Skip to Content

Across the threshold of success

Former Minnesota legislator and PHS resident visits local college he helped create

Normandale Community College and Presbyterian Homes of Bloomington hold much in common. Both are located in the suburban city of Bloomington, MN and several of the college’s students and graduates serve on staff at the PHS senior living community. Embedded in this shared history is Joseph Graw, former state representative who lived at Presbyterian Homes of Bloomington until his death on August 29, 2018 at the age of 103. Over half a century ago, while serving the Minnesota State House of Representatives, Joe introduced legislation to create a network of suburban junior colleges including one in Bloomington, his hometown: Normandale Community College.

Normandale alumnae Renee Ruhme McGivern wrote a full account of how Joe made it happen. Her story was published in a special section of the Bloomington SunFocus news. Click here to read the article.

It’s no wonder that, decades later, Normandale Community College students and alumni who work at Presbyterian Homes of Bloomington called him “Mr. Normandale” after Graw told them about his ties to their school. Despite his accomplishment and continued dedication, he had never set foot on the college campus after it opened.

This month, as Normandale geared up to celebrate its 50th anniversary, college officials invited Joe to visit the campus just a week before he died. Joe was greeted by Normandale President Joyce Ester and given a campus-wide tour by staff and students.

We at PHS salute Normandale College for 50 years of higher education in the community our two organizations serve and we are honored to have served one of your founders, Joe Graw. Thank you for including him in your celebrations.

Back to top