NAME — William Franklin “Billy” Graham Jr.
BIRTH — Nov. 7, 1918, near Charlotte, North Carolina
EDUCATION — Bachelor of theology, Florida Bible Institute, 1940; bachelor of arts in anthropology, Wheaton College, Ill., 1943; numerous honorary doctorates.
CAREER — Baptist pastor in Western Springs, Ill., 1943-45. Field representative with Youth for Christ, 1945-49. From 1947 on ran his own campaigns, sponsored after 1950 by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, becoming history’s most-traveled Christian evangelist and speaking in person to more than 210 million people in 185 countries and territories. Multi-media innovator and a key leader in numerous evangelical Protestant organizations and meetings.
HONORS — The $1 million Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion (1982), Presidential Medal of Freedom (1983), Congressional Gold Medal (1996), honorary British knighthood (2001).
WRITINGS — Countless sermons and speeches, daily newspaper columns, 32 books including a best-selling 1997 autobiography “Just As I Am.”
FAMILY — Married Ruth McCue Bell in 1943 (she died in 2007). Children: Virginia (“Gigi”), Anne, Ruth, William Franklin Graham III (“Franklin,” his father’s successor as B.G.E.A. leader), Nelson (“Ned”).
QUOTE — “My one purpose in life is to help people find a personal relationship with God, which, I believe, comes through knowing Christ.”