Goal: to develop critical thinking skills, skepticism

Larry Grimm

“To me, living your passion is reward enough,” says Larry Grimm, seven-time Silver Circle winner. Photo: Joshua Clark/UIC Photo Services

2013 Silver Circle Award

Since 1966, the Silver Circle has been presented to some of UIC’s best teachers. What makes the award especially meaningful is its selection committee: the graduating seniors.


Larry Grimm
Associate professor emeritus of psychology
Director of graduate studies in psychology
College of Liberal Arts & Sciences


It wasn’t unusual to see Larry Grimm sitting among his high school classmates one day, and standing before them teaching the next.

Grimm knew at an early age that he wanted to be a teacher. Psychology has always fascinated him and Grimm never missed an opportunity to learn more, even volunteering to give lectures in his high school class in Livonia, Mich.

“There’s no higher honor than to win an award while doing something you’re passionate about,” he says of the Silver Circle.

“To me, living your passion is reward enough.”

Grimm’s passion for teaching and psychology intensified as an undergraduate student at Western Michigan University. When a back injury forced him to quit the track and field team (he was an accomplished pole vaulter), Grimm immersed himself in his studies.

Grimm initially aspired to be a high school psychology teacher and coach when he graduated from Western Michigan University. But always the student, he wanted to learn more and instead began graduate studies at Urbana-Champaign. When he became interested in research, a new career path emerged — college professor.

“Teaching has been a perfect fit for me,” says Grimm, who has now won the Silver Circle Award seven times.

“When some people cook, they don’t want to eat alone. When I learn something, I want to share it with others.”

When he lectures, Grimm wants his students to feed off his energy and enthusiasm. His goals are the same as theirs, he says.

“I want them to develop a lifelong love of learning, to develop critical thinking skills and a skepticism about what is held to be true,” he says.

“It’s a big kick for me to see my students leave UIC and become successful in pursuing their dream, even if it’s not psychology.”

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Faculty, Students