Hamline News

Former President Charles Graham Passes


Former Hamline President Charles Graham passed away after a brief illness on Friday, December 23 in Minneapolis. Graham was a distinguished university educator and administrator in Minnesota and Wisconsin who served as the 16th president of Hamline from 1981-1987.

During Dr. Graham’s time at Hamline, the Hamline Plan was developed, which became a nationally recognized curriculum for its holistic, forward-thinking approach to undergraduate education. The university obtained accreditation for the new Hamline School of Law (now Mitchell Hamline School of Law), and the Master of Arts in Public Administration and Master of Arts in Liberal Studies programs which brought a new focus to the importance of graduate education. Hamline built a $2.5 million theatre in 1983, followed by a $1.6 million track. 

A visitation for Graham is on Wednesday, January 11 at 11 a.m. with the memorial service following at noon at Centennial United Methodist Church in St. Paul. Condolences may be sent to the family via the President's Office at 1536 Hewitt Ave MS-C 1917, St. Paul, MN 55104. The family asks that memorials be given to one of his former universities. 

Graham was born in LaSalle, Illinois, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Illinois in 1950 and earned a PhD in political science in 1955. After a time working for the Naval Department in Washington DC, Graham served as chair of the Social Sciences Department at the University of Wisconsin, River Falls and then dean of arts and sciences at University of Wisconsin, Whitewater. In 1960, he took a two-year sabbatical to serve as legislative assistant to U.S. Senator William Proxmire. In 1971, he became the President of St. Cloud State University in where he served until 1981 when he was named president of Hamline University.

In August 1987, following his retirement from Hamline, he became the vice president of the Minnesota Private College Council and Fund, furthering his goal to “help promote the common interests of the colleges and the cause of private liberal arts education in Minnesota.” He also became head of overseas programs for the state university system of Minnesota during which time he was instrumental in founding Akita International University in Japan, a joint venture between the Minnesota State University system and the government of Japan. His last public service post was as acting president of Metro State University. He was also a past president of the St. Paul Rotary and the recipient of several awards for distinguished service in education and public life.