Skip to content

Valley College Names Dr. Michael Graham as President

25-year veteran and online learning pioneer assumes new role Dec. 1

(Martinsburg, WV)—The Franciscan Services Board of Trustees today announced the appointment of Michael Graham, EdD as president of Valley College. A recognized pioneer in online education and a seasoned executive, Graham brings over 25 years of experience in academia, most recently as Senior Vice President of Operations at National Louis University in Chicago. Graham will begin on December 1 and report to Jeff Papia, Board Chair of Franciscan Services, the nonprofit that acquired Valley College in May 2023.

“Dr. Graham joins us at a critical moment of immense growth and opportunity for Franciscan Services,” said Jeff Papia, Board Chair of Franciscan Services. “I am confident in his operational expertise, deep understanding of the online education landscape, and passion for expanding access to higher education. He is the ideal leader to serve Valley College as its first president.”

Following the acquisition, Valley College and Franciscan Services conducted a six-month presidential search that attracted a diverse slate of candidates from across the country. In this new role, President Graham will work with the Valley College leadership team and the Board of Franciscan Services to build on Valley’s strong foundation and advance its mission of providing a high-quality education to students at all three of its main campuses: Cleveland, Ohio; Beckley, West Virginia; and Martinsburg, West Virginia. Graham will also help to lead Valley College on its two-year journey to becoming a nonprofit.

“I am honored to serve as Valley College’s first president and join this incredible community,” said incoming President Graham. “I believe that higher education is powerful, and it can change lives. Through institutions like Valley College, it is changing lives in communities in West Virginia and Ohio every day. I look forward to working with Valley’s talented faculty, staff, and students to build on its success and prepare graduates for the lives they want to lead.”

Before Valley College, Graham spent 11 years at National Louis University and was responsible for modernizing the technology infrastructure, re-engineering NLU’s undergraduate experience, growing enrollment, and leading institutional integration following the university’s acquisition of Kendall College. Most recently, he served as the Senior Vice President of Operations where he was responsible for enhancing operational efficiency, supporting academic and administrative technology, as well as leading instructional design and online programming. Graham’s experience also includes serving in senior leadership roles at McNeese State University, Bethany College, and Youngstown State University.

Graham received both his bachelor’s degree and his master’s degree in history from Youngstown State University. He also earned a Doctor of Education degree from National Louis University, where he conducted some of the earliest-ever research into online program management.

Valley College recently received five-year grants of renewed accreditation from the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) at all three of its main campuses: Cleveland, Ohio; Beckley, West Virginia; and Martinsburg, West Virginia. In addition, Valley College’s Cleveland campus was recognized as an ACCSC 2022-2023 School of Distinction.

About Valley College

Valley College is accredited by ACCSC (Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges), for-profit institution, offering diplomas and two-year and four-year degree programs in a variety of disciplines. Over half of Valley’s 1,000 students study using an online modality. Valley’s four educational centers (two in West Virginia, two in the Northern Ohio) serve primarily adult students who are often in transitional parts of their lives. Its largest enrollments are in the health and allied health areas. In May 2023, Hilbert College finalized the acquisition of Valley College by its affiliate, Franciscan Services. Together, the colleges serve more than 2,000 students across New York, West Virginia, and Ohio in traditional and online programs. The acquisition expands access to quality higher education and opens new degree pathways in business, technology, and health-related programs to its communities. As a result of the acquisition, Valley College will transition to a not-for-profit institution.