Dr. Benjamin B. Graves, former Millsaps president

11/7/2007

Dr. Benjamin B. Graves, former Millsaps president

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Dr. Benjamin Barnes Graves, 86, former president of Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss., and first president of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, died Oct. 19.

Services were held Oct. 22 at First United Methodist Church in Huntsville with the Reverend Don Cross and the Rev. Coy Hallmark officiating. Burial was at Maple Hill Cemetery. Laughlin Service Funeral Home handled arrangements.

Dr. Graves was the father of Janis Black, wife of the Rev. Warren Black, pastor of Oxford-University United Methodist Church in Oxford, Miss.

Dr. Graves was born in Jones County, Miss., the son of Thomas Cannon Graves and Velma.

Barnes Graves. He graduated in 1942 from the University of Mississippi with a Bachelor of Arts degree and in 1947 earned a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration. In 1961, he earned the Doctor of Philosophy degree in economics from LSU. Dr. Graves served four years in the United States Navy and 11 years thereafter in the Navy Reserve, resigning his commission in 1955 as a lieutenant commander.

Dr. Graves was employed by the Exxon Corp. from 1947 to 1960 in Baton Rouge and New York City.

He was an associate professor at the University of Virginia from 1962 to 1964. He was a professor, holding the Miller Chair of Industrial Economics, at the University of Mississippi in 1964. He was a professor of business administration at the University of Alabama in Huntsville from 1971 to 1999.

He served as president of Millsaps College from 1964 to 1970 and president at the University of Alabama in Huntsville from 1969 to 1978.

Dr. Graves, a lifelong United Methodist, was a member of First United Methodist Church in Huntsville. He was also active in the Rotary Club and the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity Alumni Association. He was honored as the Alumnus of the Year, Jones Junior College in Ellisville, Miss., in 1965. He received numerous other academic and civic honors.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Hazeline Wood Graves; brother, Tom Graves, and sister, June Graves.

Other survivors include: son, Ben Graves Jr. of Jones County, Miss., daughter, Cynthia Graves Dent of Huntsville; sisters, Jamye Simms and Ann Rose, both of Jones County; and six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Memorials may be made to: The Graves-Black Family Endowed Scholarship Fund, Office of Institutional Advancement, Millsaps College, 1701 North State Street, Jackson, MS 39210; The Benjamin and Hazeline Graves Scholarship Fund, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Shelbie King Hall Room 310, Huntsville, AL 35899; The First United Methodist Church, 120 Greene Street, Huntsville, AL 35801.