On April 26, 2021, faculty and staff said farewell to Redeemer’s fourth president, Dr. Robert J. Graham over Zoom. After some comments from Dr. David Zietsma, provost and vice president, academic and Mr. Lloyd Rang, board chair, Graham was presented with a gift on behalf of faculty and staff and then the community “lined up” virtually for an opportunity to speak with him one on one. Graham’s official last day was April 30.
Graham began his tenure at Redeemer in the summer of 2018, a critical time for the university. He quickly jumped into strategic planning as Redeemer faced rising tuition, flat enrolment and challenging demographic trends for the future. During his tenure, Redeemer undertook a tuition and fee restructuring initiative, experienced significant enrolment growth, achieved legislative changes resulting in a name change and greater degree granting authority, launched its new brand and neared completion of a new residence and learning facility.
“It has been a singular privilege to serve Redeemer University these past few years. Although it has been extremely challenging, it has also been very rewarding. I have enjoyed the strong support from the Board of Governors and from members of President’s Council,” says Graham. “Redeemer is a truly unique and special place and the community welcomed me from the beginning. It has been an exciting place to be and much has been achieved through the hard work and dedication of the incredible staff and faculty, especially evident during a year of upheaval. I want to thank the board for their leadership and dedication to Christ-centred university education and I wish the entire Redeemer community all the best. The future at Redeemer is bright.”
He leaves us in a position of strength and forward momentum and Redeemer is simply better as a result of his humble and dedicated leadership.
Known for his humility, Graham was often quick to credit his leadership team for the many successes achieved during his tenure. Faculty and staff will remember Graham’s unassuming presence and collegiality as he made the rounds on campus (pre-COVID) and, together with Mrs. Graham, hosted groups of students for dinner in the dining hall. His steady faith combined with a gentle demeanour provided a calming effect over the past few years of change and pandemic upheaval.
“Bob has been an effective leader and has helped to place the university on a path for continued growth and innovation. He leaves us in a position of strength and forward momentum and Redeemer is simply better as a result of his humble and dedicated leadership,” said Rang. “I have learned much from Bob in my time with him on the board and am grateful for everything he has done for Redeemer. Knowing his love of running, I wish him all the best in this next leg of the race.”
With 13 years of experience in senior leadership in Christian higher education, Graham brought wisdom and experience to his role as president. He holds a PhD in sociology from the University of Cincinnati and a master of gerontological studies from Miami University. Graham has accepted a research position with Miami University in Ohio, close to family.