photo of hall of fame member
  • Florida 4-H
  • Dairy, Beef
  • Member
  • Inducted 2002

Senator Bob Graham

A 4-H member chooses a life in public service and never forgets his roots

U.S. Senator Bob Graham was involved in dairy and beef 4-H projects in his youth growing up in Miami-Dade County in the 1940s and early 1950s. His family owned a dairy farm.

“Growing up on the farm was a very formative experience. I learned discipline and responsibility through my summer jobs and after-school chores raising 4-H Club Holstein and Angus heifers. My love of the environment grew from the Everglades,” said Graham.

He exhibited his 4-H projects at the Central Florida Fair in Orlando and at the State Fair in Tampa. He also participated in the state dairy judging team and the 4-H public speaking program. He was recognized with several blue ribbons for his 4-H projects.

He graduated from the University of Florida in 1959 and from Harvard Law School in 1962.  He was inducted into Florida Blue Key. Graham served as the governor of Florida for two terms from 1979 to 1987. He served as a United States senator from 1987 to 2005.

"When I think of 4-H I think of qualities such as individual responsibility, discipline and self confidence. All those attributes were developed by my 4-H experience,” Graham said.

“Florida 4-H was perhaps one of the earliest influences in my life,” said Bob Graham. “It taught me at an early age to exercise my head, heart, hands and health for the betterment of myself and the world around me. I will always be thankful for the foundation it provided my life, and for the exceptional volunteers who made it all possible.”

Throughout his career he has been an outstanding role model for youth who are considering becoming future leaders in our country. His “work days,” which had the governor or senator working an eight hour day at a typical job held by a constituent, demonstrated Graham’s commitment to understanding and meeting the needs of those he serves.

During his distinguished career as a Florida state representative, governor of Florida, and United States Senator he has accomplished many goals for the good of youth. While governor of Florida, he chaired the Education Commission, the Southern Regional Education Board and the Southern Governor’s Association.

Senator Graham has waged a career-long battle to save the Everglades and bring attention to Florida’s environmental issues. While in the U.S. Senate, he was a member of the Finance Committee and Committees on Environment and Public Works, Energy and Natural Resources, and Veterans Affairs.

As a result of his service as the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, in 2004 Senator Graham authored the book Intelligence Matters: The CIA, the FBI, Saudi Arabia and the Failure of America's War on Terror.

Graham is actively involved the newly established Bob Graham Center for Public Service at the University of Florida. He also serves as Chairman of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism.

“Florida 4-H was perhaps one of the earliest influences in my life.”

Senator Bob Graham