Oakland City University named Dr. Kiev Gracias “Professor of the Year” for 2022. This honor was decided by none other than the Oakland City University students themselves. Many of the students as well as faculty and staff know him as the extremely friendly and very helpful Biology Professor on main campus. What many do not know is that he is a dual citizen of the United States of America and Portugal. His parents migrated to Dubai, U.A.E in the early 1970’s where his father worked as an accountant for a U.S. oilfield company. He completed his K-12 in Dubai at a Catholic School supervised by the University of London. He received his B.S. and M.S. at Louisiana Tech University (LTU) in Ruston, Louisiana. His degrees are in Cell and Molecular Biology (with minors in Medical Technology and Chemistry). His education does not stop there though, as he also has an Ed.D. in Science and Biotechnology Certification which he earned at Ball State University (BSU) in Muncie, Indiana. His research interest is in bacterial genetics, which includes DNA fingerprinting pathogenic bacteria from environmental and clinical isolates.
When asked about how his road led him to OCU he answered with this, “After receiving my doctorate, I was looking for a Christian University teaching or research job; Dr. Atkinson (being a BSU alum) contacted the Biology Department and inquired about recent doctoral graduates at BSU. OCU was looking for a Cell and Molecular Biologist at the time; I felt a calling to Oakland City University in 2009 and continue to serve in 2022.”
Since Dr. Gracias joined the OCU family, he has been widely praised by co-workers, students, and administration. Many notice how obvious it is that he genuinely enjoys what he does here at OCU and when asked about what he likes about OCU he said, “I enjoy teaching at OCU because of the small class sizes. This helps me get to know my students really well from an academic and non-academic perspective. Not only do I serve as a biology professor and advisor on main campus, but more importantly as a life and success coach to my students.”
Oakland City University takes pride in putting students first to ensure that they get the best education allowing them to go forth and serve. Dr. Gracias takes as much pride in his students’ success as he does his own success. His dedication in and out of the classroom shows how much he cares about the field of Biology for generations to come. Each student passing through his classroom, will not only be filled with knowledge, but they will leave filled with the same passion Dr. Gracias carries with him every day. Dr. Gracias said, “I am humbled and appreciative to be recognized by my students for voting me ‘Professor of the Year, 2022’. I owe this prestigious award to my students for being supportive of my teaching and research in the science classroom all these years. They truly understand that science is not simply rogue memorization in the classroom, but rather application of theoretical concepts and practical skills to their everyday life.”