May 23, 2000
EASTON, Pa. - F.M. Kirby, a 1942 graduate of Lafayette College and current Lafayette benefactor, will receive the National Football Foundation's prestigious Gold Medal Award at the Foundation's annual awards dinner on Dec. 12.
The NFF Gold Medal Award is presented annually to "an individual who has demonstrated integrity, achieved success, and carried the basic values taught in amateur sport throughout their professional life." Kirby will join seven U.S. presidents and numerous industry and military leaders as recipients of the award.
An accomplished businessman, Kirby is president and a director of the F.M. Kirby Foundation, an organization supportive of charities of interest to the Kirby family. The Kirby family's remarkable record of philanthropy to Lafayette, which extends from 1920 to the present, includes significant support for the development of the new $26.5 million Allan P. Kirby Sports Center, scheduled to be dedicated June 2.
Kirby's involvement with college football began with his playing career at Lafayette that included an undefeated junior season in 1940. He contributes that firsthand knowledge of amateur football to the National Football Foundation and the College Hall of Fame's board of directors, which he has served on since 1982. Kirby also served as the organization's vice-chairman from 1989-96. In 1997, the NFF honored his service by naming one of its national scholar-athlete awards in his honor.
Kirby's success in athletics went beyond the gridiron. A talented swimmer, he received Sports Illustrated's Silver Anniversary All-American Award, the NCAA's Twenty-fifth Year Citation and the International Swimming Hall of Fame Gold Medal, awarded to a former competitive swimmer who has managed international success in science, art, entertainment, business or government.
Following graduation from Lafayette in 1942 and naval service as a lieutenant in World War II, Kirby completed postgraduate work at the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration. He would later serve as chairman and CEO of Alleghany Corporation from 1967-92 and remains the chairman of the company. Kirby has served as a director of many of the nation's largest corporations, including the American Express Company, the Woolworth Company, Chicago Title Insurance Agency, Cyclops Industries, The Pennsylvania Company, U.S. Industries and over 30 others.
The Dec. 12 awards dinner, which will be held at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, will also feature the induction of 16 new members to the College Football Hall of Fame, a 2000 class that includes such decorated football players as John Elway and Marcus Allen.