Last October, three months before the distinguished alumnus lost his fight with pancreatic cancer, Wake Forest had a chance to thank Trustee Graham W. Denton Jr. (’67) for his devotion and service to the University.
The University and Denton’s colleagues at Bank of America, where Denton had been an executive, announced that the main reception area at the Wake Forest University Charlotte Center would be named the “Graham Williams Denton, Jr. Commons.” President Nathan O. Hatch announced at the gathering that Denton had been selected to receive the University’s Distinguished Alumni Award. Denton was surrounded by more than 150 of his close friends, colleagues, fellow trustees and family, who honored him at the event.
Denton died on Jan. 8. He was honored posthumously at the Distinguished Alumni Award ceremony. Alumni Council President Elliot Berke (’93) presented the award to Denton’s family.
“Even as he became one of the most respected bankers in the state, Graham always found time for his alma mater,” Hatch said. “He will be especially remembered for his wise and patient leadership as the agreement to establish unified governance at the Medical Center was developed.”
Denton was one of the top bankers in North Carolina and a volunteer leader for Wake Forest for 20 years. He was first elected to the University’s Board of Trustees in 2000 after having served on the College Board of Visitors and as president of the Alumni Council and Parents’ Council.
He chaired the boards of directors of Wake Forest University Health Sciences and Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center during a crucial time and was a member of the search committee that recruited Dr. John McConnell as the Medical Center’s first CEO in 2008. “Graham lived and breathed Wake Forest,” McConnell said.
“There aren’t many people who love an institution as much as Graham Denton loved Wake Forest,” Director of Athletics Ron Wellman (P ’98, ’01) said. “When you lose someone like that, you lose an awful lot.”
The obituary for Graham W. Denton, Jr. as it appears in the Summer 2013 Wake Forest Magazine:
University Trustee Graham W. Denton Jr. (’67), who held numerous volunteer leadership roles with the University and the Medical Center over the last 20 years, died on Jan. 8, 2013, in Charlotte. He was 67.
Denton, who was first elected to the Board of Trustees in 2000, received the University’s Distinguished Alumni Award posthumously in April. In recent years, he chaired both the boards of directors of Wake Forest University Health Sciences and Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. He had also served on the College Board of Visitors and as president of the Alumni Council and Parents’ Council.
Denton, along with his wife, Anne, were generous donors to the University and had established faculty and scholarship funds on the Reynolda Campus and a cancer research fund at the Medical Center. He was also a member of the Samuel Wait Legacy Society.
A native of Charlotte, Denton graduated with a degree in history and earned his MBA from Georgia State University. He spent two years in the Army, mostly as a supply officer in Korea, before beginning his career in banking.
He joined what was then North Carolina National Bank in 1971 and held a number of leadership roles as the bank evolved into NationsBank and then Bank of America. In 2002, he was named president of both Bank of America in North Carolina and Charlotte. Two years later, he was also named market president executive, overseeing about 145 market presidents across the country. He retired in 2007 as president of Bank of America in North Carolina.
Last October, Bank of America colleagues and Wake Forest honored him by naming the main reception area at the Wake Forest University Charlotte Center in his honor.
Denton is survived by his wife, Anne, and three children: Mary Denton Lunsford (’93, PA ’96), Elizabeth Denton Shah-Khan (’97) and Graham “Wills” Denton III (’10). His father, Graham Williams Denton, graduated from Wake Forest in 1930.
Memorials may be made to the Anne and Graham Denton Cancer Research Endowment Fund, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, P.O. Box 571021, Winston-Salem, NC 27157; or to Rumple Memorial Presbyterian Church, 1218 Main St., P.O. Box 393, Blowing Rock, NC 28605.