Edward Kidder Graham
By asserting that students were able and good, he helped make them able
and good--inspired them to be better than they were. The men associated
with him felt, not that they were working for him, but that he was giving
to them a medium and opportunity for doing in the biggest way the thing
they wanted to do. Around him men felt free.
--Professor Albert Coates said of Graham
Edward Kidder Graham, a native North Carolinian was both a student
and a president at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He
was born in 1876 in Charlotte and gratuated from UNC with a degree in
philosophy in 1894. He participated in tennis, baseball, debate, as well
as being the editor of the Tar Heel.
In 1899, E.K. Graham served as librarian for the University, and then
as an English instructor. He attended Columbia University to get his M.A.
in English, but returned to UNC in 1907 as a full professor of
English. He taught the first course in journalism in the English
Department. He continued his successful rise and became the head of the
department of English and later the dean of the College of Liberal Arts.
In 1913, President Francis Venable took a year's leave for health reasons
and Graham took his place as the university's ninth president.
Graham was popular with both students and other professors. It
was not a surprise that he would be a popular president as well. While he
served his term, he added a dining hall, Swain Hall, a power plant,
Phillips Hall, a new athletic field, and convinced the state to fund the
school. Graham also added more academic departments to the university, such as rural education, rural social economics, dramatic arts and business
administration. During World War I, Graham wanted to serve in the war,
but U.S. President Woodrow Wilson convinced him that he would be
needed more to oversee the university.
E.K. Graham died in 1918, of influenza, and in 1931, the Graham
Memorial Building was erected in his memory as the student union.