Honors and Awards

2023 - James Graham

James Graham is the recipient of the 2023 University Excellence Award in Service at UW-River Falls, a recognition of his dedication to his students and others. 

The award was presented for the first time in 2023 and recognizes exemplary service to UWRF and/or the surrounding community. Those receiving the honor are chosen by university administrators. Graham has been an agricultural education professor at UWRF since 2001.The award was announced at the fall Opening Meeting.

James GrahamGraham fills many roles to ensure students’ success and further academic affairs at UW-River Falls. In addition to serving on multiple committees and on the Faculty Senate, he spends extra time mentoring students and organizing events that offer them valuable experience and networking opportunities. Graham has attended many agriculture-related conferences and other events at which he promotes UWRF to prospective students and others. Such efforts help recruit students and inform others about the educational offerings available at UWRF. 

“I have never considered my service activities as ‘extra,’ but an extension of my role as a professor in agricultural education,” Graham wrote in an application letter for the award

UWRF Horticulture Professor David Zlesak praised Graham for his work on committees in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. 

Graham “is routinely sought out for the wise and thoughtful perspectives he brings. Dr. Graham has a rich service record to the university through chairing and serving on many university-level committees,” Zlesak said.

In addition to working closely with students, Graham enjoys working with graduates, helping them with everything from career advice to designing workshops. 

“Those close connections made here at UWRF have enhanced my ability to consistently offer my expertise and experience to our young professionals,” Graham said.

Graham also provides assistance in other ways. Recently the Wisconsin Cooperatives Association contacted Graham seeking information about proper parliamentary procedure to run meetings. 

In many ways, Graham is the embodiment of service to UWRF, Zlesak said. 

“This award is designed to honor faculty that provide exceptional service and support to all spheres within their influence – their department, college, university, community, and discipline,” Zlesak said. “For decades, service with excellence, thoughtfulness, kindness, and inclusivity in all these spheres is a hallmark of Dr. Graham.”