Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

August 19, 2002

Whitworth to Confer Honorary Degree on Franklin Graham Aug. 23

Recognizing a quarter century of extraordinary relief, development and evangelistic efforts for people around the world, the Whitworth College Board of Trustees has voted to confer an honorary doctorate of divinity on Franklin Graham.

The ceremony will take place at 12:30 p.m. on Aug. 23 in Whitworth's Hixson Union Building Café during a special luncheon honoring organizers for the Inland Northwest Festival 2002 featuring Graham and a lineup of award-winning Christian music artists. The festival runs Aug. 23-25 at Spokane's Joe Albi Stadium. The festival is free and open to the public.

"Whitworth has a mission and a history that reflect Franklin Graham's values of faith, as expressed in his commitment to spreading God's word and meeting the needs of hurting people around the world," said Whitworth President Bill Robinson. "It's an honor for Whitworth College to recognize Graham for a life of service, particularly as we anticipate his message of hope and reconciliation for the Spokane community."

William Franklin Graham, III, born July 14, 1952, is the fourth of five children of evangelist Billy Graham and his wife, Ruth Bell Graham. At age 22, after a period of rebellion and traveling the world, Graham committed his life to Jesus Christ while alone in a hotel room in Jerusalem. Soon after that, Dr. Bob Pierce, founder of Samaritan's Purse, invited Graham to join him on a six-week mission to Asia. It was during that time that Graham felt a calling to work with people in need in areas of the world affected by war, famine, disease, and natural disaster.

Graham was elected to the board of Samaritan's Purse in 1978, and one year later, following the death of Dr. Pierce, he was elected president of the organization. Today, he serves as president and CEO of the organization headquartered in Boone, North Carolina. Samaritan's Purse has an annual budget of more than $150 million and supports offices in Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Kenya and provides relief and assistance in more than 100 countries worldwide.

Graham conducted his first evangelistic event in 1989 and committed to spend 10 percent of his time preaching. Each year, he conducts at least five festivals around the world as an evangelist for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). Since 1989, he has preached to more than 3.5 million people in cities from Johannesburg, South Africa, to Tupelo, Mississippi. Franklin's 2002 festival schedule includes events in San Salvador, El Salvador; Gainesville, Florida; College Station, Texas; Spokane, Washington; and Mendoza, Argentina.

In November 2000, Franklin Graham was appointed CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and remains first vice-chairman of the organization, a position he has held since it was created in 1995. Today Graham also serves as president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Graham has authored several books, including The Name (Thomas Nelson, 2002), Living Beyond the Limits: A Life in Sync with God (Thomas Nelson, 1998), and his autobiography, Rebel With A Cause: Finally Comfortable Being Graham (Thomas Nelson, 1995).

Graham and his wife, Jane, live in the mountains of North Carolina and have four children, William Franklin IV (Will), Roy, Edward, and Jane Austin (Cissie), and one grandchild.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The college enrolls 2,100 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.


For Whitworth, contact Greg Orwig at (509) 777-4580 or gorwig@whitworth.edu.

For Franklin Graham or the Inland Northwest Festival 2002, contact Jeremy Blume at (770) 813-0000 or Suzanne Niles at (509) 466-1305.

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