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Contributed by Judith Pena-Shaff on 06/15/2010
Professor Graff was born June 26, 1924 in Germany. After being a professional actor for several years and pursuing studies in musicology, literature and philosophy, he became interested in the disciplines of sociology and psychology, and pursued their study at the University of Zurich.
Professor Graf joined the faculty at Ithaca College in 1963 and was responsible for founding the Social Relations Department, which later became differentiated into the Departments of Psychology, Sociology and Anthropology. He was the Chairperson of the Psychology Department for 22 years. Through his leadership, the Psychology Department created the nationally unique Research Team program, and the Psychology-Business (now Applied Psychology, B.S.) degree program. He also introduced the academic use of computers, teaching assistants and consensus departmental governance, among other concepts.
Professor Graf retired from teaching in 1994, after 31 years of service to the College. During his retirement he wrote The management of fate: A contemporary study of the mind (2nd edition, in press 2010), a revolutionary view of the biological nature of language in our species as that which generates the experiences of mind, community and society, love and spirituality.
He is survived by his wife Margo (formerly Janet Margo Bell), and leaves behind numerous friends, colleagues, former students, and family.
A memorial gathering will be arranged sometime later this summer.
In lieu of flowers or other expressions of sympathy, the family suggests a donation to one of the following:
* The Ithaca College Psychology Department (http://www.ithaca.edu/hs/depts/psychology/)