John L. Graham

Associate Provost for Student Affairs, University Life

John L. Graham headshot

Dr. John L. Graham serves as Associate Provost for Student Affairs and University Life at the State University of New York System Administration. Prior to this, he served as Provost Fellow for Academic and Strategic Development, supporting the implementation of SUNY’s priority Completion Agenda and as liaison to campuses to support the achievement of SUNY Excels Performance Improvement Plan goals. As well, he assisted with the refinement of student effectiveness and the strategic Enrollment Planning process.

Previously, Dr. Graham served as the transitional Vice President for University Advancement and External Relations at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania. He was the chief development officer, providing strategic and operational leadership for several cross-functional areas such as alumni relations, corporate and foundation relations, government relations, sponsored research and community relations.

Dr. Graham has served on faculty and in senior administrative service, including as Dean and Assistant Vice President for International Affairs. He has served in public universities with unions, in both urban and suburban environments, offering liberal arts and professional degree programs to undergraduate, graduate, traditional and non-traditional students. The lessons he has learned and the experience he has gained at institutions in challenging circumstances have solidified his passion for pivoting higher education to meet the growing competition for traditional and non-traditional students, world-class faculty, and highly talented staff.

Prior to joining Cheyney University, he served as the Chief Executive Officer at the State University of New York – Manhattan Educational Opportunity Center. His tenure at the MEOC allowed him to pursue his interest in working with and providing educational services for the most vulnerable population of students in the Borough – adult learners requiring focused remediation in preparation for college and the workforce. As Interim Dean in the School of Business at Medgar Evers College – City University of New York, he led the successful reaccreditation of a School of Business that had significant challenges. As Assistant Vice President for International Affairs and Associate Dean in the College of Agriculture and Related Sciences at Delaware State University, he created a faculty-led study abroad platform with language and cultural immersion activities across forty-five international higher education partnerships on five continents.  The benefit of those programs exponentially increased the institution’s research and grants portfolio in STEM areas and raised the profile of the university in the global scientific community.

Dr. Graham was a Franklin Fellow at the United States Department of State, served as a Foreign Service Officer, and was selected as a member of its Negotiation Team at the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. He was a member of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Government Relations Council and served on the University Center for Academic and Workforce Development Legislative Committee for state-wide Educational Opportunity Centers. Dr. Graham’s professional travels extend to sixty countries on five continents.

Dr. Graham has a strong commitment to higher education, workforce training, and community development. He has worked with community-based organizations and industry leaders to develop and implement workforce training platforms in key areas, including allied health and vocational programs. 

His doctorate in Agricultural and Extension Education from Michigan State University, Masters in Agricultural and Extension Education from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration have all facilitated his passion to serve as a thought leader and change driver for communities striving for higher education and stronger workforce participation. Dr. Graham has certificates in leadership from the AASCU Executive Leadership Academy, SUNY Executive Leadership Academy, Millennium Leadership Initiative, and Institute for Educational Management and Executive Education at Harvard University.

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