The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

William E. Lowry, Jr.

Share on Social Media

Information about William E. Lowry, Jr.

Profile image of William E. Lowry, Jr.

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Foundation Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Fried Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Aruba
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
2/16/1935
Birth Location:
Chicago, Illinois

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Foundation Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Fried Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Aruba
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
2/16/1935
Birth Location:
Chicago
See how William E. Lowry, Jr. is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

An African American business executive, William Lowry has achieved an iconic status working with the movers and shakers of Chicago. He was born in the city on February 16, 1935, to William and Camille Lowry, who were both postal workers.

Although a product of a working-class environment, Lowry's parents were encouraged by a teacher to enroll him and his brother, James, into renowned private schools in the city. He attended the University of Chicago Laboratory School for elementary school and also attended two years of high school there before transferring to Francis W. Parker and graduating in 1952.

Upon graduation, Lowry enrolled at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, where he received a B.A. in 1956. After graduation, he worked at his high school alma mater, Francis Parker, as an athletic director from 1960 to 1962. In 1963, he began his long and distinguished career in Chicago business, becoming a member of the training program at the Inland Steel Company. During his early years at Inland in the 1960s, Lowry and two other African American businessmen founded the Youth Motivation Program. Bringing men and women from various employment fields to talk to Chicago public school students about career opportunities, the program has addressed more than 1 million students.

By this time, Lowry was also working on an M.S. in industrial relations from Loyola University in Chicago, which he received in 1969. It was also through his work with the Youth Motivation Program that he would be tapped to become the host of The Opportunity Line , a weekly employment program that first aired on Chicago television station WBBM in 1967. The name of the show was later changed to Objective: Jobs , and it aired for twenty-four years.

He would also rise up the ranks at Inland, becoming the company's director of personnel and recruitment before retiring in 1993. In 1994, he became the vice-president of human resources at the Chicago-based MacArthur Foundation, one of the largest foundations in the country. He is the recipient of an Emmy Award and a Peabody Award for his work on The Opportunity Line and has been featured in Who's Who-Black America and Industry . Lowry is married and the father of two children, and he lives in Chicago.

See how William E. Lowry, Jr. is related to other HistoryMakers
Loading...
Click Here To Explore The Archive Today!
  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of William E. Lowry, Jr.'s interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - William E. Lowry, Jr. lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William E. Lowry, Jr. describes his family history
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William E. Lowry, Jr. describes his parents' personalities
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William E. Lowry, Jr. describes how his parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William E. Lowry, Jr. describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William E. Lowry, Jr. describes his childhood personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - William E. Lowry, Jr. describes the Washington Park and Bronzeville neighborhoods during his childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - William E. Lowry, Jr. describes his experience in elementary school
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - William E. Lowry, Jr. describes attending the University of Chicago Laboratory School in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - William E. Lowry, Jr. describes attending the University of Chicago Laboratory School in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William E. Lowry, Jr. describes the reputation of the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William E. Lowry, Jr. describes his experience at Francis W. Parker High School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William E. Lowry, Jr. describes his athletic experiences at Francis W. Parker High School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William E. Lowry, Jr. talks about his high school mentors
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - William E. Lowry, Jr. describes enrolling at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - William E. Lowry, Jr. describes his experience at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - William E. Lowry, Jr. describes his experience at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - William E. Lowry, Jr. describes the controversy surrounding his initiation into the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William E. Lowry, Jr. describes the controversy surrounding his initiation into the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William E. Lowry, Jr. describes the racism he experienced while touring with the baseball team of Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William E. Lowry, Jr. describes the racism he experienced while touring with the baseball team of Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William E. Lowry, Jr. describes the racism he encountered while searching for a job after college
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - William E. Lowry, Jr. reflects on his overall experience at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - William E. Lowry, Jr. describes his experience in the United States Air Force
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - William E. Lowry, Jr. describes being hired as athletic director at Francis W. Parker High School in 1960
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - William E. Lowry, Jr. describes marrying his first wife in Alaska
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - William E. Lowry, Jr. describes being hired at Inland Steel Company in 1962
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - William E. Lowry, Jr. describes the positions he held at Inland Steel Company
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - William E. Lowry, Jr. describes his human resources philosophy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - William E. Lowry, Jr. describes the origin of his Youth Motivation Program in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - William E. Lowry, Jr. describes the origins of his TV show "The Opportunity Line"
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - William E. Lowry, Jr. describes his experience hosting the TV show "The Opportunity Line," pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - William E. Lowry, Jr. describes his experience hosting the TV show "The Opportunity Line," pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - William E. Lowry, Jr. describes being hired at The MacArthur Foundation in 1994
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - William E. Lowry, Jr. describes his experience at The MacArthur Foundation
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - William E. Lowry, Jr. describes the differences in training personnel at Inland Steel Company and the MacArthur Foundation
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - William E. Lowry, Jr. shares his assessment of the achievement gap in the African American community, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - William E. Lowry, Jr. shares his assessment of the achievement gap in the African American community, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - William E. Lowry, Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - William E. Lowry, Jr. reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - William E. Lowry, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - William E. Lowry, Jr. narrates his photographs, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - William E. Lowry, Jr. narrates his photographs, pt. 2