Sept. 22, 2021 The Division of Human Resources & Equity is now called the Division of People Strategy, Equity & Culture.

Near Eastern archaeology: Off the clock with Andrew Graham

Andrew Graham sitting at an archaeological site

Andrew Graham,
Research & Instructional Support Specialist,
Li Koon Chun Finance Learning Centre

University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM)

What do you do off the clock?

My real passion is archaeology — specifically Near Eastern archaeology.

Archaeology, history, and teaching are in my DNA — not only are my adoptive parents teachers, but I also learned that my birth parents were also teachers. I’ve been interested in archaeology since Grade 3. I knew from this young age that I would follow my dream of being an archaeologist.

In 1989, after graduating from Wilfrid Laurier University with a science degree, I needed a steady income and applied for a job at TD Bank. Without a business background, I managed to get the job and I moved up the corporate ladder very quickly.

Eventually, I got married, bought a house and had a child. But I still couldn’t get archaeology out of my mind. In 1997, I decided to apply to the master’s program at the University of Toronto (U of T) and was later accepted into the PhD program. Unfortunately, due to a confluence of events, I had to drop out of the program. Fast forward to the present and I’ve been able to parlay my work in the finance world into a career today as the research and instructional support specialist in the Li Koon Chun Finance Learning Centre at UTM.

Tell us about your passion for archaeology.

Most summers I go to Jordan to study Iron Age remains from the 12th to 7th century BC as part of the Tell Madaba Archaeological Project. Recently, we began work at the site of Khirbat al-Mukhayyat, also known as the biblical town of Nebo. My expertise is in ancient ceramics.  I love the stories behind the artifacts, the everyday stories of people and life, food and culture.

In addition to working as a field director supervising students learning about archaeology, I maintain the research database, develop pictures, survey the site and do all of the work with the project’s Geographic Information System.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by many things, especially my students. I encourage them to find ways to differentiate themselves, that every experience in life has value. Looking at my own life, I know my experiences in the finance world and in academia have helped me become the teacher I am today.