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Internet2 Grieves Loss of IT and Academic Pioneer William H. (Bill) Graves

Apr 19, 2016, by Elizabeth Boten
Tags: Community, Frontpage News

Community member, and IT and academic pioneer and innovator William H. (Bill) Graves, senior vice president, academic strategy, Ellucian, passed away last week. Graves served at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for 30 years, as math professor, dean, acting academic officer, senior IT officer, and was a founder of the Institute for Academic Technology, a joint effort with IBM.

While on leave from UNC in 1998-2000, Graves founded and directed the nonprofit Collegis Research Institute. He then retired from UNC in 2000 to found (and chair the board of) Eduprise, an academic technology services firm which subsequently merged with Collegis. The resulting privately held company was acquired in 2004 by publicly traded SunGard Data Systems and is now part of privately held SunGard Higher Education.

Graves then worked at Ellucian. Graves' work at Ellucian allowed him to help clients develop actionable, IT-enabled strategies for measurably improving upon and accounting for mission performance.

He also served on boards for CAUSE, EDUCAUSE, and the Coalition for Networked Information, and helped launch the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative, IMS Global Learning Consortium, and Internet2--helping to ensure that scholarship and applications were as much a driver of efforts as infrastructure would be.

Additionally, Graves served on governing or advisory organizations for Antioch University, UNC-Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science, National Center for Academic Transformation, U.S. Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, and the International Association of University Presidents.

"A true ally to R&E, and a dear friend, Bill will be missed dearly. Bill was truly a pioneer, a renaissance man interested in everything. He was ahead of his time in understanding and communicating about how technology transformed education," said Dave Lambert, Internet2 president and CEO. "Bill was a gentle, but persistent colleague who facilitated a collaborative environment like no one else--where people really listened and learned from one another.  He inspired so many and his insights about how institutions could enable technology to further their missions made him a true innovator. His contributions to our industry, and zest for life and learning, will be forever remembered."

"Bill was a close friend and colleague who I valued and trusted and from whom I learned a lot," said Carol A. Twigg, Ph.D., president and CEO, National Center for Academic Transformation. "He was a giant in the world of higher education and technology whose vision stayed true for 30 years, whether he was working at a university or a company. Higher education now has a big hole to fill. My hope is that many of those who have been affected by Bill’s wonderfully warm personality and his commitment to making our colleges and universities more accessible, more effective and more affordable will carry on that commitment."

Read more about Graves' career.