Grahm Junior college:†† 1950 Ė 1979

dedicated to the alumni of grahm jr. college and cambridge school of Business and broadcasting

first published in 2000

The three main buildings of GJC:Kenmore Hall, Beacon Building and Leavitt Hall

 

A history of GRAHM JUNIOR COLLEGE

 

By Matthew Hasson, Class of 1978

Grahm Junior College was founded in 1950 as the Cambridge School of Business.  It began as one of a chain of schools whose main office was in New York, with two other schools in Philadelphia and Chicago.   Itís first President was Jack Nesson, who started with nine students in the first class.Milton Grahm assumed Presidency of Cambridge School in 1951, with Nesson as Vice President, beginning a journey from a small business school to making it into one of Boston's busiest 2-year colleges.Despite the name, the school was never located in Cambridge.  It was in Copley Square for several years at the corner of Boylston and Exeter Streets across from the Boston Public Library.   At the time there were two large statues of lions flanking the building entrance.  These stone lions were adopted as the school's mascots and also gave name to the class yearbook.  The building has since been demolished, but the lions themselves were relocated down the street to the entrance of the Fairmount Copely Plaza Hotel, where they were painted gold and can still be seen today.   In 1964, Cambridge School was accredited as a Junior College of Business and it's student enrollment had increased to 750.   The curriculum was expanded to include hotel/restaurant management, secretarial science and broadcast communications, thus the name of the school was modified to the "Cambridge School of Business and Broadcasting."

 

That same year the school purchased a Kenmore Square insurance office building at 632 Beacon Street and converted the premises for radio & television production studios. In 1965 the school began leasing dormitory space from the prestigious Hotel Kenmore located on the opposite side of Kenmore Square.  The hotel owners were experiencing declining business and eventually decided to sell the building to the school outright.  In 1966, Cambridge School purchased the Hotel Kenmore and Wadsworth annex.  The Hotel's original "Beef 'N Bird" Restaurant retained it's name and decor and became the school cafeteria.  The main Kenmore building became a girls dormitory and Wadsworth Hall the boys dormitory.  In 1967, the school was renamed Grahm Junior College in honor of President Milton Grahm who had worked for years on the school's expansion.  By 1968, at the height of the Vietnam war student enrollment was at an all time high with the Baby-Boomers hitting college age (and an increase in male students attending college for the purpose of getting a draft deferment).  This required more dormitory space, so Grahm purchased the former Hotel Buckminster, one of the oldest and largest buildings in Kenmore Square.  The new boys dormitory was renamed Leavitt Hall, after Grahm's mother and father-in-law.  The college continued on through the sixties and into the seventies and retained a good reputation in the broadcasting industry.  At it's peak enrollment there were over 1,300 students.By the late 70's however, a faltering economy and a declining enrollment with increasing debt and expenses forced the once prosperous school into bankruptcy.  In 1979, Grahm Junior College graduated it's last class and closed it's doors forever, yet itís legacy lives on today.Many national and local TV announcers, reporters, and radio personalities have Grahm Junior College on their resume.  There were also hundreds of directors, engineers and writers who joined the production, management and technical end of broadcasting.There are also graduates of the business school who live and work all over the country in the hotel and restaurant industries and other services.

 

 

The New Grahm Junior College Memorial Page

 

I first started this website in 2000 based on material I wrote for a TV production project I worked on when I was at Grahm.I was given access to the schools archives which contained memorabilia from the Hotel Kenmore and early publicity releases from the Cambridge School.Additional research material I obtained at the City of Boston Buildings Department and the Boston Public Library.Iíve had hundreds of people sign the guest book since I launched the page on AOL.Now that original site is no longer, I hope to get more Grahmites reunited at this new location.Iíve decided to streamline this new site somewhat by putting all the photos in a photo gallery on Google Picasa.The guestbook remains with its many entries going back to 2001.Watch this page for future updates.

 

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Milton Grahm

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