Born on January 27, 1909, to Alfred and Annie Lloyd Osmond, Nan was the sixth of seven children. She graduated from Provo High School and went on to earn a B.A. in English from Brigham Young University in 1930. Growing up in a family of teachers (her parents and five of her six siblings were teachers), she decided to become a teacher herself. After graduating from BYU, she taught English at Jordan High School, Ogden High School, and South High and West High in Salt Lake City. She also taught at Snow College and the University of Utah. She married Harry Grass in 1943, and they had two children, Mahlon and Harriet.
Nan received her master’s degree in English from Stanford University and did graduate work at the University of Utah, the University of California at Berkeley, Columbia University, University College at the University of London, and New School in New York City. In 1951, she joined her father and her sister Irene at BYU, working in the English Department until she retired from full-time teaching in 1974. For more than 70 consecutive years, at least one member of the Osmond family served on the faculty at BYU.
A gifted teacher with a passion for the works of William Shakespeare and John Donne, Nan received the distinguished Karl G. Maeser Excellence in Teaching Award in 1975. All who knew her well were influenced by her example of a Christlike life, and by her great love for students and literature.
Nan Osmond Grass died in 1999. In recognition of her significant contributions to BYU and to the English Department, generous donors established the Nan Osmond Grass Professorship, which hosts this annual lecture in her honor.
2014 John Bennion