Born in London, England, Raymond F. Kravis grew up in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Shortly after graduating from Lehigh University with an Engineer of Mines degree in 1924, he moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he served as Chairman of the Board of Raymond F. Kravis and Associates, Inc.
After spending a number of years as an independent oil and gas industry consultant, he widened the scope of his operations by incorporating his business in 1962. Through his expertise, the company became one of the country's leading oil and gas consulting engineering firms. His skill in matters of mergers and acquisition completions, estate evaluations, and for example, his innovative use in 1938 of the production oil and gas payment method, has gained him the respect of all those who had selected him and his company to work for them.
Raymond F. Kravis is on the board of numerous community, philanthropic, religious and medical institutions. The latter includes St. John Medical Center Foundation; St. John Medical Center Hospital; Children's Medical Center; Tulsa Psychiatric Center (all of Tulsa); Tulsa Section of the National Conference of Christians and Jews; Indian Nations Council – Boy Scouts of America (Executive Committee); American Jewish Committee (Honorary National Vice-President); and Palm Beach Classic of American Cancer Society (Executive Committee). He is a founder of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and a founding member of Sigma Alpha Mu Fraternity.
Awards and honors
His honors include the Herbert H. Lehman Human Relations Award – the top award of the American Jewish Committee; the Brotherhood Award – National Conference of Christians and Jews; the Sundial Award of the Eye Research Institute of Retina Foundation; the Jacob Goldfarb Medal from Brandeis University; and the Scopus Award from Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Among other honors received by Mr. Kravis are an Honorary Doctor of Engineering Degree from Lehigh University; and induction into the University of Tulsa College of Engineering and Physical Sciences Hall of Fame for his outstanding leadership and significant advancement in science and engineering. He is a Fellow of Brandeis University.
He is a Director of the Bank of Oklahoma and was formerly on the Board of Crane Carrier Industries, Inc. and Wabash Magnetics, Inc. He was a member for approximately 10 years of the Lehigh University National Campaign Cabinet and has made numerous gifts to Lehigh bearing his name, one in particular being the Kravis Auditorium.
A $52 million performing arts center named the Raymond F. Kravis Center of the Performing Arts was built in Palm Beach County, Florida in 1992. A large portion of private donations were contributed by Ray's friends in his honor.
He is also a recipient of the L-in-Life Award given by the Lehigh Club of New York to recognize alumni for outstanding achievements in their professional lives and devotion and service to Lehigh University.
He is a member of Southern Hills Country Club, Meadowbrook Country Club, the Golf Club of Oklahoma, the Tulsa Club and the Summit Club, all of Tulsa; Palm Beach Country Club and the Harmonie Club in New York City.
Mr. Kravis is also a member of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, American Petroleum Institute, Society of Petroleum Engineers of AIME, American Association of Petroleum Engineers and the National Society of Professional Engineers.
Kravis and his wife, Bessie Roberts Kravis were married for 57 years, and they have two sons, George R. Kravis of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Henry R. Kravis of New York City.