'Fessor Graham Award

Floyd Freeman Graham (aka 'Fessor) (October 15, 1902 – August 18, 1974 in Denton, Texas) was a US collegiate bandleader and music educator who founded and directed the Aces of Collegeland in 1927, the university dance band, pit orchestra and stage band of the University of North Texas College of Music. He also was a violinist.[1] The Aces of Collegeland was the forerunner to the One O'Clock Lab Band. Graham laid the groundwork at North Texas for what became the first college degree in jazz studies.

Many of the Ace's band members and Saturday night participants became a "who's who" in the performing arts – as members of famous big bands, film, and singers.

Notable Saturday Night Performers with the Aces[2]

Notable "Aces" Alumni

In 1971, the University of North Texas Student Government Association designated him as "Honor Professor,"[3] and upon retirement May 31, 1973,[4] the regents awarded him the lifetime status of professor emeritus.[5] He was the university's first professor emeritus.[6]


Graham earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Texas.

Graham earned a Teachers Certificate from Chicago Musical College in 1927 and a Bachelor of Music degree in violin from Chicago Musical College in August 1931. While attending Chicago Musical College, Graham studied violin with Max Ignatz Fischel (1878–1937) (Head of the Normal Department), ear training with Harold Burnham Maryott (born 1878), music history with Herbert Witherspoon (1873–1935); harmony and counterpoint with Hans Franklin Madsen (1887–1971), and composition, counterpoint, and solfeggio with Wesley LaViolette (1894–1978).[7]

Graham also earned a Master of Music degree from the American Conservatory of Music.[8]

At the American Conservatory of Music, Graham had been a pupil of:

In Texas, Graham had been a pupil of:

He also had been a pupil of:

Family and growing up[]

Floyd Graham was the son of Schyler Colfax Graham (1869–1931), a Denton grocer, and Rockie Virginia Graham née (1879–1954) Freeman. Floyd Graham first exhibited his interest in music by experimenting with a cigar-box violin while in grade school.[10]

Floyd Graham married Doris Patricia Howard on September 2, 1942.[11] They had a daughter, Patricia (Pati) (Graham) Haworth.

'Fessor Graham Award for Faculty[]

In 1958, the North Texas student body established the 'Fessor Graham Award, the highest honor bestowed by the students to a faculty member. The award recognizes one faculty member each year for outstanding and unselfish service beyond the call of duty to students.

  • Floyd Graham, Music, 1958
  • Beulah Harriss, PE & Intercollegiate Women's Athletics, 1959
  • Samuel B. McAlister, Government, 1960
  • Arthur M. Sampley, Library Service, 1961
  • William B. DeMougeot, Speech & Debate, 1962
  • A. Witt Blair, Education, 1963
  • Chester A. Newland, Government, 1964
  • Leon Breeden, Music, 1965
  • William R. Garner, Government, 1966
  • Clovis Morrisson, Political Science, 1967
  • Kendall Pinney Cochran (1924–2007), Economics, 1968
  • Don E. Beck, Speech and Drama, 1969

Student government in transition, no recipients, 1970-71

  • James Riddlesperger, Political Science, 1972
  • Charles Foster, Business, 1973
  • Leo Estrada, Sociology, 1974
  • Ben Chappell, Speech Communications, 1975
  • Milan J. Reban, Political Science, 1976
  • T. Bullock Hyder, Economics, 1977
  • Anshel Brusilow, Music, 1978
  • Umesh C. Banerjee, Biology, 1979
  • Tommie Collins Lawhon, Education, 1980
  • Douglas P. Starr, Journalism, 1981
  • David R. Fitch, Business, 1982
  • Jerry Lee Yeric, Political Science, 1983
  • John James Haynie, Music, 1984
  • Lee Knox, Geography, 1985
  • J. B. Spalding, Business, 1986
  • John S. Gossett, Communication and Public Address, 1987
  • Richard H. Wells, Journalism, 1988
  • Ernest F. Crystle, Foreign Languages and Literatures, 1989
  • Dan Haerle, Music, 1990
  • Valerie D. Martinez, Political Science, 1991
  • Fred Hamilton, Music, 1992
  • Kenneth Godwin, Political Science, 1993
  • Robert S. LaForte, History, 1994
  • Norris D. Fox, Education, 1995
  • Ann S. Windle, Education, 1996
  • Donald E. Chipman, History, 1997
  • P.R. Chandrasekaran, Finance, Insurance, Real Estate and Law, 1998
  • Juliet Getty, Merchandising and Hospitality Management, 1999
  • William T. Waller, Biological Sciences, 2000
  • Gladys H. Crawford, Biological Sciences, 2001
  • Thomas P. Sovik, Music, 2002
  • Richard Tas, Merchandising and Hospitality Management, 2003
  • Brian L. Bowman, Music, 2004
  • David W. Hill, Kinesiology, Health Promotion and Recreation, 2005
  • Kimi King, Political Science, 2006
  • Dee C. Ray, Counseling and Higher Education, 2007
  • Donna Ledgerwood, Human Resources Management, 2008
  • Lyndal M. Bullock, Education, 2009
  • Gloria Cox, Political Science & Dean of the Honors College, 2010
  • Armin R. Mikler, Computer Science and Engineering, 2011
  • Shahla Ala'i-Rosales, Behavior Analysis, 2012
  • Andrew Enterline, Political Science, 2013
  • Brian Lain, Communications Studies, 2014
  • Bethany Blackstone, Political Science, 2015
  • Michael Thompson, Philosophy and Religion, 2016

Floyd Graham Memorial Scholarship[]

The College of Music offers a scholarship as a memorial to Floyd Graham, sponsored by the Floyd Graham Society.


  • 2007 — Sam Reid, Saxophone

North Texas Jazz Festival's Floyd 'Fessor Graham Award[]

The North Texas Jazz Festival established the Floyd 'Fessor Graham Award for the outstanding high school or middle school vocal group. The winner performs during one of the evening's "pro" concerts.


  • Floyd Freeman Graham, Public relations in music education, a study, Exposition Press, New York (1954)
  • Floyd Freeman Graham, For Music Literature, (Unknown Binding) (1965)
  • Floyd Freeman Graham, For music appreciation; a course outline to supplement the teaching of music appreciation, Denton, Tex., Howard Pub. Co., Denton, TX (1960)

Notes and references[]

  1. ^ "Social Affairs: Madden-Thomas Marriage," Dallas Morning News, pg. 6, July 11, 1924
  2. ^ "Aces Leave Their Mark on Nation," Denton Record-Chronicle, sec. 3, pg 4, August 28, 1960
  3. ^ Pat Colonna, "NT's Professor to Retire after 46 Years," Denton Record-Chronicle, May 11, 1973
  4. ^ "NTSU to Honor Retirees," Denton Record-Chronicle, pg. 7A, May 4, 1973
  5. ^ "Regents Approve Building," Denton Record-Chronicle, pg. 2A, May 25, 1973
  6. ^ "Floyd Fessor Graham," Denton Record-Chronicle, pg. 4A, August 20, 1974
  7. ^ Alumni Records, Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University
  8. ^ "Famous Teachers College Stage Band Starts Jubilee Year with Prospects for Outstanding Season," Denton Record-Chronicle, September 22, 1939
  9. ^ Yucca: 50th Anniversary Edition (North Texas State Teachers College yearbook), vol. 34, pg. 341 (1940)
  10. ^ Obituary: "Floyd Graham, NTSU Music Pioneer, Dies," Dallas Morning News, pg. 3, August 19, 1974
  11. ^ "Marriages: Graham–Howard," Dallas Morning News, September 3, 1942