Posted on Jun 28, 2007


William R. Grant ’49

William R. Grant ’49, venture capitalist, investment banker, philanthropist and longtime Union benefactor whose name graces the Office of Admissions, died April 15, 2007 after a year-long battle with metastatic melanoma. He was 82.

Grant earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Union and a master’s degree in economics from New York University in 1960. He received an honorary degree from Union in 1983.

He was named trustee emeritus in 1992 after 18 years of service on the College’s Board of Trustees. In 1999, Union presented him with the Alumni Gold Medal for distinguished service to the College.

“I know I speak for many when I express my deep appreciation for Bill Grant’s service, dedication and generosity to this College through the years,” said President Stephen C. Ainlay. “It is people like Bill who embody Union’s spirit and its values.”

Said Dominick F. Famulare ’92, director of Alumni Relations: “We have lost a loyal son of Union who will surely be missed by all who knew him.”

Grant had a half century of experience in the investment banking and risk-capital fields. He was the vice chairman and co-founder, in 1989, of Galen Partners in New York City, a $1 billion venture capital firm focusing solely on the health care industry. Galen has financed and assisted in the development of some 45 health-care companies.

“The firm has helped me to create interesting medical devices, services and drugs for society,” Grant said in a 2003 interview. “I like building effective management teams. I’ve always had a diverse intellectual curiosity, an eclectic curiosity.”

Grant served for 24 years as a director of SmithKline Beecham, the pharmaceutical manufacturer (now Glaxo SmithKline) and was president and vice chairman of Smith Barney Inc. He also served as chairman of New York Life International (1987-89) and president and chairman of MacKay-Shields Financial Corp. (1979-87).

“Bill Grant was extremely knowledgeable in health care and had a vast knowledge and understanding of the business world,” said partner Toby Wesson. “He was an inspirational leader with great wisdom.’

At Union, Grant was a member of the Delta Upsilon fraternity. He also played basketball and lacrosse. Among his most memorable moments, he said, were making the winning basket against Trinity in his last basketball game and going on lacrosse trips. “Coach Fred Wyatt always thought we were better than we were,” he said. “We lost one game 23-0. Unfortunately, I was the goaltender.”

Grant created several endowed funds at Union, including two in his name – one for Building & Grounds and the other for Athletics – as well as the William V. and Adelaide M. Grant Memorial Scholarship in memory of his parents. He also funded the renovation of Grant Hall (the former Alpha Delta Phi fraternity) to house the College’s Office of Admissions.

His philanthropy included many other educational causes. He donated substantial time and funds for support of inner city schools and created a grant for poetry. “The best way to communicate with children is poetry,” he once said. “They come out of their shadows, but you must participate.”

Grant played tennis, squash and golf. He liked to read histories.

He is survived by his wife, Adele (Reilly); three daughters, Deborah Grant and Elise Grant Seeley Lauinger; a son, Byron A. Grant; and two grandchildren, Jeremy Deschapelles Seeley and Molly Hall Seeley. He was predeceased by his wife of 43 years, Dorothy Annetta Grant; a son, Gregory Scott Grant; and a daughter, Melissa Grant Davis.


Albert K. Hill ’48

Albert K. Hill ’48, a retired corporate lawyer, civic leader, decorated World War II veteran and longtime supporter of Union College, died Jan. 2, 2007 in Buffalo. He was 82.

Hill was born in Scotia, N.Y. and upheld a family tradition dating back to 1795 by enrolling at Union College in 1942. After his freshman year, Hill joined the U.S. Army and during the D-Day invasion in June 1944 the landed at Normandy.

During the battle for the railway bridge at Remagen, which opened the Allied invasion of Germany in 1945, Hill suffered a severe leg wound. He was awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart. He returned to Union and completed his bachelor’s degree and by 1951 had earned a law degree from Harvard University and started a long career as a Buffalo area lawyer.

Hill was an active supporter of Union College and in 1991 was given the Alumni Council Gold Medal for service to the College. In 1999, Hill and wife, Perrie, endowed the John Calvin Toll 1799 Community Day for incoming freshman. The event was renamed after Toll in 2000 and is staged each year during orientation to encourage new students to become volunteers. The Rev. John Calvin Toll, a member Union’s first graduating class, was Hill’s great, great grandfather.

. "We believe that the experiences from this activity will carry over beyond graduation and enrich not only those they serve but also the volunteers," Hill told this magazine in 2000.

Hill was a proud member of the College literary society, Alpha Delta Phi, said son Karel Hill ’73.

“In the 1960s, dad was able to interview many applicants, which he took a great deal of pleasure in doing,” Karel Hill said.

In Buffalo, Hill helped lead the transition of the Community Chest into the United Way, which named him it’s 1990 Man of the Year. Hill helped the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society plan the 2001 Pan-American Exposition centennial celebration. He also had lived in East Aurora, near Buffalo, where he served as a school board president and a volunteer firefighter.

Surviving are his wife of 56 years, Perrie, and two sons, David Hill and Karel Hill ’73. Albert Hill’s father, Dudley Toll Hill, Class of 1907, served as managing editor of the Schenectady Gazette for 38 years.


William W. Mulvey ’38

William W. Mulvey ’38, a retired New York City advertising executive who served on the College’s Board of Trustees from 1970 to 1978, died on Dec. 29, 2004. He was 88.

After a four-year stint in the U.S. Army in World War II, Mulvey began his career in public relations. He began as a copywriter and eventually reached executive-level positions at two public relations firms in New York City including McCann-Erikson, Inc. Mulvey was the father of two sons, Chris and William, and is survived by wife, Marcelle. The family lived for many years in New Canaan, Conn.

 During his time at Union in the late 1930s, Mulvey was an active in the theatre group, the Mountebanks, said son Chris Mulvey. After Mulvey’s death, the family was surprised to find Schenectady Gazette newspaper reviews among Mulvey’s personal records, according to the son. Mulvey was also a columnist at the Concordiensis, an editor of the literary magazine Idol and member of Delta Upsilon fraternity.

“His period as a student at Union had a great deal to do with his success,” said Chris Mulvey. “We were surprised to see the extent of his acting at Union. In fact, he had the lead in a number of plays. He had seriously considered becoming a professional actor.”

Mulvey grew up in Schenectady near Union College and, as a boy, attended the Christian Brothers Academy in Albany. His father, Peter J. Mulvey, was an engineer and Edison Pioneer at General Electric.

Mulvey spent much of his retirement years raising money for the Archdiocese of New York and was a lay leader of the church organization. Much of his money raising effort went to support Catholic schools in New York City.

“In his latter years, after he retired, he devoted himself to raising funds for various schools and charities in New York City,” said Chris Mulvey. “He often said he felt that he owed his success later in life to his time at Union.”

Mulvey also co-founded Horizon Communications, which owned eight radio and television stations in three states. He served as company chairman in the late 1970s. Mulvey also co-founded the Hatteras Yacht Company, based in North Carolina.