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First UAH president, Ben Graves, dead at 86

HUNTSVILLE (AP) — Dr. Benjamin Barnes Graves, a former president of Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss., and first president of The University of Alabama in Huntsville, died Friday at his home from natural causes. He was 86.

A native of Jones County, Miss., Graves served as Millsaps president from 1964 to 1970. He was UAH president from 1969 to 1978.

He started at UAH in the year The University of Alabama created autonomous campuses in Birmingham and Huntsville.

Current UAH President Dave Williams said Graves played a special role in school history.

“Ben deserves a tremendous amount of credit for making UAH the university as we know it today,” said Williams.

Graves was preceded in death by his wife, Hazeline Wood Graves. The couple had one son and two daughters.

Graves’ funeral will be held Monday at 2 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Huntsville.

Instead of flowers, the family suggested gifts to The Graves Black Family Endowed Scholarship Fund, Office of Institutional Advancement, Millsaps College, 1701 North State St., Jackson, MS 39210; The Benjamin and Hazeline Graves Scholarship Fund, The University of Alabama in Huntsville, Shelbie King Hall, Room 310, Huntsville, AL 35899; The First United Methodist Church, 120 Greene St., Huntsville, AL 35801.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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