In the midst of a campus where community is experienced, the president is central to the university’s mission. The role of the Graceland University president is to bring a depth of experience to capitalize fully on the remarkable talent and commitment of Graceland’s staff and faculty with the ultimate goal to connect students to experiences that will deliver successful graduates into the world.
With the announcement of Dr. Patricia H. Draves as Graceland’s 18th president, the Board of Trustees affirmed the presence of this ability, and the university is excited to welcome her for her first day in the Office of the President.
Today begins the new president’s responsibility to transcend the leadership team and reach out to the entire Graceland community to ensure achievement is planned, collaborative and celebrated. Her role will include a commitment to the mission and values of Graceland University, grounded in the Christian faith and sponsoring church, Community of Christ.
“I am very excited to begin my new role as Graceland's next president,” shared Draves. “The Graceland and local communities have proven to be the inclusive and stimulating atmosphere that drew me to seek out this role. I look forward to meeting as many people as possible in the coming months and cannot wait to begin welcoming students as they further their educational journeys at Graceland University.”
Educated as a chemist, Dr. Draves is a strategic thinker and agent of change whose insight and ingenuity have opened the doors to new programs and initiatives throughout her career. She is a creative leader, excited by the academic enterprise and ready to engage, inspire and affirm Graceland faculty, staff and students in building an even stronger and more distinctive university.
As a first-time university president, Dr. Draves brings a fresh perspective with a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Office of the President and to Graceland University, and today marks the beginning of an era filled with optimism and anticipation.
More about Dr. Patricia H. Draves, 18th President of Graceland University
Dr. Patricia Draves earned a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from Mount Holyoke College and a Doctor of Philosophy in Biophysical Chemistry from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. She then completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Texas at Austin.
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 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 also steered Mount Union to the adoption of a new general education program and a four-credit based undergraduate curriculum as well as the development of the first online graduate program. She also led efforts to increase experiential learning and establish a campus-wide SCHOLAR day to celebrate students’ research.
Dr. Patricia Draves became the 18th president of Graceland University in June of 2017.