January 22, 2013
When a new class walks into one of Steve Grace’s classes at Drury, he’s usually met one of his students before, but he hasn’t seen them in a few decades and he probably wouldn’t recognize them anyway because most people don’t look like they did fresh out of the womb. Dr. Grace, the Egdorf Professor of Pre-Med Science at Drury, was a doctor of obstetrics and gynecology for 25 years at the Women’s Clinic in Springfield. He estimates that he’s delivered at least one of the students in just about every class he’s taught at Drury.
“It’s very interesting to see. When they’re one hour old I have no idea what they’re going to become,” Grace said. “Usually they’re embarrassed. Mom drags them over and says ‘This is the guy who delivered you.’ It’s fun to meet them years later. That’s what I loved about obstetrics. The outcomes are usually good and everyone’s happy.”
A 1968 Drury graduate, Grace returned to Springfield in 1977 following medical school at the University of Missouri and residency in Colorado. When he retired in 2001, he reached out to his former Drury classmate, Biology Professor Don Deeds, and inquired about teaching part-time.
The 66-year-old usually teaches two classes per semester, mostly to pre-health students, in subjects such as cellular biology, embryology, physiology, toxicology and epidemiology.
While the Parkview High School graduate is an accomplished physician and instructor, he may be best-known on-campus for something he did as a freshman. In a road basketball game at Missouri Valley in February 1965, Grace poured in 45 points. That performance still stands as Drury’s all-time single game scoring record, and it earned him a spot in the Drury Athletics Hall of Fame. Grace was also a member of the tennis team.
Thirty-three years had passed between Grace’s graduation and his return to Drury as an instructor, and much had changed, “The depth and number of courses available to biology majors is incredible, when I was an undergraduate biology major I had to take just about every biology class available.” But some things were the same, “I had (chemistry professor) Dr. Rabindra Roy in his first year at Drury and he’s still teaching, and my fraternity brother Todd Parnell is now the Drury president.”
“I tell my students that Drury is a great stepping stone. They may never use what I’m teaching them again, but they have to do well here to get into medical school, and they have to do well there to get into a good residency,” Grace said. “Drury provides them an excellent opportunity to move on to that next step.”