Award recognizes Robbie Graves’ Union commitment

Robbie Graves, assistant vice president for undergraduate admissions, talks with his wife, Kim, and daugher, Rachel, after Awards Day chapel May 6. | Photo by Deanna Santangelo

By Samantha Adams

Robbie Graves, assistant vice president for undergraduate admissions, has worked at Union University for the last 22 years. This year, on May 6, he was named Union Staff Member of the Year.

Graves, who earned his bachelor of science and master of education at Union, directs the undergraduate admissions office, working directly with the enrollment counselor team.

Over the past years, he has witnessed several changes to the campus.

Question: What changes since your studet days do you like and what do you miss about Union?

Answer: I am grateful to God for sending David Dockery to Union. His vision of Christ-centered excellence, the integration of faith and learning, and Christian worldview thinking has been a joy to watch take hold and unfold throughout the fabric of the community.

Also, I am very thankful that we now have academic buildings and residence life facilities that match the excellence of the academic programs. They are beautiful buildings.

Though I am grateful to God for the new residence life complexes, I miss the opportunity to be able to walk past Barton 2, my college dorm room of four years. I lived in the same room all four years.

Q: Tell us about your family. What do you do for fun?

A: I am married to the wife of my dreams, Kim, who is a God-send in every way. We have two children: Samuel, who is adopted from South Korea — he is 11 — and Rachel, who is 9. We are a musical family. My wife is the worship leader at our church, my son plays piano and cello, my daughter plays violin and piano, and I play piano and organ. I love Gospel music. We have jam sessions together.

Q: What are some of your favorite hobbies?

A: Well, church. I know that sounds weird, but it really is. Church, playing the piano and organ and yard sales. I go every week (to yard sales), bar none. I just get in the car and go. Sometimes my kids send me on mission to find legos and Barbie clothes. I rarely come back empty-handed. Shopping is a hobby, too.

Q: Where would you like to travel if you could go anywhere?

A: My wife and I would really like to explore Ireland together. Our second choice would be Switzerland, to see the Alps.

Q: What does it mean to be Staff Member of the Year?

A: It was a high honor. The people that make up the Union community were so supportive, affirming and encouraging to me since the announcement was made, and for that I am grateful.

This place is made up of some amazing people who devote themselves to the mission and ministry of Union, and to be named Staff Member of the Year from that group is humbling and quite an honor. It inspires me to continue to do my best and give my all.

I look forward to seeing how God, in his sovereignty, used me to get students here at a real crossroads place in their life. How they sat under this environment, this community for four years, and how they have gone out from here and impacted the world for the cause of Christ through their chosen careers. That drives me, that motivates me. It is work of eternal value.

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The Cardinal & Cream is a student publication of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Our staff ranges from freshmen to seniors and includes a variety of majors — including journalism, public relations, advertising, marketing, digital media studies, graphic design and art majors.