Joan Kroc

Randy Black writes:The reference to the Joan Kroc Institute for Internationals Peace Studies and also the reference to Notre Dame caught my eye. We should be aware that Joan Kroc was the third wife of the McDonald’s founder, Ray Kroc. Her philanthropic donation, $50 million made the Institute for Peace and Justice at San Diego University possible as did a similar donation to Notre Dame which established the Institute for International Peace Studies. And then there was her donation of $200 million to National Public Radio. The list goes on. All from money earned by selling hamburgers.
I was once taking aerial photos of resorts in St. Kitts (St. Christopher) in the southern Caribbean, about 1990. On one hill top, I saw a large mansion shaped like a ‘dollar sign’ ($). I asked the pilot who or what that was about. He said, “Ray and Joan Kroc’s home.” How appropriate. I suppose the architects could not come up with an appropriate design that looked like a Big Mac. Their St. Kitt’s home was definitely “supersized.”
Ray Kroc is an interesting story. At 15, he lied about his age in order to sign up as a Red Cross ambulance driver in 1917. Later he worked as a piano player on live radio at night and sold paper cups to restaurants by day. By age 52, he was selling mixers to restaurant kitchens, was diabetic, suffered from severe arthritis, had lost his thyroid and gall bladder, yet said, “The best was ahead of me.” The year was 1954. By 1961, he bought out the McDonald brothers in San Bernadino, the place that he had been selling his mixers to, so that he could run their operation to his standards.
Today, the Golden Arches is one of the world’s most recognized brands.

RH: A very touching story. San Diego University and Notre Dame are both Catholic, so I suppose Joan Kroc was. Notre Dame has an ecumenical approach, so it is not surprising that it would invite Ramadan to join its faculty. It must have protested against the US refusal to give him a visa.  Support for Bush is more common among less educated Catholics.

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Ronald Hilton 2004


last updated: October 8, 2004