Deaths: Larry Grimm, seven-time Silver Circle winner

Larry Grimm

Larry Grimm, associate professor emeritus of psychology, won seven Silver Circle teaching awards during his years at UIC. Photo: UIC Photo Services

Larry Grimm, 66, associate professor emeritus of psychology and seven-time Silver Circle teaching award winner, died suddenly June 14.

Grimm, who joined UIC in 1977, is remembered by students and colleagues as a beloved teacher, clinical researcher and clinician known for generously sharing humor and personal support.

“Larry made our department a much more collegial home for all of us over the many years he served this university,” said Bette Bottoms, professor of psychology and dean of the Honors College. “He will be sorely missed.”

Only two professors have won more Silver Circles, UIC’s annual teaching prize selected by graduating seniors. From 1980 until 2013, he was selected for the award almost every year he was eligible.

“There’s no higher honor than to win an award while doing something you’re passionate about,” he said of the Silver Circle in a 2013 UIC NEWS interview. “To me, living your passion is reward enough.”

Grimm taught courses in abnormal psychology, statistics, research design, advanced psychopathology and psychotherapy.

He was director of clinical training in psychology from 1993 until his retirement in 2002. He was clinical associate professor of psychiatry in the College of Medicine from 1987 to 2002.

After retirement, he returned to teach in the psychology department. He was director of graduate studies from 2004 to 2013, supporting new courses and programs on prejudice, racism and diversity, Bottoms said.

“I have relied heavily on Larry’s wisdom as a fellow director of graduate studies,” said Terri Thorkildsen, professor of education and psychology. “When I ask students which faculty they would like to meet in our proseminar, Larry’s name was always at the top of the list.”

His intelligence and ability to connect with people set him apart, said colleague Gloria Balague, clinical associate professor of psychology.

“That made him very effective as a teacher and as a clinical supervisor,” said Balague, who was a student of Grimm’s when she earned her Ph.D. at UIC. “He could read the mood of a class and change on the spot to adjust his teaching accordingly.”

He was the author of more than 40 publications, including a text on advanced statistical methods in psychology. “His books are prized by many of our students in the College of Education, especially among students who consume our research,” Thorkildsen said.

His private practice career included performance enhancement and executive coaching with Chicago-area business leaders. He was principal investigator with the UIC-based Liautaud Institute, which creates corporate leadership development programs on emotional and social competency.

A native of Livonia, Michigan, he received a bachelor’s degree in 1971 from Western Michigan University, where he was a successful pole vaulter until a back injury curtailed his athletic career. He earned a master’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1975 and a Ph.D. from UIUC in 1977.

A memorial service is planned.