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Wheaton College Alumnus Billy Graham: 1918-2018

February 21, 2018

Wheaton College alumnus Rev. Dr. Billy Graham has died.Billy Graham side view

A 1943 anthropology graduate of Wheaton College, Graham began his ministry as a student through both on-campus ministries and other outreaches. He was a member of the Foreign Missions Fellowship group and served as President of the Christian Council. His senior year, he also served as pastor of a local church, United Gospel Tabernacle.

During his time at Wheaton, Billy Graham met his future wife, fellow student Ruth Bell. They married after graduating in 1943 and began their life of ministry together.

Billy Graham served his alma mater as a trustee from 1963 to 1990. He received an honorary doctorate from the College in 1956.

Dr. Philip Ryken, president of the College, said Graham will be remembered for his humility, transparency, simplicity and integrity. “Billy Graham proved faithful to the end as a ‘prophet with honor,’” Ryken said. “I was just starting high school when the Billy Graham Center was dedicated and Billy Graham preached to a huge crowd on Wheaton’s front campus. I was there that day, sitting on a picnic blanket and listening to Dr. Graham preach the gospel he loved to proclaim—the good news of forgiveness for sin and the free gift of eternal life through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Like countless others who heard Billy Graham preach, I re-committed my life to Christ.” 

“The Wheaton College family worldwide grieves his death with members of the Graham family and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association team, and rejoices with them that this beloved servant of the Lord has completed his journey and is at home with his Savior,” Ryken said.

UPDATE — February 27, 2018 at 11:15 a.m.

The Wheaton College community will honor the life and legacy of noted evangelist and alumnus Billy Graham with a public memorial service on campus on Friday, March 2, at 11 a.m.

The service will include a live stream of the official Billy Graham Memorial Service from Charlotte, N.C., congregational singing, and a performance by Wheaton's Concert Choir.

The service will take place in Edman Memorial Chapel, located on the corner of Washington and Franklin streets in Wheaton (campus map). Doors will open at 10:30 a.m. It is free and open to the public, and tickets are not required.

For more information, please call 630.752.5010. Media may request a credential by e-mailing media.relations@wheaton.edu


UPDATE — February 21, 2018 at 4:00 p.m.

A special memorial photo exhibit featuring Billy Graham opens at Wheaton College’s Billy Graham Center Museum on Friday, February 23. The museum will be open with the extended hours of 10 a.m.–7 p.m. through Saturday, March 10.

Billy Graham’s legacy of evangelism continues at Wheaton College through the work of the Billy Graham Center. More information about its initiatives to see a world transformed by the gospel is available at wheaton.edu/BGC.

More information about Billy Graham’s time at Wheaton College, including photo galleries, an obituary and guestbook, and information about campus remembrances can be found at wheaton.edu/billygraham. Information about about his ministries is available at billygraham.org.

Wheaton College

Wheaton College (Wheaton, Ill.) is a coeducational Christian liberal arts college noted for its rigorous academics, integration of faith and learning, and consistent ranking among the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Find out more information here.