It All Adds Up

Carolyn and Malcolm Graham
Mar. 18, 2015

Editor's Note: This is the first in an occasional “Namesakes” series about the people who are memorialized around our campus. In this story, the namesakes of the endowed Malcolm and Carolyn L. Graham Scholarship for science students reflect on their role in building UNLV and inspiring Southern Nevada mathematics students. More information about scholarship donations can be found on the UNLV Foundation website.

In 1956, Malcolm “Mac” Graham was making $5,000 a year as associate professor of mathematics at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C. He and his wife, Carolyn, only lived there for a year but had three reasons for wanting to leave: hurricanes, humidity, and ambition.

Malcolm grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania and Carolyn in the mountains of Virginia; the Southern climate just felt oppressive. But when one of Mac’s colleagues landed a $6,000 job offer, Mac knew he could strive for more himself.

“I have never seen Mac so motivated in my life,” says Carolyn, who met her husband at Longwood College, where he was her math professor. “He was set to get a $100 raise the following year, but Mac thought he could make more elsewhere. So he made a long-distance phone call — which was a big deal at the time — to Columbia University, where he received his doctoral degree, and updated his resume by mail.”

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