"We are humbled…we are honored by this dedication. The word surreal has come to my mind over and over again in recent days." The words of Carol Graham, speaking on behalf of her family, as the University of Kentucky's Gatton College of Business and Economics honored the Grahams' late son, Jeffrey C. Graham, by naming the new Graham Office of Career Management in his memory.
A 2003 graduate of the UK College of Engineering and UK's Army ROTC program, 2nd Lt. Jeffrey Graham died of injuries sustained from both an improvised explosive (IED) and small-arms fire during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004. Lt. Graham is credited with saving numerous lives due to the actions he took at the time of the incident and military officials consider Graham a hero.
Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor who wanted to honor Graham's legacy in a meaningful, practical and ongoing way, a suite of offices on the second floor of the Gatton College building on the UK campus has been completely renovated and newly furnished as an office committed to assisting students in their career development process and employment success.
"We are extremely pleased to dedicate this new career management office in honor of Jeffrey Graham," said David W. Blackwell, dean of the Gatton College. "This office is a critical piece in helping us to take our college to the next level in terms of national and international competitiveness. The Graham Office will directly benefit our students, our alumni, and employers seeking to hire our graduates."
Sally Foster, director of the Graham Office of Career Management, added, "What a great way for the donor and the college to honor this courageous fallen soldier. Jeffrey's leadership, service and sacrifice for his country continue to live on in this significant resource, enabling us to better prepare and develop our future business leaders."
Blackwell pointed out that Foster and the members of her staff work seamlessly with UK's James W. Stuckert Career Center, which serves the entire university. "Our efforts are closely aligned and integrated with the Stuckert Center," Blackwell said. "Our new office enables us to extend services that are more customized and proactive with business students and employers. We are pleased to be able to increase the employment opportunities and success of our Gatton graduates."
Also participating in the dedication ceremony on Friday, April 13, 2012, were Jeffrey's father and Carol Graham's husband, U.S. Army Major General Mark A. Graham.
"The best thing about today's dedication is that the good that will come from this office goes so far beyond Jeffrey," Carol Graham said. "Having a place like this that will help so many people as they take that next step in their lives and careers shows great foresight by the Gatton College and the university. We could not be happier."