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Trustee Graham Denton dies

By Kerry King ('85) Wake Forest Magazine
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University Trustee Graham W. Denton Jr. (’67), who held numerous volunteer leadership roles with the University and the Medical Center during the last 20 years, has died.

Denton died on Jan. 8 in Charlotte following an illness. He was 67. A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Jan. 11 at Myers Park Presbyterian Church in Charlotte.

Graham DentonHe is survived by his wife, Anne, and 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.

Denton was first elected to the University’s Board of Trustees in 2000 and was serving his fourth term. He also served on the boards of directors of Wake Forest University Health Sciences and Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and was recently chair of each of those boards. He was a member of the search committee that recruited Dr. John McConnell as the Medical Center’s first CEO in 2008 and helped lead the integration of the Medical Center in 2010.

Denton 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 Wake Forest’s Charlotte Business School facility the “Graham Williams Denton, Jr. Commons.” He was scheduled to receive the University’s Distinguished Alumni Award in April.

“Even as he became one of the most respected bankers in the state, Graham always found time for his alma mater,” said President Nathan O. Hatch. “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 had also served as president of the Wake Forest Alumni Council and Parents’ Council, and he was a past member of the College Board of Visitors.

In the late 1990s, he and his family established the Graham W. Denton Family Athletic-Academic Excellence Scholarship awarded annually to a student-athlete at Wake Forest. In 2006, they established the Denton Family Faculty Fellowship Fund, which provides financial support for faculty members. They recently established the Anne and Graham Denton Cancer Research Endowment Fund.

A native of Charlotte, Denton graduated from Wake Forest 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.

Denton also served as chairman of N.C. Citizens for Business and Industry and the United Way of Central Carolinas and United Family Services, both in Charlotte.

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