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Seated three-quarter portrait of Thomas Graves, dress in red and black regalia

William & Mary President: Thomas Ashley Graves, Jr.
Term Served: September 1, 1971 - January 9, 1985
Preceded by: Davis Young Paschall 1960 - 1971
Succeeded by: Interim President George R. Healy 1985 / President Paul R. Verkuil 1985 - 1992

Thomas Ashley Graves, Jr. was the twenty-third president of William & Mary. He served from September 1, 1971 until January 9, 1985. Graves announced his resignation in November 1983, with an original effective date of July 1985. In November 1984, he changed that date to January 1985, after accepting the directorship of the Winterthur Museum in Delaware. Upon his resignation George R. Healy acted as interim president until Paul R. Verkuil assumed the role of president on July 1, 1985.

Graves graduated from Yale University in 1947 with a bachelor's degree in economics, after suspending his studies after his freshman year to serve in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He then went on to Harvard University, completing a master's in business administration in 1949 and a doctorate in 1958.

From 1950 to 1960, Graves held a faculty position at the Harvard business school. In 1960, he moved to Lausanne, Switzerland to become the director of the IMEDE Management Development Institute. He was named the associate dean of the Graduate School of Business of Stanford University in 1964, and also served as the director of Stanford's International Center for the Advancement of Management Education. Graves returned to Harvard from 1967 to 1971 as the associate dean of the Graduate School of Business Administration.

Graves served on advisory boards for a variety of schools and businesses, including Transylania University, Clark University, Reynolds Metals Company, and Life Insurance Company of Virginia. He is also the author of many articles on the management of education and management education.

After leaving William & Mary, Graves became the director, CEO and a member of the Board of Trustees for the Winterthur Museum and Garden in Wilmington, Delaware until 1992. From there, he served as the director of the Grand Opera House in Wilmington as well as a member of the Educational Board of MBNA America Bank. Graves retired in 2004, and moved back to Williamsburg with his wife, Zoe. The Thomas Ashley Graves, Jr. Award honors President Graves.

In 1988, the Board of Visitors named him President Emeritus. At Charter Day 2015, the university bestowed an honorary degree on him. President Graves passed away on June 17, 2016.

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A note about the contents of this site

This website contains the best available information from known sources at the time it was written. Unfortunately, many of the early original records of William & Mary were destroyed by fires, military occupation, and the normal effects of time. The information in this website is not complete, and it changes as we continue to research and uncover new sources.