25 Years of Service: Randy Graves
Founding Director, Bridge to Success Program
Randy Graves has dedicated his career to Adventist education—first as a K–12 teacher and administrator and, for the last 25 years, as a valued employee of Andrews University. Randy has served Andrews University in many capacities—as coordinator of the Andrews University/Griggs University program and, eventually, as the vice president for Enrollment Management. Currently, he is the founding director of the Bridge to Success Program, a program designed to make admission to Andrews University accessible to more students and to support those students once they arrive on campus. Randy acts as advisor, teacher and coach to these students—roles that are comfortable to him because he has performed these same functions for generations of academy students, and for the student workers, recruiters and staff members who have reported to him over the years.
Randy is a gentle, kind and loving person. No one can ever remember him being cross or meanspirited. I think the best way to understand what Randy Graves has contributed to Andrews during his 25 years is to let his colleagues share their experiences:
From Stephen Payne: I was happy to have a front row seat…and to see how Randy combined a passionate commitment to the relational aspects of working with others (both on campus and throughout the territory Andrews serves; I often call him, with great affection and respect, “Uncle Randy”) but also to the details and processes that were required to make all of that work—and to make it work even better. That combination of skills is rare, and I and Andrews University consistently were blessed by what vision, passion and purpose Randy brought to his job.
It's been exciting to see this latest chapter in his life, too, where he focuses on inspiring and transforming the lives of students who might not otherwise be admitted to Andrews...but who show potential. “Uncle Randy” has shown the passion to do that careful work, and best of all, to have great success with exactly the kind of “student with potential” that Andrews University seeks to inspire. Randy now walks alongside and carefully leads those students to success, just as he did in a variety of leadership roles he fulfilled and transformed while he worked in Enrollment Management.
Again, on a purely personal level, I’m a better person because of the journey that Randy and I have shared, beginning decades ago over a pivotal meal at a Mexican restaurant, a great setting to build community and vision.
From Tony Yang: Humility is a big part of Randy’s character. There were plenty of situations when arrogance and self-centeredness would have been acceptable—maybe even expected—but he rose above that and led with a humble spirit. I greatly admire that sort of strength.
From his colleagues in the Department of Teaching, Learning & Curriculum: Randy has been a blessing to the TLC department. His knowledge, experience and insight in various educational settings has benefited our faculty and students. Randy’s positive attitude, godly spirit and engagement with his students is just one of the many reasons that he is a good advisor and teacher. It is enjoyable to see his students come to his office on a regular basis to seek guidance, wisdom or just for some support. I have enjoyed Randy being a part of our faculty and sharing his love for education.
President Luxton, who was Randy’s supervisor for many years, told me that Randy is “unshakeable, like a dog with a bone, when he believed something should happen but always for someone else—not for himself.”
Unshakeable is a good word for someone as steadfast and committed to doing the right thing as Randy is. I have had the pleasure of knowing Randy for many years—first when he was teaching in the Columbia Union and then as he began his work for the Andrews University/Griggs partnership. The number of students taking courses during Randy’s time as adviser/coordinator doubled and Randy knew who those students were. He cared about them. If I had a question about anything or anyone, Randy would know the answer or he would find it, because he really did care about every person he touched. He has brought that same care, and patience, and, yes, love to the students he advises in Bridge to Success.
Thank you, Randy, for 25 years of patient, loving service to Andrews University.