Brad Bradley Internship Fund
Why I give: William F. (Brad) Bradley Jr., C’77, L’80
Since my high school days, the population in the US has increased by 54%. This puts increasing pressure on our natural resources, as well as our social structures. Despite the ebbs and flows of political turmoil in the US and the world, I firmly believe that more rules, not fewer—and sensible, reasonable ones-- will be needed for us all to live peaceably together, while protecting our air, soil, and water. I also know that many worthwhile organizations would benefit from help from bright, energetic, talented and committed KU undergraduates. It is my hope that you as an undergraduate will benefit from working in the real world with organizations that deal with some of the most important issues of our day.
I’m retired now, after co-founding a company that, as of my retirement at the end of 2015, had annual revenues over $300 million, market capitalization of over $1 billion, and annually processed over $25 billion in government transactions. It has been featured on the Forbes’ Magazine list of “100 Best Small Companies in America” for six consecutive years, Barron’s 400 Index for four consecutive years, and been twice consecutively named a Kansas City Business Journal “Champion of Business.” Now I spend my time managing and improving 2100 acres of pasture, woodland, and cropland, and working with several philanthropic and volunteer organizations. I have remembered KU in my estate planning as well.
My grandfather was the first (and only person) in his family to attend college—KU. He washed dishes in Greek houses and hauled potatoes for sale from Lawrence to his hometown, among many ways he found to fund his education, in order to graduate—in 1917. He also once hopped a freight train to Columbia MO to watch the Jayhawks play football. I still have a term paper he wrote on newly-elected President Woodrow Wilson, as well has his daily diary. He returned to his small Kansas town where he became school superintendent. They called him “The Professor.” His dream to return to KU for a master’s degree and become a real history professor was sacrificed to his mother’s need for him to operate the family farm, but he made sure all six of his children got two degrees apiece—most at KU. My parents attended a different university, as did all four of my siblings. But I grew up in Lawrence and KU was a constant source of enrichment to my public school education. My classmates were sons and daughters of KU faculty and staff. Many of my teachers were spouses of KU grad students. I became the only member of my immediate family to graduate from KU. I was an honors student every undergraduate semester I was there. I was SBA Forums Chairman, and a member of several honors societies. I participated in the Pearson “college within a college” which followed a “Great Books” tradition. I took no fewer than 18 and as many as 21 hours each semester and loved every minute. I think I could have happily pursued a dozen different undergraduate degrees, though I chose English Literature (and three minors). From Western Civilization, to Kansas Plants, to Army ROTC, KU provided a strong and deep foundation for my career and provided a context and perspective that I use every day for which I remain grateful.