Father Michael Graham, president, was recognized by the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio (ULGSO) last Thursday for his commitment to the Cincinnati community during his tenure at Xavier.
The ULGSO honored Graham and five other figureheads in the region at their 27th Glorifying the Lions Ceremony. This annual event highlights leaders over the age of 65 who have distinguished themselves in their personal and professional lives.
Eddie Koen, president and CEO of the Urban League, noted his excitement about this year’s ceremony.
“We are excited to honor this group of Lions. These honorees have done so much to impact the community through their commitment to service and equity,” he said.
Graham was specifically lauded for collaborating with local and regional communities. During his presidency, he established the Community Building Institute as well as the Eigel Center for Community Engagement at Xavier, both of which connect students to service opportunities.
Other honorees include powerhouse funk/R&B duo Bootsy Collins and his wife Patti Collins, in addition to the retired Chairman and CEO of Kroger, Dave Dillion. Rounding out the list are Eileen Cooper Reed, who opened the Cincinnati office of the Children’s Defense Fund, and Dr. O’dell Owens, the President & CEO of Interact Health who is well-known for the installation and success of Cincinnati’s first in-vitro fertilization program.
With a rich 72-year history, the ULGSO is the oldest and largest community-based organization devoted to empowering underserved communities, specifically African Americans. In 2019, the league reached over 18,000 individuals through Workforce Development Training, Youth and Financial Services and community partnerships.
Partnering with Fifth Third Bank, the Urban League aired the ceremony on WLWT on April 8 at 7 p.m. with host Ashley Kirklen.
This award comes about 11 weeks before Graham officially retires. He continues to meet with his successor, Dr. Colleen Hancyz, who will assume the presidency on July 1.