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Stedman GrahamChairman and CEO of S. Graham & Associates, to Receive 2022 Horatio Alger Award 

Horatio Alger Association names 16 outstanding individuals, each of whom has overcome adversity to achieve professional and personal success, to its Member Class of 2022 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc., a nonprofit educational organization honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals and encouraging youth to pursue their dreams through higher education, today announced that, Stedman GrahamChairman and CEO, S. Graham & Associates (SGA), has been selected for membership in this prestigious organization. Mr. Graham joins 15 other exceptional business, civic and cultural leaders from across North America in receiving 2022 honors. For more than 70 years, the Horatio Alger Award has been annually bestowed upon esteemed individuals who have succeeded despite facing adversities, and who have remained committed to higher education and charitable efforts in their communities. 

Born in Whitesboro, New Jersey – a community founded in 1901 by George H. White, a former Congressman during the Reconstruction era, Booker T. Washington and Paul Laurence Dunbar – Mr. Graham was the third born of six children, two of whom had special needs. His father was a house painter and his mother stayed at home with the children during the day, working long nights. Mr. Graham attended Hardin-Simmons University on a basketball scholarship and became the first member of his family to finish college in 1974. After completing his bachelor’s degree in social work, he received a master’s degree in education from Ball State University. Since that time, he has received three honorary doctorates. Mr. Graham also served in the U.S. Army and played professional basketball in the European League. 

Mr. Graham began his career at B&C Associates, a strategic consulting firm founded by Robert J. Brown in 1960. Mr. Brown is a pioneer in multi-cultural communications, crisis management and race relations representing several of America’s largest companies. B&C is the oldest minority-owned public relations and consulting firm in the country. Mr. Graham’s early work at the company was focused on South Africa. Years later, Mr. Graham founded S. Graham & Associates, his own marketing and consulting company based in Chicago specializing in identity leadership training for corporate and education markets. SGA offers keynotes, seminars and curriculum on the topic of identity leadership. He is the author of 12 books including several New York Times bestsellers. His most recent book, Identity Leadership, is based on the philosophy that you cannot lead others until you lead yourself. Actively involved in education, Mr. Graham currently travels domestically and internationally as a distinguished visiting professor for various universities, schools and colleges. Throughout his career, he has built a strong reputation in helping corporations, organizations and individuals succeed. 

“Stedman Graham’s life’s work has inspired and encouraged thousands of young men and women to strive to understand who they are and create an identity for themselves,” said Terrence J. Giroux, executive director, Horatio Alger Association. “Through his widely read books, powerful speeches and many acts of generosity, he demonstrates for us all how to live in service to others. We look forward to welcoming Stedman as a Member.” 

Mr. Graham is passionate about developing leaders and lifting up underserved communities. In 1985, he founded Athletes Against Drugs (AAD), which provides health, fitness and sports curriculum for youth. AAD is based on Chicago but has programming around the country in coordination with various teams and athletes. In 1986, at a charity event, Mr. Graham met Oprah Winfrey. The two have been together ever since. Mr. Graham also established the Leadership Institute of Chicago to empower young people to become strong leaders and serves on various boards, including Junior Achievement.  

“I have witnessed the extraordinary work of the Horatio Alger Association for many years,” said Mr. Graham. “As a new Member of this organization, I hope to utilize the lessons I have learned throughout my life to teach Scholars how to understand who they are through identity leadership principles, which are based on the philosophy that you cannot lead others until you first lead yourself. I look forward to working with the Association to empower young people to create a better America.” 

Thanks to the generosity of its Members, the Association awards need-based scholarships to outstanding high school students who are committed to pursuing higher education and giving back to their communities. The Association also educates young people about the limitless opportunities afforded to them by the free-enterprise system through hard work, honesty and determination. Like Association Members, Horatio Alger Scholars have faced significant adversities, but have also displayed unmatched resilience in overcoming their challenges. Since the scholarship program was established in 1984, the Horatio Alger Association has provided more than $235 million to 35,000 students in need, all of which has been funded solely through the generosity of Association Members and friends. 

Mr. Graham and the Member Class of 2022 will be formally inducted into the Association on April 7-9, 2022, during the Association’s 75th Horatio Alger Award Induction Ceremonies in Washington, D.C. The annual three-day event honors the achievements of both Members and National Scholars, affording both groups the opportunity to meet and interact as well as exchange stories of hardships and triumphs. 

For more information about Horatio Alger Association and its Member Class of 2022, please visit and follow the organization on FacebookTwitter and Instagram


About Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans:  

Founded in 1947, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc. is dedicated to the simple but powerful belief that hard work, honesty and determination can conquer all obstacles. The Association honors the achievements of outstanding leaders who have accomplished remarkable successes in spite of adversity by bestowing upon them the Horatio Alger Award and inducting them as lifetime Members. Horatio Alger Members support promising young people with the resources and confidence needed to overcome adversity in pursuit of their dreams through higher education. Through the generosity of its Members and friends, in 2020, the Association awarded more than $21 million in undergraduate and graduate need-based scholarships to 2,500 students across the United States and Canada and provided college support and mentoring services to its Scholars. Since 1984, the Association has awarded more than $235 million in undergraduate, graduate, military veteran and career and technical education scholarships to more than 35,000 deserving students. For more information, please visit