Scheu Graham has been a dedicated educator of students, from the elementary grades through college. Early in her career, she taught first grade in several different communities where the couple made their home. Beyond the classroom, she supervised student teachers and served on various special curriculum teams and parent-teacher organizations, often in leadership positions.

Since 1996, she has been a member of the McKendree University Board of Trustees. She is currently vice chair of the Committee on Trustees.

The Grahams are long-time members of the William McKendree Society for donors to the university. As strong supporters of the arts, they were instrumental in the building of the Hettenhausen Center for the Arts on campus. They are past recipients of the Illinois Art Education Association’s Distinguished Service to the Profession of Art Education Award.

Dr. Dennis closed the Founders’ Day program with a “State of the University” address, discussing recent accolades, aspirations and challenges for McKendree’s future.