A crowd of 300 welcomed D.J. Gregory, author and lecturer, as the speaker for the 2nd annual Ralph Steele Visiting Lecture Nov. 15 at Mendenhall Student Center, East Carolina University. Gregory presented the lecture, “Chasing a Dream.”
Gregory spoke about his journey of setting and accomplishing an improbable goal. “He encouraged everyone to have dreams to reach and not to let others hold you back,” said Dr. David Loy, associate professor in the department of Recreation and Leisure Studies.
Gregory was born with cerebral palsy, and doctors told his parents that he would probably use a wheelchair for his entire life. Gregory defeated the odds and learned to walk.
A longtime golf fan, Gregory made a commitment to walk every hole of every round of every PGA golf tournament during 2007-2008. Walking 900 miles with a cane, he accomplished this goal. Since then, he has continued to walk the PGA tour with a different golfer each week.
He created a foundation called Walking with Kids to support a variety of children’s charities. He also authored, “Walking with Friends,” which details his challenges, successes, and friendships developed with professional golfers.
A native of Greensboro, N.C., Gregory earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in sports management from Springfield College.
The event was in honor of Dr. Ralph H. Steele (1930-2009), who taught at ECU from 1960-1990. Steele is considered the founding father of what became ECU’s Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies. In 1972, Steele established the baccalaureate degree in Parks, Recreation and Conservation at ECU. He served as a teacher, mentor, visionary and leader to many students, faculty, alumni and friends.