Grass Scholarship Helps Students Make Their Footprints on the World

Brooke Keener 15OX 17C

When Adrian Grass 49OX was a student at Oxford, he knew the “folks at Oxford cared” for him. He is returning the sentiment.

Generous donors for decades, he and his wife, Carolyn Grass, gave $1 million to the endowed Adrian Grass Scholarship this year, adding to the ways students are cared for at Oxford.

When you realize how much Grass loves Oxford, it’s surprising to learn that he almost didn’t get here.

Grass grew up in Gastonia, North Carolina. After he finished high school, he served in the US Navy in World War II, and then was accepted to a university to study engineering. Although he planned to attend, near the end of the summer before his freshman year he had a change of heart. He decided on a different path, a career in medicine. So, with the help of the G.I. Bill, he enrolled at Oxford, and he’s glad he did.

Grass did well academically at Oxford, where he says, “the great interaction of the students with the faculty is a big plus,” and he was accepted to medical school at Wake Forest University after three years of college. “Emory at Oxford gave me the chance to study hard to reach my goal,” he says. “At Oxford there were few external distractions and there was plenty of time to study, and that was why I was there.”

A successful career as an orthopedic surgeon followed in El Paso, Texas, and near the end of his career, he was listed in America’s Best Doctors. When he retired, he and Carolyn bought a small motor home, one of three they would eventually own, and they spent nineteen summers in Alaska, salmon fishing on the Klutina River.

His reasons for endowing the scholarship are simple. “When I was fairly young I never thought that I would ever be able to go to college because we had no means,” he says. “The reason for the scholarship was twofold. One was to help other needy students. The other was simply to try to leave some type of footprint on this old world.”

And he already has. Brooke Keener 15OX 17C from York, Pennsylvania, is a Grass Scholar, and she credits the Grasses with making her time at Oxford possible. “The Grass Scholarship has provided me every opportunity; without the generosity of the Grass family, I would most likely not be able to afford Oxford,” she says.

Keener plans to major in English and creative writing at Emory, and she’s interested in working in the publishing industry after graduation. “The Grass family’s contribution opened new doors for me, allowing me to be able to follow my dreams and get the education I have always dreamed of.”

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