Remembering Anne Graham

Friends and staffers say goodbye to a well-loved colleague.

If there’s an association magazine in the afterlife, Anne Graham will surely be on the editorial board. Anne, former executive vice president and chief operating officer of AACSB International, passed away January 20 after a long fight with cancer. She was 69.

Magazine publishing was her greatest professional passion. Anne was the driving force behind the founding of AACSB’s BizEd, which had its debut in 2001. Her vision defined the magazine’s mission, to be “the world’s leading source for authoritative information, ideas, and insights related to international management education.”

Before joining AACSB in 2000, Anne spent 12 years at the Institute of Internal Auditors, first as director and editor-in-chief of Internal Auditor magazine and then as periodicals consultant. During the 1990s, she also served as president of the Florida Magazine Association and as a columnist for Folio: magazine. She was a presenter on management topics for organizations such as the American Advertising Association, the American Marketing Association, the Society of National Association Publications, the American Society of Association Executives, and the American Accounting Association. During this time, she won several state and national awards for editorial writing.

But magazine publishing was only one part of her life. She was a fierce chess player; when she died, she was writing a novel about that game. A Ph.D. in art attested to her love of painting, and a Ph.D. in education showed her ongoing capacity to learn. She also was a concert pianist, a theatergoer, a world traveler, a mother, a sister, and a friend.

Fond Remembrances

Paul Danos, dean of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth in Hanover, New Hampshire, first met Anne when he joined AACSB’s Board of Directors. “I can’t imagine having a better business colleague to help forge strategy, give advice, and get the message out,” he says. “Hers was the best kind of feedback—to the point, sympathetic, with a clear guide for improvement, and from a person of impeccable judgment.”

David K. Long, retired dean of the College of Business at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania, also met Anne when he was a member of the board. He says, “I always sought Anne out to find out what new creative challenge she was undertaking or to discover what book she could recommend. I was always the better for my time with her.”

The decision to launch BizEd, one of Anne’s biggest projects, was questioned by more than one board member. Carolyn Woo, dean of the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, remembers being skeptical about the need for the magazine. “Anne made her points without rancor but with confidence and passion. By the end, I knew I was listening to a pro,” she says. “The quality and energy of BizEd were birthed from the eye, mind, and heart of a gifted and gracious editor.”

Woo adds, “On my desk is a little 2" by 2" hand-crank music box mechanism from Anne. It plays ‘happy birthday.’ Every time I call friends to play this greeting on their birthdays, I will celebrate Anne’s spirit of grace and generosity.”

Says Judy Olian, dean of UCLA Anderson School of Management and chair of AACSB’s board of directors, “Anne was the heart and soul of the AACSB team, the glue that brought everyone together. She set the tone for excellence and inspired her colleagues to take risks, stretch further, and achieve what might seem unattainable.”

In her personal life, Olian says, “Anne had style, always a special piece of jewelry or unique piece of clothing. Her true passion was to be an artist full of creative flair.” Olian adds, “Anne was a beautiful, gentle person, remarkably talented in ber her broad smile and her big heart.”

A consummate and talented editor, Anne was the one who oversaw some of the association’s most important new initiatives. She envisioned BizEd magazine and brought it to fruition.

Co-Workers Remember

Those who worked closely with Anne at IIA and AACSB also were touched deeply by Anne’s presence. Gretchen Gorfine, IIA’s production manager and circulation coordinator, remembers Anne’s writing skill. “Every time I would read her ‘Editor’s Note,’ I would learn something new, something that made me think,” says Gorfine. “Anne was a true mentor.”

Jerry Trapnell, AACSB’s executive vice president and Chief Accreditation Officer, first met Anne when he was a dean and a board member. “She quickly grasped the issues of AACSB and helped push the board beyond its comfort zone to begin to take AACSB into the global arena,” he says. “She leaves a lasting impression on the organization.”

Trapnell continues, “Anne truly cared for her colleagues and was a source of advice and counsel, no matter how complex the issue. AACSB and I have been blessed to have Anne as a friend and colleague.”

Dan LeClair, AACSB’s vice president and Chief Knowledge Officer, remembers how Anne always wanted to be “delighted and surprised” by her life and work. “She was a wonderfully quirky aficionado of art and ideas,” he says. “She was a lover of life who savored every experience and saw beauty in everything from basketball to chess.”

He adds, “The most important gifts we leave behind are intangible, embedded in our relationships and reflected in the changes we have brought about in our colleagues, friends, and family. Anne touched many people in meaningful ways. My time with Anne was too short, but it was profound and unforgettable. Dearest Anne, you have done more than surprise and delight. Your gifts to us will last forever.”

Friends can make donations in Anne’s memory to “Chess in the Schools,” an organization dedicated to teaching chess to New York City’s inner-city public school children. For information, visit