When Jill (Garrison) Grace ’85, P’16 is asked about her most memorable Trinity moment, she smiles and says, “There are so many to choose from! My favorite though is my wedding to John Grace '85, P’16 in the Parker Chapel.” She reflects, “having our friends and family join us in such a special setting was priceless to me.” As secretary for the Trinity University Alumni Association Board (TUAAB), Grace continues to create and cultivate Trinity memories and experiences for others. The Chi Beta Epsilon alumna and Lubbock, Texas resident recently answered a few questions to share more about her Trinity story.
Who most influenced you during your time as a Trinity student?
Dr. O.Z. White, who was my adviser. He helped guide me academically and steered me professionally. I was his last advisee, so he also instilled a love of Larry McMurtry.
What did you major in, and does your major directly relate to your professional career?
I majored in sociology and English, neither of which directly related in the early stages of my career. However, over the course of the next 32 years, my interest in both enabled me to build successful organizations. What did make the real difference are the fundamentals that Trinity provided: I've hired hundreds of people over the course of my career, and critical thinking skills are hard to find. When you're in an environment like Trinity, you assume everyone has that skill. It's not until you get into the "real world" that you realize what a rarity—and how valuable—it is.
What motivated you to reengage with your alma mater and volunteer your time with the Alumni Association Board?
I reengaged when my daughter was in high school, looking at colleges and universities. I found that I had really missed being involved with Trinity. When she decided to attend Trinity, I realized how much it meant to me to become re-acquainted with the University that had helped shape me. TUAAB gives me the opportunity to be involved and make a difference for alumni and current students.
What would you share with other Trinity alumni?
Get involved. There are so many different avenues to volunteer. I've been part of a Club Leadership Board, TUAAB, a Reunion Chair, and a Chi Beta Alumni Advisor. Through all of these different activities, I've made some wonderful friends spanning decades of Trinity alumni. I love coming back to campus and seeing everyone. It has truly enriched my life in ways I didn't anticipate.
What is the most impactful thing that has happened to you since graduation?
My daughter gently suggested that she was the most unique and impactful thing to happen to me. She's a Trinity graduate from the Class of 2016, and watching her navigate young adulthood is pretty awesome.
What four words would your friends use to best describe you?
I asked: My family came back with snarky, no filter, and bossy. So, I turned around and asked Facebook. They came back with witty, determined, loyal, and supportive.
What was your favorite way to spend pandemic lock-downs or quarantine(s)?
Netflix! I watched more television in 18 months than I had in the previous 18 years. I'd see all of my friends doing productive things like remodeling their home or learning to bake sourdough bread; I reorganized my sock drawer and binged on Tiger King.
What wisdom would you share with your college self or a current student today?
Relax, and enjoy it while you can. I watch the current generation who constantly strive to be perfect at all things. It must be exhausting. Slow down, enjoy the relationships that you've built and take time to smell the mountain laurels. You’ll miss them when you’re gone.
The Trinity University Alumni Association Board (TUAAB) plays an active role in strengthening bonds within the University community. Composed of 36 individuals, this all-volunteer board of directors seeks to increase alumni interaction and support while strengthening the relevance and voice of Trinity's alumni within the broader Tiger family.