Kendra Beard Graham

Kendra Beard Graham (’85) was a member of the Wake Forest women’s golf team from 1982-85. She competed in the first ever ACC Women’s Golf Championship in 1984 and posted a top-20 finish at the ACC Championship during her senior season in 1985.

When did you graduate from Wake Forest?

What was your major and/or minor?
B.A. Speech Communications (Radio, Television and Film)

What does being a Demon Deacon mean to you?
Everything! I know my answer might sound a bit melodramatic, but being a student-athlete at Wake Forest University was an incredible experience. I loved every minute of my time as a Demon Deacon and am so thankful to my professors and coaches. They informed my career choice, which also led me to my future husband. The lessons I learned in and out of the classroom remain with me today and I can honestly say that I cannot imagine my life without the friends that I met while at Wake Forest.

Why are you still involved in Wake Forest Athletics?
As a former student-athlete, I will be forever grateful to those Deacon Club donors who enabled my scholarship, and I have always felt a sense of responsibility to do the same. A great way to stay connected with one’s alma mater is through the athletics program. I love following not only the women’s and men’s golf programs, but all of our wonderful student-athletes and teams.

Why do you feel it is important to give back to the University?
I’m a firm believer in progression—there’s a direct correlation between where you’re going and where you’ve been. I wish I could return to WFU and play golf there now! The women’s golf program has developed into one that I almost don’t recognize. But then I remind myself that my teammates and I had to forge the way for future female golfers so that they can be where they are today. There has to be a yesterday in order for there to be a tomorrow. Students past and present should stay involved and connected, which can be accomplished in a variety of ways, but most importantly by donating money and supporting our teams by attending games. Wake Forest student-athletes work hard and the best way to show our appreciation for their efforts is by showing up.

What is your current occupation?
After working in the Rules and Competitions Department for the United States Golf Association (USGA) for seventeen years, I retired in 2003 when my son was in kindergarten so that I could be a full-time mom. Since then, I have worked part-time as a consultant in golf administration, which has included running golf tournaments, teaching Rules of Golf seminars and working for Golf Channel. Two years ago, I was asked to serve on the USGA’s Executive Committee (Board of Directors). I am a member of the Championship Committee and also chair the Rules of Golf Committee. I do a lot of officiating and was lucky enough to have a front row seat at the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship and experience Jennifer Kupcho’s win in person.

What is your favorite memory of your time at Wake Forest?
It is so hard to pick just one, but if I have to, it would be time spent with my teammates. When I was in school, the NCAA didn’t limit the number of tournaments you could play in or days out of the classroom, so we were together a lot. When we traveled to tournaments, it was mostly by van and we were off campus for at least four days at a time (a practice round and three competition rounds). We always had a lot of fun!

What makes you most proud of Wake Forest?
The fact that the university has been able to remain relatively small in size, but big in stature. The campus has grown, but retains its beauty. It’s always special to meet another WFU graduate because there are so few of us, but we share a remarkable heritage.

When you come back to Wake Forest, you always…
Walk around campus remembering so many wonderful memories and they all come flooding back. I love that first look at Wait Chapel…I get this feeling that I’ve returned home.

I was there when…
There were only three places to eat on campus—the Pit, Snack Pit and Mag Room!

Who is your favorite coach at Wake Forest, current or past?
Marge Crisp. Miss Crisp was my golf coach during my freshman and sophomore years. Previously, she had been the women’s athletic director and started the women’s golf program at WFU. I have great respect for what she accomplished as an administrator, especially back in the day. My one regret is that she repeatedly tried to teach us how to play bridge so that we could play with her when we were on the road, but I never learned and wish I had. I still don’t know how to play bridge!

(Please note: This article was originally published in the June 2019 issue of Gold Rush.)