Graham B. Spanier

Graham B. Spanier

Portrait of Graham B. Spanier

Chancellorship Dates

October 31, 1991 - January 1, 1996


  • Bachelor's, Iowa State University, 1969
  • Master's, Iowa State University, 1971
  • Ph.D., Northwestern University, 1973


July 18, 1948 - Cape Town, South Africa

Graham Spanier served as chancellor of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln from 1991-1996.

Spanier recieved his bachelor's and master's degrees from Iowa State University in 1969 and 1971, respectively. At age 24, he received his doctorate from Northwestern University and accepted a position at Penn State as an assistant professor of human development and psychology. In 1982, Spanier left Penn State to become the vice provost for undergraduate studies at the State University of New York (SUNY) Stony Brook. After his time at SUNY, Spanier accepted the position of provost and vice president for academic affairs at Oregon State University, where he worked until coming to Nebraska in 1991.

The atmosphere at the university was tense when Spanier arrived at Nebraska. The university was facing a $6 million budget cut, morale was low among faculty and staff, several high-level administrative positions were filled on an interim basis and overall admission standards were low. Over the next four years of his chancellorship, Spanier solved the budget crisis, revitalized the universities affirmative action office and raised admissions standards, among other accomplishments.

Spanier was appointed president of Penn State University in 1995, ending his tenure as chancellor of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

A researcher and scholar, Spanier has more than 100 scholarly publications (including 10 books), was the founding editor of the Journal of Family Issues and has held numerous leadership positions in national organizations.

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