A native of Rhode Island, Dr. Draves earned a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from Mount Holyoke College and a PhD in Biophysical Chemistry from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana in 1991. She then completed a post-doctoral fellowship at University of Texas at Austin where she began her interest in studying chemotherapy drugs.
In 1993, she joined the faculty at the University of Central Arkansas as an assistant professor where she was later promoted to associate professor and served as the associate dean of undergraduate studies. In 2002, Draves returned to the liberal arts environment when she moved to Monmouth College to begin a new biochemistry program.
Draves joined the University of Mount Union in 2006 as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the university. Under her leadership the university achieved significant academic transformation and growth.
She led the establishment of the first graduate education programs at Mount Union with the addition of physician assistant studies, physical therapy and educational leadership. Additionally, she promoted and oversaw the development of three academic centers and 14 new undergraduate programs, including mechanical engineering and civil engineering, the implementation of a successful health and medical sciences initiative, and the enhancement of the performing arts.
During her tenure, Draves steered Mount Union to the adoption of a new general education program, a four-credit based undergraduate curriculum and the development of the first online graduate program. Furthermore, she led efforts to increase experiential learning and establish a campuswide scholar day to celebrate students’ research.
Dr. Patricia H. Draves became the 18th president of Graceland University in June 2017. She was drawn to Graceland’s strong mission and values, inclusive community and deep commitment to preparing leaders to make positive change in the world.
Draves has been married to her husband, Jeffrey Draves, for 28 years. Dr. Jeff Draves, a physical, computational and environmental chemist, serves as professor of chemistry in Graceland’s Division of Science and Mathematics. They have twin boys, William and Benjamin.