We are all created in God’s image, the Scriptures tell us, and it’s a message University President Michael J. Graham, S.J., takes to heart—and puts into action. In his nine years at the University, Graham has led a number of initiatives that have made the University—and, in some cases, the city of Cincinnati and the nation—more inclusive and more open to all people regardless of ethnic, racial or religious backgrounds.
And his efforts are being recognized. In October, Graham was given the Tree of Life Award from the Jewish National Fund—the highest award bestowed upon an individual by the organization. That honor came just weeks after he accepted a community outreach and partnership award on behalf of the University from the Cincinnati chapter of the NAACP.
One of Graham’s first initiatives after he become president in 2001 was the creation of a “University as Citizen” plan in which Xavier became more integrated into the local community. (To read more about Graham’s efforts and accomplishments in this area, see the story in the President’s Report in the back of this issue.)
“Father Graham’s life work is an example of what the Tree of Life Award is all about,” says JNF President Stanley Chesley. “As president of Xavier University, he demonstrates his skill as an amazing leader of the student population. He is also a great interdisciplinary leader caring about each and every member of the human community at large, expanding borders at every opportunity. He is a warm and gracious testament to American-Israeli friendship.”