Don Graham

 Don Graham

One of the things Don Graham remembers most vividly about the opening of the University of North Florida in 1972 was the emphasis that was placed on helping students.


Graham came to UNF from the University of Houston where he had earned a bachelor's degree and master's degree in business administration. He wasn't even aware of the new Jacksonville university, until he was contacted by Dr. Warren Rose, who had been his department chairman at the University of Houston and was himself recruited to UNF to chair the Department of Transportation and Logistics.


Graham, who was working in private industry at the time, decided the prospect of helping to start a new university was more exciting. He came to UNF as a instructor/academic adviser. "I remember that the academic vice president at the time wanted to emphasize student advising. About 20 of us started in July and received a full month of training about advising. I still remember the first students we advised, I was scared to death."


Graham and the other advisers soon learned how to juggle teaching and student advising responsibilities. "There was a real effort to make advisers available to all students. I think part of the reason for the emphasis was because so many of us had horrible advising experiences when we were students."


Eventually, Graham was reassigned to graduate advising in the College of Business Administration. He held a number of positions including interim director of records and registration and interim director of graduate studies. Graham received his doctorate of education from the University of Florida in 1986.


One of Graham's pet projects has been the weekend MBA program, which recently graduated its first class of 24 students. The weekend MBA program is a cohort program, meaning the same students go through the same courses at the same time. "The students interacted well together and established strong ties with one another. It's been a very satisfying experience watching the program grow," he said.