Born November 7, 1918, Billy Graham was born to Morrow Coffey and William Franklin Graham and raised on a dairy farm in Charlotte, North Carolina. He grew up during the Depression and learned the importance of hard work.
In 1934, at age 16, Billy Graham made a personal decision to receive Christ as Savior of his life. After finishing High School in 1936, Graham attended Bob Jones College in Cleveland, Tennessee for one semester. In January 1937 he transferred to Florida Bible Institute in Temple Terrace, Florida and graduated in 1940. In 1943 he graduated from Wheaton College in Illinois. While at Wheaton College, Graham met his future wife Ruth McCue Bell. They were married in 1943. After completing his education, Graham pastored the First Baptist Church in Western Springs, Illinois. He became President of Northwestern College in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1947, and served there for 6 years. Following this he joined Youth for Christ.
In 1949, an evangelistic crusade in Los Angeles propelled Graham into international prominence. The following year he founded the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association which was headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, until relocating to Charlotte, North Carolina in 2003.