“They’re my family.”
The Beverly Wallace ’71, ’91 legacy began in 1968, when she arrived on campus as a student—only a few months after hearing about Grace Bible College for the first time.
Born and raised in Altoona, Pennsylvania, Bev grew up going to church and believed the Gospel as a young girl and felt an early pull to missions. In 1968, Bev saw a new adventure when Bill and Nancy Rigg visited Altoona Bible Church to share about Grace Bible College.
“That was the first time I’d ever heard about Grace Bible College,” Bev says. “So I applied in June, was accepted in July, and came to school in August.”
She moved to Grand Rapids and graduated in 1971 with an A.R.E. She stayed and worked in the area before accepting a position in the Grace business office in 1974. She also became the Women’s Resident Director in 1978, serving there until 1985, and she loved it—all except the part where the students leave.
“I just decided I was tired of saying goodbye to everybody,” Bev says.
She’d been on several short-term mission trips, so when the opportunity came to teach English in Africa for a year, Bev was ready. After the year, she and her three colleagues all wrote—independently of each other—to the Grace Ministries International home office asking to stay another year.
And then, Bev stayed two more years after that. She lived in a new village, learned some “kitchen Swahili”, and experienced a different way of life. She came home in December of 1989, worked at Grace Adventures for a few months before returning to Grace to earn her B.R.E., graduating in 1991. She planned to return to Africa as a full-time missionary, but God seemed to be closing that door. In 1993, her brother became terminally ill, so she went home to Altoona to care for him.
Soon, Bev found herself again at Grace, eventually landing back in the business office, where she spent the rest of her career, racking up more than 40 years of full-time work at Grace. She continued serving on short-term mission trips to places like Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, and Tanzania.
And she earned another title: Super Fan.
“I have probably seen more games than anybody else,” Bev says. “A lot of times I would even jump on the bus or in the van and go to out-of-town, overnight games with the women’s basketball team.”
Bev never played any sports as a student, yet her photo hangs in the Aldrich Athletic Center as part of the Grace Hall of Fame. Her famous caramel brownies didn’t hurt her reputation, either.
At her retirement in June 2022, it’d been 54 years since she first arrived on campus as a student.
“You just develop a bond. It’s the friendship, it’s the camaraderie,” Bev says. “They’re my family.”
Written by Emily Gehman, Assistant Professor of Communication
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