After 30 years of being at Kent State, professor, department chair and Faculty Senate Chair Pamela Grimm officially retired on May 31.
“I have ambivalent feelings about it,” Grimm said.
Grimm enjoys the idea of having more free time but, “on the downside, I have been having a great time at Kent State University,” she said.
Grimm spent the last 30 years as a professor in the Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship and described the department as a creative environment that works for everyone and maximizes students’ opportunities to learn.
The two constants she described while working at Kent State were that she was always learning something new and loved to work with students.
“I love the challenge of working with students and trying to find the best way for people to learn things,” Grimm said.
She loved the energy and enthusiasm when working with her students and seeing them transform from freshmen in her freshman year experience class to graduating managerial marketing majors.
When moving into the department chair of marketing and entrepreneurship, she enjoyed working and collaborating with faculty and created her first motto during her first year, which was “faculty unleashed.”
“I had these great faculty who wanted to do these great things, and I just said go,” Grimm said.
During that time, the sales certificate program was started, a major in entrepreneurship was created and increased promotion for the minor in marketing. These were just a few accomplishments Grimm did as department chair.
Grimm also became a part of the Faculty Senate, which eventually led to her being the Chair of the Faculty Senate and Chair of the Educational Policies Council.
Grimm began to work with people across the university to mitigate the damage caused by the pandemic.
“The pandemic just blew up teaching, it blew up research, it blew up everything,” Grimm said.
As chair, she met “almost constantly” with other councils to deal with the issues.
“I developed an enormous respect for all these different areas of the university that I have never really engaged very much with,” Grimm said.
Grimm was able to hear from individuals about the challenges they observed our students were having and the ones they had themselves.
“The most challenging period of my entire career was the two years of the pandemics,” Grimm said. “And also one of the most rewarding periods of my entire career.”
As she retires, she said she will miss some things about her position but will enjoy not being in the “thick of things” anymore.
“I will be involved to some extent,” Grimm said as she explained how she will work with the new chair as the immediate passing chair.
Former Faculty Senate Vice-Chair Tracy Laux, the former Faculty Senate Vice-Chair, will be taking over for Grimm as chair. Laux got involved with the Faculty Senate in 2006 and has become increasingly more active.
“It was a natural next step,” Laux said.
Laux will be more involved with various committees on campus and take over more responsibilities as chair.
“My main responsibility is to make sure the faculty voice is heard in all shared governance issues,” Laux said.
Laux learned a lot from Grimm over the past 4 years when she was chair.
“Pam’s overseeing on the committee on administrative officers was textbook,” Laux said. “I learned how to do it from Pam.”
Laux learned how to conduct his new duties as chair by watching Grimm perform the tasks and said he will do mostly the same with a few minor changes.
“Pam was a joy to work with,” Laux said. “She was quite inclusive in getting everybody to work together.”
Grimm said that she will miss having her regular interactions with colleagues, but still will continue to be a part of Kent State by starting research projects with colleagues.
“In many respects, I feel fortunate because the pieces that mean something to me that I want to keep doing, I can keep doing,” Grimm said. “But I can still have that greater degree of freedom that retirement gives me.”
Professor and Ph.D. Program Director Dr. Jennifer Wiggins-Lyndall worked with Grimm over the last 16 years in research and teaching. One of the reasons that Wiggins-Lyndall came to Kent was for the managerial marketing program and has been involved with it since she joined the university.
“We [Grimm and I] have worked to build that into a really unique major that isn’t offered anywhere else in the country,” Wiggins-Lyndall said.
Wiggins-Lyndall described Grimm as “dynamic” and a “facilitator” because she created structure at the university and “has the ability to see the big picture,” Wiggins-Lyndall said.
Grimm’s passion and care for the university were recognized by her colleagues.
“I think so many things at our department, at our college and frankly at our university are so much better because of the programs and the things that she has helped to create,” Wiggins-Lyndall said.
Besides her work ethic, Wiggins-Lyndall noted that Grimm was a “fun person to be around because of her personality.”
As she leaves her job, Grimm plans on working on some of her ‘life ambitions’ like becoming fluent in Spanish and possibly moving down to Mexico.
“My problem right now is trying to narrow down the multitude of things that I want to do to a more usable set,” Grimm said.
As she reflected on her years at Kent State, she described it as “an ongoing opportunity for connection and growth.”
Grimm is not fully leaving the university yet. In the fall, she will teach two sections of her “favorite class,” lab for the managerial marketing program.
Sydney Pendergast is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected]