The Forum | Philanthropy

In Memoriam: Robert H. Malott

April 17, 2018

ACTA is saddened by the recent passing of Robert H. “Bob” Malott, a renowned businessman, committed public servant, and dedicated philanthropist. Mr. Malott first attended the University of Kansas at the age of 16 to study chemistry and play basketball. After a year, he left the university and enlisted in the United States Navy to serve on an electronics repair ship during the Second World War. After the war, he returned to the University of Kansas to finish his undergraduate degree and would go on to earn an MBA from the Harvard Business School and attend New York University Law School.

Mr. Malott worked on the faculty of the Harvard Business School for two years, before joining FMC Corporation in 1952; he became the CEO of FMC Corporation in 1971. His retirement from FMC in 1991 marked the end of an astounding two decade tenure during which he guided the company through global growth and leadership challenges, and pioneered innovative debt strategies in the 1980s to avoid takeover. Mr. Malott also served on multiple corporate boards including Amoco, Continental Illinois Bank, and United Technologies.

Public service in local and national politics was of the utmost importance to Mr. Malott, who served as the finance chairman for James R. Thompson’s three terms as Illinois governor.

Through his philanthropic work, he served a number of notable companies, charities, and organizations, including the Hoover Institution, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), and the National Academy of Sciences. He was also a trustee at the University of Chicago and the Aspen Institute.

Mr. Malott is survived by his three children and extended family members. ACTA is extremely grateful for his decades of public service and private sector leadership. As a steadfast supporter of our work, he ensured that we were able to continue our pursuit of a more affordable and effective American higher education. May he rest in peace, remembered for his invaluable experience and insights into both public and private life.


Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

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