Graceland Spotlights

Heather Knowles `93 graduated from Graceland University with a Bachelor of Arts in English – Writing with a minor in Speech. During high school, she attended summer volleyball camps organized by Graceland women’s head coach, Stew McDole, in Rolla, Missouri. From those experiences she was enticed to visit campus, try out for Graceland’s team and learn all about the Graceland experience. Her initial campus visit was met with hellos, happy faces and a laid-back friendly vibe. She knew the university was the right fit.

At the end of the game, with just a few minutes left on the clock, Tara (Eskridge) Grubbs ʼ05 ran across the field to attend to the opposing team’s player who was down. When Christian Lerma collapsed, Grubbs instinctively thought it was a concussion, a common reaction from a hit during a soccer game, but the players surrounding him claimed he hadn’t been hit.

Kevin ’08 and Lora Toncheva ’07 Potter are a duo that makes Graceland proud. With successful careers, two young boys (and another one on the way) and their sights on improving the world, this couple is making a difference.

“I knew I wanted to help people, but I didn’t know I wanted to be a teacher until I took my Advanced Placement (AP) history classes in high school.” Moriah Jones ʼ13 recognized the powerful impact teachers can have on students and decided her best approach in life would be to follow their example.

Jeremy Graybill ’98 revealed that he wasn’t really the best student when he came to Graceland. He had some areas that needed improvement and said he was thankful for the “patience and guidance” of Professor Emeritus Dr. Ron Smith, who taught several of his math classes. It was the Graceland community, the men’s volleyball team, the guys on the hall and his family who helped to form the leader that Graybill has become today.

Who is changing the world? Field Manager Chelsea Tobin ʼ11 and activist in the Denver area, shares her story.

While she was at Graceland Andrea “Andi” Barber ’06 Chatburn discovered that her understanding of death and dying was different than most. In Bob Mesle’s class Suffering and Meaning, discussions around death revealed her difference. As a girl, Chatburn lost six great-grandparents within a few years. She experienced the care and love given to her great-grandparents, and, because of the inclusion in these intimate beautiful deaths, she understood death as a natural part of life.

It is a common process for students to be unclear on the path they wish to follow at the time they begin their college career, and that was definitely the case for Alex Cash ʼ12. Cash, who graduated with a degree in Computer Science and Information Technology, began his Graceland experience as a music education major.

Clay Hines ʼ09 work can put people to sleep – don’t worry, it’s a part of his job. Hines is an anesthesiologist in Texas. He graduated from Graceland in 2009 with a double major in biology and chemistry, and recalls the hard work he put into achieving his accomplishments.

Health communications graduate Brittany St. Louis ʼ11 is the operations manager for a health care facility in Colorado, where she runs the daily operations of the practice. She knew she always wanted to work in management in a health care setting and her bachelor’s degree from Graceland University helped set her on the right course to reach her dream.