Daniel A. Graham (Dan) was born in Amarillo, Texas in 1944 and lived there until graduating from high school in 1962. Among the more or less interesting summer jobs he held during this period were: "rough neck" in the oil fields of West Texas and long distance truck driver (from Texas to British Columbia). He also had the opportunity to learn how to fly and ultimately earned a private pilot's license with both a single and multiengine rating. He passed up playing football at the University of Oklahoma to enroll instead at the University of Colorado as an Engineering Physics major. He eventually discovered Economics and graduated from West Texas State University with a joint major in Economics and Mathematics in 1967.
Dan first came to Duke as a graduate student in 1967. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa at Duke and received his Ph.D in Economics in August, 1969. He joined the Duke faculty the following month and has been here ever since save for sabbaticals at the National Bureau of Economic Research in New York City in 1976--77 and in the south of France in 1998-99. He has also published extensively in major journals and was chosen to be included in Who’s Who in Economics: A Biographical Dictionary of Major Economists 1700 to 1994.
Dan's favorite course as a student was his beginning undergraduate course in integral calculus. From the comfort of a perch on the window radiator the instructor would daily send randomly selected students to the blackboard to document and illustrate their solutions to the various assigned problems. The text for the course was clearly written and the problems varied in difficulty from easy to challenging. Each student was expected to read the text and to solve the assigned problems and, as Dan recalls, they all did just that. Dan feels that he learned more about problem solving and gained more self- confidence from this course than from any other: "I discovered that I could teach myself anything I really wanted to learn!"
Ellen Peirce, Dan's better half, grew up in Washington, D.C., received her undergraduate degree in French from Bryn Mawr and her law degree from Duke. Ellen and Dan met when they were next door neighbors in the Holly Hills Apartments in Durham during her law school days. After graduating in 1976, Ellen practiced law on Wall Street for two years before marrying Dan and moving back to Durham. She has been a member of the faculty of the Kenan-Flagler School of Business at UNC since 1980. Ellen is a former Associate Dean of the undergraduate business program and currently teaches both business law and ethics. And yes, both Ellen and Dan are primarily Blue Devil and only secondarily Tar Heel fans.
Ellen and Dan love sailing and for many years spent weekends cruising the Chesapeake Bay and the Albemarl and Pamlico Sounds on their 31' Southern Cross. Once they even "bare boat" chartered in the British Virgin Islands. The arrival of their three children --- William (1985), James (1988) and Eleanor (1991) -- and their relative lack of enthusiasm for sailing eventually led to the sale of the boat and, in 1993, to the construction of a summer home (completely designed by Dan) in the North Carolina "high country". The entire gang now spends weekends and summers in the mountains near Blowing Rock.