Daniel Robert Graham

Daniel Robert "Bob" Graham

38th Governor of Florida (1979-1987)

Senator & Mrs. Graham, ca. 2006

Personal Background:

  • Born November 9, 1936- Coral Gables, FL
  • First Lady Adele Khoury Graham, married 1959, four children


  • Graduated from University of Florida, Gainesville, FL; President of Honor Court
  • Graduated from Harvard University's Law School, Cambridge, MA

Senator Bob Graham is the former two–term governor of Florida and served for 18 years in the United States Senate. This combined with his 12 years in the Florida legislature, totals 38 years of public service. As Governor and Senator, Bob Graham was a centrist; committed to bringing his colleagues together behind programs that served the broadest public interest. He was recognized by the people of Florida when he received an 83 percent approval ranking as he concluded eight years as Governor. Senator Graham retired from public service in January 2005, following his Presidential campaign in 2004.

After retiring from public life, Senator Graham served for a year as a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government where he lectured to undergraduate, graduate and executive management students. His primary focus was on civic education and intelligence, issues that continue to be of great importance to him.

Senator Graham is currently the Chair of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism. The commission’s mandate is to build on the work of the 9/11 Commission and complete a critical task: to assess our nation’s progress in preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism, and to provide a roadmap to greater security with concrete recommendations for improvement. The Commission’s report, “World At Risk,” was published in the Fall of 2008.

In addition to his commission related activities, Senator Graham is also the author of a book about civic participation, entitled “America: The Owner’s Manual.” The goal of the book is to provide ordinary people with the means and motivation to go out and influence decision makers in order to achieve positive change in their neighborhoods and communities.

Senator Graham has also been a regular contributor to National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, a frequent guest on CNN, Fox and MSNBC news, and has written opinion editorials for newspapers. Since retirement, his commentaries have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, The Financial Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Charlotte Observer, Washington Times, Miami Herald, Orlando Sentinel, St. Petersburg Times, South Florida Sun Sentinel, Sarasota Herald Tribune, Gainesville Sun, Palm Beach Post, Tallahassee Democrat and the Tampa Tribune.

Senator Graham serves as the chair of the Board of Overseers of the Graham Center for Public Service. This Center, with a home at the University of Florida, commenced programs in the fall of 2007 in the areas of Public Service, Homeland Security, and The Americas, subjects in which he has been deeply involved during his public career.

Since his retirement, national and Florida organizations have recognized Senator Graham for his public service. These include:

Mrs.Graham & daughters, ca. 2006

  • The Woodrow Wilson Institute award for Public Service
  • The National Park Trust Public Service award
  • The Everglades Coalition Hall of Fame
  • The Florida Homebuilders Hall of Fame
  • The largest bridge in Florida, constructed while he was governor, was renamed the Bob Graham Sunshine Skyway Bridge
  • LeRoy Collins Lifetime Leadership Award from Leadership Florida
  • An honorary doctorate of public service from his alma mater, the University of Florida.
  • Honorary doctorate from Pomona College
  • Honorary doctorate from Nova Southeastern University

 Bob and his wife, Adele, have returned to their home in Miami Lakes, Florida, and are enjoying more time with their four daughters and eleven grandchildren.

Most Notable Contributions as Governor:

A number of unprecedented crises faced Governor Graham early in his first term. His leadership averted major social upheaval as he grappled with the massive Cuban-Haitian influx, civil disobedience in Miami, a truckers strike capable of paralyzing the state, and two successive hurricane threats, during which millions were successfully evacuated. In 1982, the Florida Legislature approved the Save Our Rivers Act, which was the first of several of Governor Graham's environmental priorities. This act was followed by the Save Our Coasts program and the Save Our Everglades program. In 1984 Wetlands Protection Act assigned responsibility to regulating Florida's wetlands with the United States Department of Environmental Regulation and the state's five water management districts, thereby uniting federal and state forces to protect Florida's unique environment.

For Additional Information:

  • The Bob Graham Center for Public Service, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
  • Intelligence Matters , by Bob Graham
  • Workdays , by Bob Graham
  • First Families in Residence: Life at the Florida Governor's Mansion , by Ellen Uguccioni
  • 700 North Adams Street , by First Lady Rhea Chiles and the Florida Governor's Mansion Foundation, Inc.