News at Smith

Maryland Smith Professor Curt Grimm Dies at 65

Dec 13, 2018

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Curt Grimm, a longtime professor at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, died on Dec. 12, 2018, at age 65. He was the Charles A. Taff Chair of Economics & Strategy and became chair of the school’s Logistics, Business and Public Policy department in 2017, having previously served in that role from 1995 to 2003.

Professor Thomas M. Corsi, a logistics department colleague, said Grimm loved the Maryland campus and referred to Van Munching Hall as his “happy place.”

“From the first time I met Curt in 1984, I knew he would be an invaluable asset to our department and the school,” Corsi said. “Over the intervening years, Curt became our department’s leader and an integral part of the growth and development of the Smith School. We have lost a true friend.” 

Grimm was born on July 10, 1953, in Wisconsin and spent his childhood years on the family’s dairy farm. Chores included cleaning the cows' tails and chipping frozen silage in the wintertime.

“It did give me motivation to work hard in school and pursue other paths,” Grimm said in a 2010 Smith Business interview.

He paid his own way through the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he earned an undergraduate degree in economics. He later earned a PhD in economics from the University of California-Berkeley. 

“He earned straight A’s through his undergraduate and graduate programs,” Smith professor Charles E. Olson said. “He never got a B.”

Olson met Grimm at a faculty poker game in 1983, and the two quickly became friends. “He always had time for everybody, especially doctoral students,” Olson said.

Professor Philip T. Evers, another Smith colleague, also enjoyed playing poker with Grimm. “He loved Texas hold ’em,” Evers said. “So twice a year after spring and winter finals, we would head to Atlantic City to recalibrate and work on our applied probabilities.”

He said Grimm was a big Terrapins sports fan and passionate teacher. “This wasn’t a job to him,” Evers said. “This was part of his life.”

Grimm taught students at every level since joining the Smith faculty in 1983. He was a recipient of the Allen J. Krowe Award for Teaching Excellence in 1988, and was named as a Top 15 percent instructor 12 times. The university honored him with a Distinguished Scholar-Teacher award in 2010.

Grimm’s research spanned competition and strategic management, and transportation policy.

“Few professors are able to consistently make important contributions in two such different fields,” Smith dean Alexander Triantis said.

Much of Grimm’s work focused on the interface of business and public policy with strategic management, with an emphasis on competition, competition policy, deregulation and microeconomic reform in the United States and elsewhere. He authored four books and more than 80 published articles.

“On behalf of the entire Smith community, we offer our sympathy and support to Curt’s family, his friends and the many colleagues, students and alumni who will grieve his passing,” Triantis said.

You Are Invited

A celebration of life honoring Curtis “Curt” M. Grimm will start at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at the University of Maryland Memorial Chapel in College Park, Md. A reception will follow at Van Munching Hall. For additional information, please contact Kimberly Kasak, 301-405-2308 or kkasak@rhsmith.umd.edu

About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty master's, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.