Troy University alumnus and Russell County District Judge Jamie Graham encouraged TROY graduates to draw on their education to do great things for themselves, their families, and their communities.
Speaking to close to 70 graduates taking part in the Phenix City Campus spring commencement ceremony on Friday, Graham credited his TROY degree with helping him to become a lawyer and a judge.
“I don’t think I would be where I am today if it wasn’t for Troy University,” Graham said. “They gave me the ability to continue working and providing for my family while getting my education and getting to where I am today. If it wasn’t for that opportunity provided by TROY, I probably wouldn’t be a judge and probably wouldn’t have been a lawyer.”
Graham shared with the graduates three words that his grandparents, parents and close friends have helped to instill in him – pursue, passion and patience.
“Pursue your goals and dreams and pursue them every day,” he said. “Don’t give it a day off. There is nothing to keep you from fulfilling those dreams and they make you what you are as you get older.”
Graham encouraged graduates to approach whatever they do in life with passion.
“Whatever field you are going into, do it with passion,” he said. “It goes along with pursuing your goals and dreams. If you are passionate about it, see it to the end. Don’t start and stop. If you truly love and are passionate about it, then finish it.”
Graham said patience had played a large role in his life and encouraged graduates to exercise patience in their own lives as well.
“As a judge, I pray before I go on the bench every day for patience,” he said. “Patience will bring you rewards. I’m a product of that. I had to wait my time to run for the judgeship that I won, and that was a long time. That was 25 years, but patience held out.”
In closing, Graham challenged graduates to go forth and be great.
“With my wife being a teacher, at the end of each year she gets gifts and cards from her students. I was looking through them at some of the notes that students wrote, and one said, ‘Thank you for being great.’ You have that same opportunity – be great,” he said. “Take advantage of the education you have and do great things. When you do great things individually, you do great things for your community. You make your community stronger, and it builds a sense of pride. Take advantage of what you have received to better yourself, your family, and your community.”
After receiving his degree in business administration from TROY, Graham graduated from Jones School of Law in 1997 and passed the bar exam in 1998.
In 2004, Graham joined the Russell County District Attorney’s Office where he was placed in charge of Child Support Court, Traffic Court, Domestic Violence Court, and felony cases.
After an unsuccessful run for District Attorney in 2015, Graham returned to private practice. He was elected as District Court Judge in 2022.
Graham and his wife, Paula, have two children – JJ and Madison, a TROY graduate.