The outgoing message on Mattie Grace’s voicemail says it all: “Happy, happy new year and may you just have a blessed and great 2008.”
It’s with this congenial spirit that Grace serves as associate director of Disability Services and Programs (DSP).
Grace, who started at USC as the assistant director for student conduct, earned her Ph.D. in counseling and moved to DSP in 1991. There she often relies on her work in psychology to help students. Her colleague and Associate Dean of Academic Support Patricia Tobey thinks Grace’s training in psychological disabilities makes her “an integral part of USC.”
“She is very personable,” Tobey says, “Mattie’s work is such an important contribution to the field of disabilities and multicultural concerns. USC is very fortunate to have her.”
Grace especially enjoys helping students with disabilities but says everyone has obstacles in life. “I am an encourager,” she says with a wide smile. “I bring willingness and support to all types of disabilities.”
Recently, Grace’s dedication to students with disabilities has taken a national turn. After attending leadership training for the Association on Higher Education and Disability’s Diversity Initiative, Grace was asked to be a committee member. In this role, she is helping shape guidelines concerning students with disabilities, with a focus on diversity, at schools throughout the country.
“Each day is something different,” Grace says. What brings her to work every morning is “knowing I’m here to help students achieve their goals.” She’s also working to become a licensed psychologist so she can guide even more students to reach their goals.
When she’s not at USC, Grace is an active member of her church where she serves on many committees and sings in the choir.