Remembering Andy Graham

I get the print edition of The Globe and Mail on Saturdays, and the first part I read is the lengthy obituary section. I’m interested in some of the life stories, but apprehensive about seeing a name I know, especially if it is unexpected. I was shocked and saddened last Saturday to read of the passing of Andrew Graham, a colleague at Queen’s University.

Andy’s first career was as a public servant, and I met him the first time the Canada School of Public Service offered its Advanced Management Program, which I designed and which he participated in. This was in 1990, so Andy and I knew one another for over thirty years.

Academic Colleagues

Andy joined the School of Policy Studies at Queen’s as an Adjunct Professor in 2002, and in that capacity we interacted frequently, as the email trails in several folders indicate. We had common interests in financial management and case studies.

Andy wrote the go-to textbook in the former, Canadian Public-Sector Financial Management, now in its third edition. In my public management survey course I dealt with financial management by conducting a budgeting simulation involving interdepartmental negotiations. I used parts of Andy’s textbook, especially the brilliant and entertaining section on “budget games people play.”

For many years, Andy was the engaged and energetic Director of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada’s case program. Under his directorship, I published two cases, the first on the budgeting simulation and the second on crisis management. Andy provided quick and helpful comments that improved both. In this role, Andy initiated the Canadian Association of Programs in Public Administration’s student case competition, which provided a great opportunity for top graduate students in the field to compete, collaborate, and congregate. Andy used some of my cases in the competitions. When I announced my retirement, Andy wrote back, “I always remember you at the case competition at U of T (2015?) when we use one of your “Sorry to disturb you, Prime Minister” cases. You were sitting in the audience thoroughly enjoying seeing your case play itself out.” And Andy was appreciating my enjoyment.

A third area of common interest was fitness. We were both ectomorphs, though I think Andy was a bit taller, leaner, and faster than me. In the beforetimes, at conference hotels we crossed paths at the gym or going for runs.

Missed Conversations

Andy was a man of many interests and passions. You can get a sense of that if you visit his webpage. For such a person of so many parts, it’s usually not possible for a colleague or friend to touch on all of them. During his career as a public servant, Andy was a senior manager in the area of corrections and had been the Warden of Kingston Penitentiary. I would have liked to have asked Andy about why he got into so demanding an area of public management, the challenges he faced, and the progress he made. A friend who is a criminal defense attorney tells me that people who must serve time prefer federal prisons to those in Ontario because the federal rehabilitation programs are better. I think Andy could take some of the credit for this.

Like me, Andy was part of a two-academic household. Andy was married to Katherine Graham, a distinguished public administration scholar at Carleton University. I had met Katherine on numerous occasions separately from Andy. I would have liked to have had a conversation with him and Kate (and also my wife Beth) about the unique challenges and satisfactions of this lifestyle.

One of the many ways in which the pandemic disrupted lives was by curtailing conversations among colleagues. I would have liked to have had these conversations with Andy, especially if I had known his health was declining.

Andy was a person with many ideas, great enthusiasm, and boundless energy. When I announced my retirement, he began his congratulatory email writing, “it has been wonderful working with you over the years.” It was equally wonderful working with Andy over the years. I’ll miss him a lot.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *