Bob Graham, who served Florida as its governor and as a U.S. Senator, will deliver this year’s commencement address at Monmouth College on May 12.
Graham served as the 38th governor of Florida from 1979 to 1987, followed by an 18-year term as senator. He was a candidate for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination and was considered as a possible running mate for both Al Gore and John Kerry.
The son of a Florida state senator, Graham was first elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1966. At retirement, he had served 38 consecutive years in public office. His campaign trademark was to work a full, eight-hour day at various jobs that represented Florida’s constituents. He began his “Workdays” in 1974, teaching a semester of civics at Carol City Senior High School in Miami while serving in the Florida Senate. He totaled 386 such workdays in his career.
As governor, Graham emphasized education and placed a focus on improvement of the public universities in the state. By the end of his second term, the state university system was among the first quartile of state systems in America and Florida’s public schools and community colleges had substantially improved their academic standing.
As a result of his service as the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Graham authored the 2004 book “Intelligence Matters: The CIA, the FBI, Saudi Arabia and the Failure of America’s War on Terror.” Five years later, he published “America, The Owner’s Manual: Making Government Work for You,” a book that aims to inspire and teach citizens how they can participate in their democracy in effective ways. That message ties directly into Monmouth College’s emphasis on inspiring students to lead and serve society using democratic principles.
Graham now concentrates his efforts on the newly established Bob Graham Center for Public Service at his undergraduate alma mater, the University of Florida, where he received a degree in political science in 1959. He went on to receive an LLB from Harvard Law School in 1962.
Graham also serves as chairman of the Commission on the Prevention of WMD proliferation and terrorism and advocates for the recommendations in the commission report, World at Risk.