J. Sterling Grant


School of Continuing Studies Distinguished Alumni Award (2007)
Indiana University Southeast
School of Continuing Studies
B.G.S., 1996


When J. Sterling Grant returned to college to complete his degree, he had no idea that move would lead to an entirely new career path.

J. Sterling Grant began his undergraduate studies as a traditional college student on the Bloomington campus, but left campus in 1983 -- one year and many credits shy of his bachelor's degree. He'd found a job that he loved, working as a police officer for the Louisville Metro Police Department, and went on with his life. Still, the lack of a degree gnawed at him, especially when he spoke to students about the importance of staying in school and getting a degree.

Finally, in 1992, Grant decided to do something about it, and enrolled in the General Studies Degree program at Indiana University Southeast. "The general studies degree gave me more variety in topics to study, and allowed me to get a multitude of disciplines under my belt," said Grant. "I thought I knew what I wanted to do with my life—and was already there—but I felt like I needed that degree. General studies was a perfect fit."

Somewhere along the way, Grant discovered a new calling: teaching. After earning his bachelor's degree, he continued his education at the University of Louisville, where he earned a master's degree in justice administration, followed by a Ph.D in 2011.

Grant retired from the Louisville Metro Police Department in March 2008, and began work as a criminal justice instructor at the University of Louisville. "I have been so fortunate that things have fallen into place. A lot of it I attribute to people at IUS, particularly one of my professors, Mary Ann Baker, who was instrumental in helping me make the transition from law enforcement to academics."

In addition to Grant's work as a police officer and college instructor, he remains active in his community and with the IUS campus. Throughout his career in law enforcement, he has talked at schools and to community organizations on topics ranging from crime to diversity. He started the D.A.R.E. program in the Greater Clark County School Corporation and participated in a 300-mile bicycle ride from Michigan to Kentucky to raise awareness about child abuse.

On the IUS campus, Grant served on the alumni board for three years, and on the chancellor's review committee. He was named Officer of the Year by both the Jeffersonville Police Department and the Louisville Metro Police Department. He is the 2007 School of Continuing Studies Distinguished Alumni of the Year.