The Colorado State University Alumni Association will honor one of Colorado’s most beloved and respected citizens with the Charles A. Lory Public Service Award at the annual Distinguished Alumni Awards Program on April 26.
Beryl "Brownie" McGraw has been known as a tireless advocate for children in need, a concerned community leader, a strong supporter of higher education and a thoughtful philanthropist.
She began her education at Colorado A&M in the late 1940s, when Fum McGraw was a star athlete. After she married Fum, Mrs. McGraw left college to follow her husband on his professional football career and to start a family. When the family returned to Colorado years later, she returned to school to complete her degree and, in 1965, began what was to become an outstanding career in education.
She started her career at Wellington Junior High School and went on to Blevins Junior High, followed by Rocky Mountain High School, first as dean of girls then as principal for 11 years. She retired from education as principal of Lincoln Junior High School. She is best known for her empathy and understanding of young people, especially those who were having difficulty or who needed a helping hand. McGraw Elementary School was named in honor of her accomplishments over the course of 31 years with the Poudre School District.
After retiring, McGraw continued her work with young people by taking a position with the District Attorney’s office, working one-on-one with youth offenders and their families. Through her role in this office, she continued to make a difference in many lives in Northern Colorado.
She has continued her unparalleled work for the betterment of the Fort Collins community in many ways, including TEAM Fort Collins, DARE, Poudre Valley Hospital Youth Violence Committee, Boys and Girls Club of Larimer County, Gang Task Force and Challenge Fort Collins. She also has served as the chair for the Poudre Valley Health System and helped to pave the way for the new Harmony Campus, which now cares for patients from northern Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and Wyoming.
McGraw has been described as "commanding the absolute highest respect and affection" from those who know her personally and professionally. Honoring McGraw with the award "provides the best opportunity for the community to thank her for her selfless dedication and outstanding contributions that have enhanced the Fort Collins community."