Dr. Geoffrey W. Grant '64
2019 Recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award for Community Service
Dr. Geoffrey W. Grant has been serving his university and community in many capacities since he moved to Brookings, SD in 1977 in ways that were so impactful that the city declared it Geoffrey Grant Day on October 27, 1999 with a mayoral proclamation to honor his service.
An associate professor of rural sociology from South Dakota State University, Dr. Grant spent most of his professional teaching career there before retiring in 2006, earning emeritus status from the South Dakota Board of Regents.
Through Habitat for Humanity, he has served as a member of the Executive Committee and vice president of the local chapter. The heart and hands of Dr. Grant have touched the homes of more than 40 families in South Dakota through his volunteer work as a member of the organization’s building crew. He was also chairman of the Family Support Committee, where he worked directly with families so they would know what was required in the area of sweat equity and to help in the transition to true home ownership. He recently worked on houses 69 and 70 for the Brookings Habitat for Humanity and they have three more houses planned for the 2019 building season.
In 2018, he was elected to serve on the South Dakota State Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors. Additionally, Dr. Grant serves on the ReStore Committee, which is charged with focusing on the retail outlet of Habitat for Humanity to help fund and maximize the efforts for the affordable housing for families throughout South Dakota. In 2014, Grant was recognized as the volunteer for the most hours worked by a Habitat Volunteer in that year.
Dr. Grant has also long been involved in advocacy work in human rights issues on the local, regional, national and international levels. From 1992 to 2009, Dr. Grant:
- Served on the Brookings Human Rights Commission fighting discrimination in South Dakota.
- Was instrumental in formulating and administering a survey of the community and presenting the results to the city council.
- Played a key role in developing the booklet that advises renters of their rights and describes the responsibilities of landlords in this community.
- Worked to establish the Martin Luther King Jr. Poster and Essay contest for the Brookings School District, which continues to be held annually.
Dr. Grant was awarded the Dorothy and Eugene Jr. Butler Award given to honor significant volunteer efforts on behalf of human rights in the City of Brookings.
In addition to his significant volunteerism with the Brookings Human Rights Commission and Habitat for Humanity, Dr. Grant has been active with the Brookings Council for Emergency Services, the local food pantry, where he has been on the board for 37 years, as well as the Agricultural Heritage Museum, where he was recognized with the Agricultural Heritage Museum Award in 2003 for 20 years of long-standing service.
Beyond his time and talent, he has also been generous with his treasure. Through the William and Harriet Gould Foundation, he established a Graduate Student Scholarship Award in Sociology at South Dakota State University; established the Benjamin and Marion Schmiedicke Endowed Scholarship for a first-generation college student at Carroll University; developed and supports the Geoffrey and Jeremy Grant Scholarship at the Gow School in New York, a college preparatory school that specializes in education for dyslexic students; and provides support for the local film society at the South Dakota Art Museum.
Dr. Grant received his bachelor of science degree in sociology from Carroll in 1964 and went on to pursue a master’s degree and his Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. As a serious and talented amateur photographer, he maintains a daily photography blog on the internet, “Taken for Granted,” firstname.lastname@example.org.
He is married to Carroll alumna, Sue T. (Schmiedicke) Grant '63.