Long before he was made a member at Augusta National or became the best stick in the Fortune 500, Jack Welch used golf as an escape from the rigors of life as a late-’50s grad student at the University of Illinois.
“I loved playing the Orange and Blue Golf Courses from 3-6 in the afternoon to break up the long days in the chemical engineering labs,” Welch told us in 2017, a decade-and-a-half after retiring as CEO and chairman of General Electric.
Mr. Welch, who died Sunday at age 84, went to work at GE in 1960, starting out as an engineer in its chemical development division. That’s the same year he graduated from the UI, with a master’s and Ph.D. in hand.
His other favorite memories of his time here revolve around Big Ten basketball at Huff Hall (“where we won more often than we lost — except when we played the great Ohio State teams of that era”) and football at "Memorial Stadium on a nice Saturday afternoon.
"Although they lost more than they won then ... it was still great fun," he told us. "Also loved the road trips to Madison, Evanston and West Lafayette."