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Kelley School of Business

Last modified: Thursday, July 22, 2010

Family's $1 million gift to Kelley School will help in attracting and retaining world class faculty

July 22, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A $1 million gift from the Graf family, which includes four generations of Indiana University alumni, will impact the lives of future students attending IU's Kelley School of Business.

Alan and Susan Graf

Susan and Alan Graf

Print-Quality Photo

Alan B. Graf, Jr., executive vice president and chief financial officer of FedEx Corp., and his wife Susan, of Memphis, Tenn., made the gift to endow the Graf Family Professorship at the Kelley School.

This is the couple's second major gift to the Kelley School. In 2002, they gave $150,000 for the school's Godfrey Graduate and Executive Education Center.

"We've got a lot of Kelley grads that work at FedEx, which we're proud of," said Alan Graf. "I learned a tremendous amount there and was influenced by some really terrific professors.

"The Kelley School is turning out people who are probably 20 times more productive than I was when I graduated," he added. "The Kelley School is contributing greatly to improve productivity in corporate America, I can tell you that."

After the death of his father, Alan B. Graf, Sr., on Easter Sunday of this year, he and his wife decided to follow up on their mutual plans to do more for the school and create the professorship.

"I thought now's as good a time as any to help remember him and other members of my family who were Indiana grads and have now left the Earth, as well as celebrate the fact that I have a daughter who graduated from there and I hope someday to have grandchildren that graduate from Indiana," Graf said.

"I think leaving a legacy and giving back to a place that gave you so much is important to do," he added. "Hopefully, it will help someone as much as I was helped when I was at the Kelley School ... We're just really proud to be able to do this and thankful for what Indiana has done for me and my family. It's an important gift from the heart of the Graf family."

Susan added, "The minute I met Alan, I think I knew about his relationship with IU ... I think he realizes that the IU faculty formed him as a young person and made him into a young business person and he has developed from there. He really feels he owes a lot to the school."

Last year, the Kelley School launched an ambitious $60 million capital campaign to transform its facilities for undergraduate students. But Kelley School Dean Dan Smith also stresses there's an ongoing need to attract and retain top teachers and scholars, which the Grafs' gift helps to accomplish.

"To maintain our world class presence requires three fundamental things: the best students, faculty who are productive scholars and dedicated classroom instructors, and facilities that enable us to support innovative teaching methods," Smith said.

"Alan and Susan have long been important contributors to our mission and Alan's father served on our Dean's Advisory Council for many years. Competition to attract and retain faculty talent has never been greater, and their most recent gift of an endowed professorship will insure that we will always have the type of faculty who change the lives of our students and advance business practice through their research."

The first member of Graf's family to earn an IU degree was his maternal grandfather, Col. Harry A. Huncilman, in 1922, whose brother Robert also earned an IU degree in 1929.

His parents also are IU graduates. His father, Alan B. Graf Sr., earned both a bachelor's degree and a M.B.A. at the Kelley School in 1951 and 1954. He went on to become president of American Standard and president and chief executive officer of AKZO Nobel Salt and was inducted into the school's Academy of Alumni Fellows in 1980. He died earlier this year.

His mother, the late Harriet Nell Huncilman, earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education in 1952.

Alan Graf Jr., grew up in Evansville, Ind., but was born in Bloomington while his father was earning his M.B.A. He later returned to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in finance with high distinction in 1975 and a M.B.A. in 1977, both from the Kelley School. He worked for Marathon Oil and RCA before joining FedEx in 1980, where he was named to his current positions in 1998.

Like his father, he also was inducted into the Kelley School's Academy of Alumni Fellows (in 2004), and he now serves on its advisory council.

Alan and Susan's daughter, Bridget, earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from IU in 2003.