Class of 1951
Larry Gralla combined his editorial and entrepreneurial skills to mold a trade magazine publishing empire. The business, Gralla Publications — a partnership between Gralla and his older brother, Milton [link to Milton Gralla’s page],, another future Hall of Famer — was the springboard that allowed Gralla to eventually contribute millions to the College in the way of scholarship funds.
In 2002, Gralla and his wife, Yvette (whom he met when they were both students at the College), established the Stuyvesant-CCNY Scholarship Project. It provides funds that help outstanding students from Stuyvesant High School, Gralla’s alma mater, to attend City College. Similar programs were established with the Bronx High School of Science and at Brooklyn Technical High School. In 2006, the Grallas made a gift of an additional $7 million to expand the scholarship programs.
Gralla was born in the Bronx on June 24, 1930. Following his graduation from Stuyvesant, he entered CCNY and joined the staff of The Campus. In 1951, he was sports editor — his immediate predecessor was Hall of Famer Marvin Kalb [link to Kalb’s page] — and he spearheaded coverage of the basketball scandal that enveloped the College that year. At the same time, he was working as a stringer for The New York Times, The Brooklyn Eagle, The Long Island Press and some out-of-town newspapers.
|Larry and Yvette Gralla during a visit to alma mater|
In his senior year, Gralla and his brother formed a fledgling venture called Nationwide Trade News Service. It offered publishers in Chicago and New York access to articles written by local reporters at a going rate of 2 cents a word. For an extra fee, Gralla supplied pictures that he took.
“We’d send an article to Plumbing Contractor News,” Gralla recalled. “If the editor sent it back, he’d know he’d see it the next month in his competitor, so he’d grit his teeth and buy it.”
In 1955, Gralla Publications was born and began producing its own stable of trade magazines. The first was Kitchen Business. It came along when home remodeling was an emerging business and was that industry’s first trade journal. It was followed by trade magazines covering everything from bank systems to health care systems and from jewelry to sporting goods. What helped distinguish Gralla’s magazines from most other trade publications was they were written by journalists, not by people whose background was in the business being covered.
In 1983, Gralla Publications was sold to United Newspapers of London for $44 million. At the time, Gralla published 15 national business and trade magazines, operated eight national and international business and trade shows annually, and had 340 employees. Gralla stayed on as a consultant, advising the company on acquisitions and launching other trade books. Eventually, Gralla Publications produced more than 20 magazines. In 1985, United acquired Miller Freeman, which had merged with Gralla in 1991.