A native of Brookline, Massachusetts, Robert K. Kraft
arrived to Columbia University in 1959 and forever influenced the course of
Columbia and football history.
Before becoming one of the most influential NFL owners and
business executives of his era, Kraft had aspirations of starring for the Lions
on the gridiron and was a running back on the freshman squad in 1959. While an
injury cut his football career short, his strong relationship to Columbia and
the sport of football was just beginning.
After graduating from Columbia College in 1963 and
completing business school, Kraft began a tremendous career ascent through
which he became a national icon. After several successful business forays and
acquisitions over the next three decades, he purchased his hometown NFL
Franchise, the New England Patriots, in 1994.
Since then, under Kraft's leadership, the Patriots have
become a model franchise for the National Football League - if not all
professional sports. Since purchasing the team, Kraft's Patriots have won three
NFL Vince Lombardi Trophies as Super Bowl Champions and have won more games,
more playoff games, and more conference championships than any other team in
More importantly, Kraft and his family have continued to
give back to their community. The Krafts have donated more than $100 million
dollars supporting numerous important charities including the Dana Farber
Cancer Center, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston, and his Alma Mater, Columbia
In 2000, Columbia opened the doors to the Kraft Center for
Jewish Student Life, the on-campus Hillel of Columbia University. For his
extremely generous contributions as the Co-Chair of the Columbia Campaign for
Athletics, the University officially dedicated the playing field at Lawrence A.
Wien Stadium as Robert K. Kraft Field in October 2007.
A 1987 recipient of Columbia's John Jay Award and a 2004
recipient of the Alexander Hamilton Medal, Kraft has been honored by nearly
every organization he has touched. He was awarded the NCAA's highest honor, the
Theodore Roosevelt Award, in 2006, and in 2012, the Pro Football Writers
Association bestowed upon him the George Halas Award, Making Kraft the first
NFL owner to be so honored.