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Jack Welch

Jack Welch

Former CEO | General Electric | Class of 1960

Long before he was made a member at Augusta 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,” says Welch, now 81 and retired after serving as CEO and chairman of General Electric for 30 years.

Welch 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.

Campustown looks a lot different than it did back then but not everything has changed. His other favorite memories of his time here revolve around fall football Saturdays (“although they lost more than they won then — as they do now,” he says) and Big Ten basketball at Huff Hall (“where we won more often — except when we played the great Ohio State teams of that era”).