Morgan Graff

I just came back from a weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia celebrating a most spectacular accomplishment. That accomplishment was Morgan Graff, my daughter, graduating from the University of Virginia School of Law. Here I will share highlights from the weekend and some memories of this remarkable young woman. These are from my mind’s eye…

When this all started a tad over 24 years ago, I can remember holding Morgan in the hospital and how natural it felt. I am not a baby guy, but from the first second holding her, I knew I loved being a dad and that is as strong as ever today. I cherished walking her back and forth in my arms to get her to fall asleep in the early weeks. She didn’t want to sleep…wow has that changed…ha!

Morgan was a gentle, sweet girl who was also pretty shy. Mom (Karen Graff) and I would encourage her to speak up and break out of her shell. She participated in gymnastics, soccer, and then dance became her thing. She exhibited a quiet confidence and excelled in those activities while also doing very well in school throughout the years. She went away to summer camps in Black Mountain, North Carolina. I will never forget her first summer when she was away for two weeks with the only communication between us being in hand written letters. Those were harder for mom and dad than Morgan.

When we picked her up that first summer we were expecting her to be a bit homesick but hoping she had a great experience. One of the first things she shared with us was in a question, “Can I do four weeks next summer?” The independence had started. Morgan continued going to the summer camp for years and loved her experiences. We missed her greatly and knew how great this was for her. I will also never forget driving back after dropping her off and missing her…dad was the one with the separation issue…

When Morgan began her high school journey at Academy of the Holy Names, something changed in a most subtle but grand way. Her confidence was coming out externally. She was becoming comfortable in her own skin. When I say she took control of her future, I am not exaggerating. She took ownership over how she studied, used her time, and who was in her circle of friends. Morgan was so disciplined in accomplishing her goals and setting herself up for success in her next journey. She thrived in high school earning scholarships and chose to attend Florida Atlantic University (FAU) for her undergraduate degree while also competing for the FAU Cross Country and Track team.

She began running her sophomore year of high school and earned a spot on a Division I team…amazing! This was also when I began my adventures in competing so it was great to be able to do that together when we could. We participated in a Father’s Day 5k race (combining both our times) together where we won three consecutive years. We have a date to get our title back on Father’s Day 2053, when I’m 85 years old.

While at FAU, she determined she wanted to become a lawyer and she was off on her next mission in pursuit of attending the best law school she could. I will never forget a vacation we took in Toronto where we spent some time in a coffee shop so she could study for the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). This lady was driven! With all this effort she earned countless scholarship offers. She shortened the list to Cornell University, Georgetown, and University of Virginia (UVA). We took visits to Cornell and Georgetown and were amazed on what they had to offer. A trip to UVA did not occur due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Morgan did her homework on the three schools and without visiting UVA, chose the school and what a choice, the eighth ranked Law School in the country. She earned a spot and scholarship from the eighth ranked law school in the country!!! I wasn’t surprised but geez, she EARNED the right to study at this amazing university!

Law School is a three year program and what she shared throughout year one was something else. She was putting in so much work but really LOVED what she was learning and could see the path it was taking her. Seeing her was less often but when we did it was like she was never gone. Everytime we talked on the phone she had great stories to share about a class, professor, friend, boyfriend Jeremy, spin class, something she was cooking/baking, and what her cat, Arthur, was up to.

To this weekend…Morgan was no different. She was having fun in the moment of all the activities. She was surrounded by her friends and family with love all around. We had a great representation of family there to honor her accomplishment. We all shared stories from over the years and were cherishing the events.

As a dad…wow… I’m in tears writing this. From holding her in my arms in the minutes after birth to hugging her this weekend and watching her cross the stage accepting her diploma. It’s hard to put into words the pride I have in what she has become and the bond we have. I want to be like her when I grow up.

Morgan is headed to New York City this fall to begin her career after passing the Bar exam this summer.

The purpose of The Healthy Giraffe is to provide resources, support and community in an effort to live a healthy lifestyle as I stated day one launching this website. This story is about heart health. I love being a dad and I’m so proud of my girl and now young woman. She has everything in front of her…

– Add Health to Your Life

2 thoughts on “Morgan Graff

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  1. Alan, I love the story of Morgan’s accomplishments. You should be very proud and I know you are. There is a saying that goes something like this…. The Apple does not fall far from the tree…get it. You too are an inspiration to those around you. You have been for me and I thank you,
    Regards, Fran


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