To go to work at the same job for your entire life takes a lot of dedication. That is exactly what Dr. Steven Greiert has: Dedication.
Greiert has been with Missouri Western State University since 1982. After 33 years of dedication to MWSU, Greiert is retiring this year on August 1.
“I’m retiring now for a couple of reasons,” Greiert said. “The first reason is financial reasons. My second reason is that, when I was in graduate school, my mentor told me that I had about 35 years to make my career and then it would be time to pass it on to the next generation. This is my 39th year teaching, and I think it’s time for me to step aside and let the new people or younger veterans run the department.”
Noel Cross, the administrative assistant in the department of history, has worked with Greiert for 18 years.
“It has been absolutely awesome to work with him,” Cross said. “We have become very close and he is kind of like a father figure to me. He has taught me many things over the years and I respect him greatly. I will miss his years of experience and expertise as a department chair and colleague. I will miss his smile, his sense of humor, and his overall demeanor that commands respect. Faculty emeritus status is most deserving for this wonderful faculty member and chairman.”
Dr. Jay Lemanski, assistant professor of history, also has great respect for Greiert.
“Dr. Greiert, as a chairmen, has always been fair and equitable,” Lemanski said. “But what’s really nice is that he lets us do our job. He does not micromanage and he does not interfere. So on one hand, he lets us do our work and doesn’t get involved unless he feels that there’s a real need. On the other side of the coin, the chair is the liaison of the administration. The administration has a lot that it wants its departments to do. Dr. Greiert takes the bulk of that weight on himself and by doing that, frees us to do our job.”
It started in 1969, when Greiert first got his bachelor’s degree at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.
After graduating, Greiert started working in factories because he was waiting to be drafted in the Vietnam War.
“I was fortunate because they also had the lottery,” Greiert said. “My birth date ended up being a number that was pretty high. I wasn’t sure how high they were going to go and all the people with the low numbers immediately went off into the war.”
At first, Greiert wanted to be a lawyer instead of a historian.
“I worked in a law office one summer,” Greiert said. “It was interesting up to a point, but I was also interested in studying religion in America and American history. At one point, I almost became a pastor. But then I thought, ‘I want to be a professor at a university and teach religion and history.’”
After they stopped the lottery, Greiert went to graduate school to study American History.
In 1972, he got his Master of Arts at Duke University and four years later, he got his Doctor of Philosophy.
His career started at Duke University in 1976, where he was an adjunct instructor of history. Then, from 1977 to 1982, he was an assistant professor of history at Behrend College of the Pennsylvania State University.
In the summer of 1982, Greiert came to Western to be an associate professor of history.
“I was really happy to be here because I was glad to be back in the Midwest,” Greiert said. “I’m from the Midwest so I like living here. I found the students to be receptive and pleasant, so I was very pleased and I have been fortunate to be here for this long.”
Six years later after teaching, Greiert became chair of the department of social sciences. In 2004, he became the chair of the department of history, philosophy and geography. Then, in 2012, he became chair of the department of philosophy and religion as well as chair of the department of history and geography.
“I never dreamed I would be the head of a department,” Greiert said. “When I was in graduate school, if you would have told me that I would be a chair of a department, I would of chuckled because I was kind of a maverick. When they asked me do it back in 1988, I agreed to do it.”
Greiert also mentioned that he enjoyed being the chair because it gave him satisfaction for a whole department to be highly successful.
While being head of the department, Greiert also remained a professor of history, teaching American history to 1865, the historian’s craft and the Jacksonian era 1824-1848.
Greiert also takes on the responsibility of advising most of the students in the department.
“Many of the transfers come a lot of the time in the summer,” Greiert said. “Since I do a lot of the paperwork, I’m familiar with their academic record. Because I spend a lot of time with the students, I think it saves a lot of people time and effort if I stay with them.”
Besides taking on the academic role, Greiert has also taken on the role of announcing Missouri Western basketball and football games.
“It was pure luck that I went to announcing,” Greiert said. “I knew the sports information director. I don’t know what happened prior to that time, but I know they wanted to go back into radio. I auditioned and for the first year, I did the analysis but didn’t do the play-by-play. The guy who did do the play-by-play wasn’t very good.”
Eventually, Greiert did broadcasting by himself and enjoyed it. From 1985 to 1992, he broadcasted with K-Joe. When Tom Smith showed up as the head coach, the team went from being bad to being good, which garnered attention from other broadcasters, including KFUQ, who wanted to announce as well. So KFUQ got involved and Greiert has been working with them ever since to broadcast the Griffons’ games.
Greiert will not be retiring from the broadcast and will continue to be a part of the Griffons’ voice.
Greiert’s has a lot of memories at Western, but he has some favorites.
“I have been fortunate enough for the last 12 years to be at almost every graduation ceremony to read the names of the people graduating,” Greiert said. “There’s also great satisfaction in knowing that some of our best students have been successful in finding jobs around the region. There’s also the simple fact that my faculty are very simple to work with and that we put together good team.”
There is no doubt that Greiert has put a lot of dedication into the university, and Missouri Western will certainly miss him.