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Northwestern Launches Otto Graham Society

November 13, 2013
New fundraising opportunity serves as catalyst for leadership annual giving

EVANSTON, Ill.—Northwestern Vice President for Athletics and Recreation Jim Phillips announced Wednesday (Nov. 13) Northwestern Athletics’ launch of the Otto Graham Society, a new fundraising initiative intended to serve as the catalyst for leadership annual giving to Northwestern Athletics.

Philanthropic in nature, the Otto Graham Society is a multi-year fundraising program, structured to ensure the continued growth of Northwestern Athletics by providing additional resources to deliver a world-class experience academically, socially and athletically for all Wildcats student-athletes.

The new program is named in honor of the legendary multi-sport All-American Otto Graham, who starred in football, basketball and baseball at Northwestern between 1941-44.

“Otto Graham truly was one of the best student-athletes in Northwestern history, so it’s fitting to honor him and his accomplishments in this way,” says Jim Phillips, Vice President for Athletics and Recreation at Northwestern. “He left a mark on our University in a way that very few have, and the Otto Graham Society will allow individuals to make a similar impact on NU student-athletes for generations to come.”

The Otto Graham Society currently is comprised of 18 charter members, who together have accounted for nearly $3.5 million in new annual gifts to Northwestern Athletics.

“As a Northwestern alum and former student-athlete, I’ve always had tremendous respect for Otto Graham and all that he achieved as a Wildcat, in the NFL and, most importantly, during his military service for our country,” said Northwestern Dan and Susan Jones Family Head Football Coach Pat Fitzgerald. “The increased resources provided by our Otto Graham Society members will have a significant, measurable impact on all 19 of Northwestern’s programs well into the future.”

Each member of the Otto Graham Society pledges to contribute his or her support for a five-year period to Northwestern Athletics. Membership begins with an annual gift of $25,000 and offers a second tier of giving at $50,000 annually. Fifty percent of the contribution will be allocated to the Wildcat Excellence Fund, while the remaining 50 percent may be designated to the athletic area(s) of the donors’ greatest interests.

A 1984 charter member of Northwestern Athletics’ Hall of Fame, Graham also was inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame in 1965 following a tremendous playing career with the Cleveland Browns. Graham quarterbacked his team to 10 championship game appearances, winning seven, and in 1994 was named to the NFL’s 75th Anniversary Team.  

For more information on the Otto Graham Society and other opportunities to support Northwestern Athletics, please call (847) 467-4321 or click here.  

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