Joe Graves ’70 ’71
B.A. 1970, Rice University
M.ChE 1971, Rice University
MSIA 1973, Carnegie Mellon University
PhD 1978, Carnegie Mellon University
ARA Board term ends: 2025
Get to Know Joe
- What part of serving on the ARA Board are you most excited about?
I love Rice and feel that it had an incredibly positive influence on my life and happiness, as well as those of my daughter, Lindsay Hernandez ‘09 ‘16, and son-in-law, José Hernandez, Jr. ‘10 ‘11. I am thankful for this new opportunity to give back and help Rice become an even more wonderful university. I hope to do so by facilitating communication with any and all students and alumni to understand all needs, concerns and suggestions that anyone may have and then to genuinely seek to address them, seriously and sympathetically to see what might be possible. My ears are open and attentive. I am ready to work with you on anything that might benefit the Rice community.
What is your favorite “Only at Rice” memory or story?
Having attended Rice in the turbulent latter half of the 1960s (think, Martin Luther King assassination, Vietnam War protests, 1968 Democratic National Convention riots & the Chicago Seven, Woodstock, the rise of Feminism, Kent State shootings, the first Earth Day) my experience at Rice was informed by such events, but had a distinctly different tenor. On Friday, 21 February 1969, without ever really interacting at all with the parallel Faculty-Student Presidential Search Committee that it had explicitly asked be formed to work with the Board, the Board unilaterally announced Dr. William H. Masterson, a former Rice faculty member and administrator, as the 4th President of Rice. The announcement immediately evoked disbelief, shock and widespread significant concern that, in addition to the violation of process issues, the appointment was inconsistent with Rice’s adopted 10-year plan, based on first-hand knowledge from Dr. Masterson’s time at Rice. The next morning, I put on my sport coat and tie, gathered at Autry Court with my similarly dressed fellow students and faculty for a “teach-in” to listen to a balanced, rational discussion of the facts surrounding the Masterson Crisis and then, en masse, we marched, entirely peacefully, to Founder’s Court, with banners like “Students and Faculty United” and “It Can’t Happen Here,” to express our displeasure with the Rice Board’s actions. After five days of peaceful protest, including the teach-in, the march, a campus-wide poll, and long hours of discussion between Dr. Masterson and faculty-student representatives, he resigned. (A nice summary of the Masterson Crisis can be found at https://digitalprojects.rice.edu/protests-at-rice/exhibits/show/masterson.) Moreover, the increased interest amongst some of us students (including myself), in what a university should be and how it should be run, which was sparked by those events, gave rise to a new scholarly, salon-style, reading and discussion course called “The University” (sponsored by Jones College, Jones 301) and led by Dr. Allen Matusow. I was fortunate enough to take that course. My experience at Rice around these events was in stark contrast to what was going on contemporaneously on most other college campuses around the country, hence, “Only at Rice.”
- If you could give one piece of advice to Rice students, what would it be?
Use your years at Rice to find a course of study that inspires you to hunger for more knowledge and can prepare you for your life’s work, of course. But, equally important, avail yourself of all that Rice has to offer outside your chosen curriculum. Some examples. Get to know other students with completely different backgrounds from your own. Join a club. Work on a student publication. Attend a play or a concert. Volunteer. Watch for and attend interesting speakers on campus. Take an elective course way outside your major. Put yourself out there and lean into your growth potential as an aware, discerning, genuine, respectful and open human being. Learn who you are as you evolve in a welcoming, diverse community rich with learning potential on a myriad of topics and issues. Much of life is about building and maintaining interpersonal relationships. Rice is a wonderful place to grow your ability to forge and nurture such relationships and develop your network of friends and colleagues.