Carolyn Swartz Bucksbaum

Honored by:Kay Bucksbaum
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Carolyn Swartz Bucksbaum, known by her nickname Kay, was born in Des Moines on February 17, 1929 and was educated at Hubbell elementary and Roosevelt junior and senior high schools in Des Moines. She attended her father's alma mater, Grinnell College, graduating with honors in 1951. She majored in English and journalism and edited the college newspaper.

After a 700-mile bicycle trip in Europe, she worked on the executive training program of the Meredith Publishing Company, met Matthew Bucksbaum of Marshalltown and was married within the year, becoming a homemaker in Marshalltown. A daughter, Ann Louise Bucksbam, was born in 1954 in Marshalltown. The family moved to Cedar Rapids, building the state's first shopping mall in 1955, where a son, John Louis Bucksbaum, was born. In 1959 the family moved to Bettendorf and built Duck Creek Plaza. In 1964 they moved to Des Moines and formed the basis of the publicly-held real estate development company that became General Growth.

Formative experiences for her included summer camp counseling for five years in various parts of the country, a number of American Athletic Union state swimming championships, and continuous membership in the League of Women Voters, from her college days through her life. She served as president of her high school and college swimming groups, president of the League of Women Voters of Scott County, and twice a member of the Board of the League of Women Voters of Iowa. She was president of the Des Moines chapter of the Brandeis University Women's Committee, and president and long-term Board member of the Des Moines Symphony Association. She became a Grinnell College trustee in 1970, and a few years later was the first woman to chair the college board of trustees.

She moved to Chicago with her husband in 2000 and was active in the cultural life of Chicago, serving on the boards of trustees of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  Additionally she co-founded the Bucksbaum Institute for Clinical Excellence at the University of Chicago, also serving on its Humanities Visiting Committee, serving as well as a board member of the Museum of Arts and Design in New York. Becoming active in public broadcasting, she worked as a producer on the public television station in Des Moines and served many years as a trustee of the National Public Radio Foundation.  She also served as chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Aspen Music Festival and School.