Graceland University mourns Distinguished Professor Emeritus Bruce Graybill, who passed away peacefully in Lamoni, Iowa on December 22, 2023.
Born in 1931 to Amos and Viola Graybill, he grew up in Council Bluffs, Iowa with his brother Wilmer. He received undergraduate degrees from Graceland and Iowa State University and his doctorate in Chemistry from Florida State University.
In 1961, Graybill moved his family to Lamoni to accept a position at Graceland as a professor of chemistry, where he taught for 33 years. His passion at Graceland was teaching and inspiring his students to learn. During his early years as a faculty member, he worked with Bob Ramsey to develop a baccalaureate degree in chemistry. Faculty peers respected him as a dedicated professor, chair of the Science and Mathematics division for 22 years, and acting Dean of Faculty from 1974-75 and 1977-78. He was named Distinguished Professor in 1975, received the Excellence in Teaching award in 1980, and retired as a Distinguished Professor Emeritus in 1994. His universal respect resulted in Gunsolley Annex being renamed Graybill Hall in his honor.
Graceland Board of Trustees Chair Mike Wiley, PhD, studied under Graybill and expressed his condolences: “Bruce Graybill was one of the most impactful professors on my academic development, for which I am profoundly grateful. Although the subjects he taught were among the most challenging, his exceptional communication style, combining clarity, encouragement, and gentle patience, facilitated learning and the development of critical thinking skills for generations of Graceland students. The large number of scientists, educators and health care professionals positively influenced by Dr. Graybill represents his great legacy to the University and the community, and we’ve been richly blessed through his life’s work of outstanding teaching, mentoring and leadership.”
Graybill served the Lamoni community even after his retirement from Graceland through the Lions Club, the Lamoni Community School Board, the building of the Lamoni bike trail, and the Community of Christ church.
Graceland President Patricia H. Draves, PhD, said, “I spent many football games and concerts sitting with Dr. Graybill. As a fellow chemist, we always had much to discuss. The impact of his contributions to Graceland over the years as a faculty member and active member of the community will be felt for generations. We remember and honor his legacy here on ‘the Hill.’”
A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. on February 24 at the Lamoni Community of Christ. Donations in honor of Dr. Graybill can be made to Graceland University and will go toward the Graybill Residence Hall Fund at the family’s request, ensuring even more students have access to the Graceland experience.