Senior Advisor for Formation Programs
Rev. Michael J. Graham, S.J. serves AJCU as a senior advisor for formation programs. Immediately prior to this role, he spent twenty years as president of Xavier University in Cincinnati.
Fr. Graham first came to Xavier in 1984 as part of his early Jesuit training and returned in 1989 after his ordination. In 1994, he became a tenured Associate Professor in the History Department; later that year, he was invited by then-President Rev. James E. Hoff, S.J. to lead the University’s Development Office, which he did for five years. After serving as an “executive understudy” to Fr. Hoff for a year, Fr. Graham became Xavier’s President on January 1, 2001. He retired from that position on June 30, 2021.
Fr. Graham’s passion for the specifically Jesuit mission of Xavier animated his presidency in multiple ways. He collaborated with a variety of professionals in the area of Jesuit mission and identity to shape and support Xavier’s Jesuit ethos and heart with faculty, staff and students. Fr. Graham helped found a campus center for dialogue that became a crucial hub for inter-religious conversation in the Cincinnati region, and whose work engaged a wide variety of constituencies and topics in areas of justice, sustainability, and immigration, among others. He likewise championed diversity, inclusion and equity efforts on and off campus, and helped recruit transformative leadership to embed that work firmly within the fabric of the University. His engagement in the local Cincinnati community through United Way, the Cincinnati Police Partnering Center, the Cincinnati Preschool Promise and other organizations set an example for the University and its people to consider their own relationships to the local community and find multiple ways to become engaged, both for the community’s benefit and for student learning and faculty work.
In his retirement from serving as president of Xavier, Fr. Graham looks forward to expanded opportunities for pastoral ministry, especially through various retreats at the Midwest Jesuit Province network of retreat houses, and to assisting Jesuit university trustees and senior executives better understand the Jesuit mission and identity of their schools so as to lead them more effectively and in fidelity to their origins.
A native of Cedar Rapids, IA, Fr. Graham holds degrees from Cornell College, the University of Michigan, and the Weston School of Theology (now the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry). He entered the Society of Jesus in 1978 and was ordained in 1988.