Graceland’s Board of Trustees welcomed SIX NEW MEMBERS at its August 2023 meeting.
These new trustees were recommended by the corporate body of Community of Christ in collaboration with Graceland’s administration and bring a wealth of experience and knowledge from different industries, with one specific thing in common: a passion for Graceland and its students. The Horizons team asked the new trustees about their decision to join the board and what they are most excited for in the upcoming years for the University.
STEVEN E. GRAFFEO, MA, ’80
Graffeo was born in Independence, Missouri, and at a young age was assigned by Community of Christ to French Polynesia where he had the privilege to learn (and achieve fluency in) French and Tahitian.
“I feel gratitude that Graceland was there for me, my wife, my son, my siblings, and my parents and the hope for a future that will include our youngest son. A world without Graceland would be so great a loss. I feel a need to do my part in its continued life and vitality. I’m most excited about being a part of a community committed to addressing the needs of young adults who will create a world that is more caring, more compassionate and a better place for all.”
LOUANN MUIR-HUTCHINSON, MPH, ’77
Muir-Hutchinson is an HR management consultant and human resources executive with experience creating succession plans and high potential development management tracks for leading private for-profit and nonprofit organizations.
“I accepted the nomination to be on the Board of Trustees because it came at the request of some spiritual leaders whom I respect, and it is always an honor to serve. I am very excited to see the focus on the Graceland Experience of radical belonging for students; these students will be positioned to interpret ‘belonging’ for the next generations as they take their place as leaders — not just now but for their whole lives! It’s an honor to help them find their voice as they contribute to good in the world.”
VINCENT E. LEWIS, EdD
Dr. Lewis knew from an early age that he was destined to help others. The satisfaction he found as a middle-schooler doing community improvement and enrichment projects laid the groundwork for his adult life. “I always found it very rewarding and gratifying. That is why I did it then and continue to serve,” he says.
“For me, joining the Graceland Board of Trustees allows me to give back to the university that gave me so much. I also believe that the current students at the university deserve the same experiences I did, and I want to ensure that we are holding true to Graceland’s core values for that to be achieved. What I am looking forward to most is seeing Graceland change and grow with the world around them. With the new pillars that the institution is following, I think gaining more “radical belonging” on Graceland’s campus and seeing what that looks like for the students will really transcend the experience for all students.”
MIKE SEAGRAVES, PhD, ’94
Dr. Seagraves is a third-generation Graceland graduate and a lifelong member of Community of Christ. After completing a bachelor’s degree in Pre-Medical Biology from Graceland, Mike earned a master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Puget Sound in 1997, and a PhD in Global Leadership and Organizational Change from Pepperdine University in 2019.
“For me, serving on the Graceland Board of Trustees is a natural extension of my love for the University and all that it represents. I believe deeply in the power of community that resides at the core of Graceland’s identity, and I am happy to serve in any capacity that will help to strengthen Graceland’s mission in the world. These are challenging times for higher education, and I am excited to see the ways in which Graceland will rise in the face of adversity. The coming years represent a critical opportunity for Graceland to discern and evangelize its unique purpose in the world while simultaneously aligning our strategy and operations in ways that best embody and live that purpose every day. Pressure builds diamonds — and now is the time for Graceland to shine.”
GWENDOLYN HAWKS-BLUE, ’68
Hawks-Blue graduated from Graceland College with a two-year degree, earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Kansas and a Master of Arts in Guidance and Counseling from the University of Missouri in Kansas City.
“As a female person of color with extensive social services experience, I hope to bring a particular perspective to strategic planning which will coalesce Graceland’s mission with the unique needs of its diverse student population — in a way that increasingly supports and inspires a sense of community while preparing for lifelong vocational, relational, and personal success.Transformational Leadership is unique and offers tremendous opportunity for building a sense of personal empowerment for each Graceland student. I am most excited about increased embracing of the Transformational Leadership program by the student population as it is continuously evaluated and revised.”
JIM LYSINGER, MBA, ’86
Lysinger is a third generation Graceland graduate. Not only is it the place he met his wife, Cathy, he considers Graceland his family university, church university, a place where young people of any faith (or not) are welcomed and encouraged to passionately pursue their ambitions.
“There are plenty of places to get an education, but Graceland forms people. It built in me a professional and interpersonal confidence that has served me well in a 30+ year business career. It did the same for my wife, Cathy, as a teacher, and our three children, Ty, Jay, and Haley, as they form their adult lives. Graceland has had such an impact on my extended family that in a way it is family. And when family calls, you lend a hand. Today’s leadership team recognizes a need for Graceland to adjust strategically as the world around it changes (at a pace faster than ever). We can start to see the results of what a very deliberate effort has been to modernize Graceland, while continuing to embrace the core of what has made it such a special place for so long. I’m excited to see that play out, to help guide that strategic plan, and for Graceland to emerge as an example of how to thrive by effectively embracing change.”
Strictly Necessary Cookies
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.
If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.
3rd Party Cookies
This website uses Google Analytics to collect anonymous information such as the number of visitors to the site, and the most popular pages.
Keeping this cookie enabled helps us to improve our website.
Please enable Strictly Necessary Cookies first so that we can save your preferences!