Jonathan Graves

December 3, 2019

Jonathan Graves started his career at UNCW 13 years ago in the hopes of supporting young people in their passions and education through the information systems that power the campus.

His parents encouraged Graves’ love of technology. “I remember my dad giving me access to his Tandy 1000 and saying things like, 'Don’t worry about messing up; there’s nothing you can do that we can’t learn how to fix together.'” 

While he takes a more cautious approach with his work at UNCW, it encouraged his innovative spirit. As a business applications analyst in ITS, he has had a role in the product launch and support of mySeaport, TeamDynamix, Handshake, AppWorx, Select Survey, Image Now and Starfish, among others.

On the first day of his job at UNCW, he met his best friend, Kenneth “Kenny” Sumner.

“Kenny was quick to extend a welcome to the new kid on the block and show me the ropes,” said Graves. “He was genuinely interested in people. He traveled at what I referred to as ‘Kenny Speed,’ a way of absorbing the world, listening to those around him and caring for his coworkers. This defined UNCW for me.”

Sumner passed away from cancer in 2014 and Graves worked with others to establish the Kenneth Ray Sumner ITS Scholarship. The scholarship funds are given to Honors College students studying and working in a wide variety of areas, like environmental science, digital arts, English and medicine. Gifts to UNCW made during today’s #GivingTuesday support scholarships such as these.

“I used to ask myself why giving financially was important? Then it occurred to me that giving financially is really investing in the future,” said Graves.

He is also an advisor to the campus honor fraternity Phi Sigma Pi; a youth director for a local church, and he volunteers with programs to repair and rebuild homes and communities.

Graves was recently nominated for the Staff Excellence Award. “It’s always encouraging when someone recognizes your work and contribution to the team,” he said.

-- Caroline Cropp