As a scholastic (student Brother) at CBU from 1965 to 1967, Brother Joel McGraw majored in Philosophy and Theology and minored in English. He believes the Brothers and lay colleagues were excellent teachers and prepared him for a 52-year teaching career that began in January of 1968 and ended in May of 2020.

A native Memphian, Brother Joel attended Christian Brothers High School and, in the fall of his senior year, the Brothers invited him to consider their vocation. “My parents felt I was too young to leave home and persuaded me to stay another year, attend Memphis State, and see if I had a vocation,” he says. He became Brother Joel William in 1964 and joined the scholasticate at CBC the next year. Outside of class, he accompanied the Brothers’ chorus and taught music at St. Peter’s Orphanage as well as CCD at the Naval Air Station in Millington. Sunday afternoons were often spent visiting residents at Ave Maria Home.

Following his teaching assignments at Christian Brothers High School in St. Joseph, Missouri, and Bishop Kelley High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Brother Joel returned to CBHS in Memphis and became a literal fixture there for 47 years — in the classroom and as Assistant Principal and later as Special Assistant to the President.

After completing the 2020 school year, Brother Joel was granted a sabbatical in Chicago, where he is studying at the Catholic Theological Union and receiving spiritual direction there as well — and he’s learning to cook!

Life at CBU as a student Brother was an experience of learning, observing the life of my fellow scholastics, the Brothers on the faculty, and interaction with lay students. The atmosphere was friendly, inspiring, instructive, and the courses in Theology and Philosophy helped develop my faith. I was blessed to be a student at CBU then — and now as an alumnus!