Where Are They Now? Catching Up with Grace Steinberg

November 19, 2015


Retired BC professor Grace Steinberg takes pride in the accomplishments of her former students. She enjoys receiving Christmas cards showing pictures of their growing families; catching up with them over lunch and reading about their successes in newspaper articles.

“It’s rewarding to hear from former students and to read about what they’re doing,” said Steinberg, who lives in Harrisonburg, Va., with her husband, David. “I enjoy looking back and thinking about the good times that we had.”

She recalls trips with fashion merchandising and interior design students— riding in Bridgewater’s 15-passenger vans—touring mansions in Newport, R.I.; visiting New York City and touring furniture design studios in Hickory, N.C. She especially enjoyed the times students would stop by during office hours. “I enjoyed just shooting the breeze about academics or about their families,” Steinberg said.

“I enjoyed teaching at Bridgewater because I really felt like I got to know the students with the smaller class sizes.”

Steinberg retired from Bridgewater in 2008, after teaching at the College for 27 years and serving as Chair of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences. During those years, she taught courses primarily in clothing textiles and fashion merchandising.

Steinberg, who began sewing at age nine through 4-H, earned her bachelor’s degree from William Woods College (now William Woods University) and a master’s degree from the University of Missouri. She and David moved to Harrisonburg in 1975, when she began teaching at James Madison University—a position she held for five years. She started her own dressmaking business for a year before joining the Bridgewater faculty in 1981.

Now, she enjoys gardening, taking care of her home and walking through her neighborhood. These walks have given her the chance to meet neighbors she never knew well during her years at Bridgewater. She also still sews some, mostly making gymnastics leotards for her great-nieces.

The Steinbergs, who don’t have children, enjoy spending time with their four nieces, three nephews, 11 great-nieces and four great-nephews. Since around 2001, they have sponsored “Camp Grace,” hosting a few of the younger greatnieces and great-nephews for 10 days or so. During these visits, they have taken the kids on trips to Virginia sites such as Monticello, the Museum of American Frontier Culture, Montpelier and Jamestown.

“We want the kids to experience what’s available in Virginia,” Steinberg said.

Retirement also has given the Steinbergs a chance to reconnect with Grace’s two sisters and their spouses. Together, they have taken numerous trips around the country, including a visit to The Mountain View Grant Resort and Spa in New Hampshire, where her father worked as a server during his youth.

“I realized why my dad loved fancy things after visiting this resort,” Steinberg said, laughing. “It’s been fun to reconnect with family and with childhood friends. I didn’t have time to do all these things when I was teaching.”