The University community is invited to a campus forum on Monday, March 4, to learn about Universitywide diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) efforts. Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Mary Grace A. Almandrez will provide key updates about DEIA…
Richard Graham Marks 50 Years With Facilities Services
When Richard (Richie) Graham came to Syracuse from South Carolina in 1972, he was following family and better job opportunities. Little did he know, he would plant roots here and be celebrating his 50th anniversary at Syracuse University.
Graham, a member of the Facilities Services maintenance team, was among those honored at the One University celebration in April who marked milestone anniversaries in 2022. He was honored during a reception before the ceremony, and with the presentation of a certificate during the ceremony by Chancellor Kent Syverud, during which Graham received an extended standing ovation.
Graham joined the University community on Sept. 25, 1972, as a laborer. He worked as a groundskeeper and maintenance mechanic before settling into his current role. He works the 3:30 to midnight shift, responding to emergent campus needs, including flooding, stuck elevators and lockouts. No two calls are alike… and over the past five decades he has developed a photographic memory of campus buildings. “I’ve learned every nook and cranny of this place…you have to,” Graham says. “You never know what call you are going to get.”
A humble man, he has great memories of working through the years with his teams—those who work behind the scenes at the University to keep the physical plant running. Many of those friends have retired or passed on. Can he believe it’s been 50 years? “No, I can’t,” Graham says.
Over the years, Graham has developed a reputation as a “go-to” guy for difficult or challenging calls, and as a mentor to the younger team members working their way up. His co-workers are often in awe of his knowledge of where things are located across campus.
“Richie has been a member of the night crew for years. He is a wealth of knowledge and our go to for any unusual calls we have on campus—chances are he has dealt with it before,” says his supervisor, Dan Hanford. “He has an amazing memory if we have a breaker out or need to find something in any one of the numerous buildings across campus. Richie is the one in the shop we call. He is a great guy who has an incredible sense of loyalty and dedication to the University.”
What advice does Graham offer his younger co-workers? “Learn your keys,” he says, producing a master key ring.
Does he think about retirement? “I do,” Graham says. But for now, he is focused on his family (he and his partner, Jean Dupree, have five children, including Tonya Davis, a graduate of Utica University, and four grandchildren), and on coming to work each day.