Curtis M. Grimm: In Memoriam

Curtis M. Grimm dedicated his professional career to both the Logistics, Business, and Public Policy (LBPP) department and to the Robert H. Smith School of Business. Curt joined the LBPP faculty upon his graduation with a PhD in Economics from the University of California-Berkeley. It wasn’t long before he became an essential part of and an invaluable asset to the growth and development of the LBPP department and the entire school. He was appointed as the Charles A. Taff Chair of Economics and Strategy in recognition of his substantial contributions to both the academic discipline of transportation economics and managerial strategy. He became chair of the school’s LBPP department in 2017, having previously served in that role from 1995 to 2003.

Curt was a master teacher and excelled in that capacity with undergraduate students, master’s students, and PhD candidates. He received numerous awards in recognition of his superior teaching. In fact, he was named as a Smith Top 15 percent instructor a dozen times. In addition, he was honored at the university level as a Distinguished Scholar-Teacher in 2010. Curt always stressed the importance of being totally prepared for each classroom session, regardless of the level of the students. As a department chair, he had the same standards of excellence for all the faculty members in the LBPP department. He considered it a true privilege to be a faculty member at a major academic institution. He had a deep sense of responsibility to ensure that he consistently delivered the best possible level of instruction to each and every one of his students. 

Curt had a special passion for doctoral students in the Logistics, Business, and Public Policy program. He worked tirelessly to ensure that all LBPP doctoral students received full attention and guidance while working on their doctoral theses. He insisted that faculty work closely with each doctoral student to ensure that the students had a successful launch to their academic careers with academic publications in leading journals from their dissertations. As a result of these efforts, many of the students he guided are now tenured professors at major research institutions in the United States and abroad.

Equally important to Curt was his lifelong passion for his own academic research.  His research focused on the interface of business and public policy. Indeed, many of his articles contributed directly to policy initiatives with his work cited as justification for new policies and programs.  He contributed significantly to academic research dealing with competitive dynamics and its impact on managerial strategy. In total he authored four books and more than 80 published articles. In June of 2018, he gave a keynote address at an international conference held at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, in recognition of this contribution to the field of strategic management. 

While Curt’s dedication to the Smith School was total and unyielding, nothing was more important to him than his beloved wife, Sandy Gawlas, and his sons Kenneth and Erik. Curt took great pride in his family and was always willing to share the latest news about their life accomplishments. Curt’s family has been overwhelmed with the love and support that they have received from the Smith Community. 

We have lost a great friend. Curt believed that being a tenured full professor at the Robert H. Smith School of Business was the greatest job that anyone could possibly have. He felt truly blessed to be a part of the Smith School and considered it to be his “happy place.”

A Memorial Service in appreciation of his lifelong accomplishments will be held on Feb. 7, 2019, at the campus’ Memorial Chapel at 3 p.m. All are welcome to attend and additional details will be forthcoming. Curt’s family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Curtis Grimm Memorial Fund.

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