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ULM Mourns Passing Of Professor And Dean Emeritus Van McGraw, Ph.D.

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Dean Emeritus Van McGraw, Ph.D.

The University of Louisiana Monroe mourns the passing of Professor Emeritus and Dean Emeritus Van McGraw, Ph.D., of Monroe, who died on Jan. 21, 2021. 


For more than 35 years, McGraw’s insight and expertise shaped the university’s business programs into the award-winning ULM College of Business and Social Sciences. 


McGraw joined then-Northeast Louisiana Junior College in 1959 as instructor of Business Administration. From 1962-64, he took sabbatical leave to earn his Ph.D. in Business Administration at LSU. McGraw returned to ULM in 1964, and for the next 12 years served as Professor of Management and head of the Department of Management and Marketing. From 1976 until 1989, McGraw was Professor of Management and Dean of the College of Business Administration. From 1989-1996, he continued as Professor of Management and was Director of the Internship Program. 


ULM President Ronald Berry, D.B.A., was an undergraduate and graduate student under McGraw. 


“Dean McGraw was a visionary. He took the basic business program and propelled it forward at a time when the business world was evolving from paper to computers and from a local view to globalization,” said Berry. “Without a doubt, Dean McGraw was instrumental in building the excellent College of Business and Social Sciences we have today.” 


“We extend our deepest condolences to Dean McGraw’s family. His impact on the university and the community will always be remembered,” Berry said. 


Funeral services are at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, at Mulhearn Memorial Park Mausoleum Chapel, 623 Highway 80, east. The visitation is at 10 a.m. 


In July 2020, the ULM Foundation announced the Dean Van McGraw Endowed Scholarship. An article about McGraw told of the many accomplishments in his life and career. That story follows. 


ULM Foundation announces Dean Van McGraw Endowed Scholarship 


By The ULM Foundation 


Growing up on a rural Louisiana farm where his father worked as manager, Van McGraw believed education and hard work would open opportunities for his life. 


As valedictorian of his class at Northwestern State University, he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration on a scholarship, and a Master of Business Education while working as an instructor. His diligence earned him recognition in the Senior Hall of Fame and as a Distinguished Military Graduate, and he was selected as the Commencement Speaker at his master's graduation. During this time, he began serving his country as a captain in the U.S. Army and would continue serving in the U.S. Army Reserves for 10 years. 


A leader in the College of Business Administration 


In 1959, McGraw joined the University of Louisiana Monroe, then-Northeast Louisiana Junior College, as an instructor in Business Administration. Supported by a Ford Fellowship in Business Administration, he earned his doctorate from Louisiana State University in 1966. He was promoted to Professor of Management and head of the Department of Management and Marketing. 


Ten years later, he was promoted to Dean of the College of Business Administration. McGraw's leadership grew enrollment, earned national accreditation of the undergraduate and graduate programs by the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business, and merited the designation as Louisiana's Small Business Development Center. 


In 1978, the college received recognition by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools with "an outstanding job of developing a quality College of Business Administration." The Master of Business Administration program was awarded a Commendation of Excellence by the Louisiana Board of Regents in 1981 after review by a nationally-recognized team of consultants. 


According to McGraw, the building process involved the setting of yearly goals and objectives as well as meticulous attention to detail, such as answering every letter and phone call. He credited his faculty and the support of the university administration with the success of the program. 


To expand the impact of the college and university, McGraw authored more than 100 papers, articles, and books, served as a leader of community organizations such as United Way and the Ouachita Parish Economic Development Committee. He presented over 75 professional development courses and programs for local corporations on topics such as time management, communication, cooperative education, improving managerial effectiveness, and motivation. 


Dedication to the students 


While these accomplishments were rewarding, his true love was teaching, interacting with the students, and seeing them succeed. During the school holidays, some students could not return home, so he and his wife, Pat, would host them at his home for Thanksgiving or Fourth of July feasts. He noted when a student was absent, and he would call to see if they were ill or needed help making up the assignments. 


His night class students, many of whom had already worked a full day at their jobs, were shocked one evening to see him "eat the chalk" while teaching (before class he placed candy cigarettes on the chalk tray) in an effort to engage their waning attention. Students were impressed with his white 1965 International pick-up truck that he drove and even more surprised when he arrived on campus on his maroon Honda Goldwing motorcycle. 


Former student, Michelle McEacharn, Ph.D., shared, "At an especially pivotal point in my life, when my hopes of ever finishing a degree were virtually nonexistent, Van McGraw noticed me. Unexpectedly and uninitiated, he approached me and changed my life forever … just by noticing who I was and what I could potentially do. His words to me: 'There are doors waiting for you to open them. You need to open them.' Because of him, I did open the door to a college education and multiple degrees. Now, as a ULM accounting professor, I get to carry on his work, transforming lives for students." 


Her story is indicative of many of McGraw's students. 


McGraw retired from administration in 1989 so he could once again focus on teaching students. He served as Director of the Business Cooperative Education Program until 1991 and continued teaching as Professor of Management until 1996. He was named Professor Emeritus of Management and Dean Emeritus in 1991. In 1992, he was selected by Omicron Delta Kappa as an Outstanding Faculty Member in the College of Business Administration. 


Life after the university 


Today, McGraw enjoys his growing family. His wife, Pat, four daughters and sons-in-law, eight grandchildren, and soon-to-be eight great-grandchildren, are blessed beyond measure by his caring guidance, woodworking instruction, and sharing the beauty he sees in nature. 


In recognition of his selfless dedication to students, the Dean Van McGraw Endowed Scholarship has been established in the ULM College of Business and Social Sciences by family and friends. If you would like to share a story or send a note to Dean McGraw, mail it to the ULM Foundation, Attn: Dean McGraw, 700 University Ave, Monroe, LA 71209. He would love to hear from you. 


Contributions may be made to the Dean Van McGraw Endowed Scholarship online at,