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Former PJC President W. Frank Grimes honored

Published or Revised October 20, 2006

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PJC President Dr. Pamela Anglin, right, presents the Distinguished Alumnus Award to the late W. Frank Grimes’ daughter, Hassel Grimes Wright, second from right. With her, left to right, are her granddaughter, Paris Bradley, and daughter, Miss Margaret Bradley. Grimes was president of Paris Junior College from 1963 to 1968.

W. Frank Grimes, a chemistry teacher and later president of Paris Junior College, was honored posthumously Thursday when the college presented his family with the Distinguished Alumnus Award.

PJC President Dr. Pamela Anglin presented the award to the late president’s daughter, Hassel Grimes Wright, who grew up in Paris.

Also in attendance were Mrs. Wright’s daughter, Miss Margaret Bradley of Washington, D.C., and her granddaughter, Paris Bradley, of Littleton, Colo., daughter of Mrs. Wright’s son, Bill. Mrs. Wright also resides in Littleton.

“It is a privilege to honor Mr. Grimes, who was such an outstanding teacher and president of this institution,” said Anglin. “He is part of the great history of this college.”

Grimes began teaching at Paris Junior College in 1951. He was named president in August 1963 following the resignation of Dr. C.C. Clark, and served in that position until 1968.

Former students of Grimes gave testimony to his thorough, yet caring teaching method. Gary Ballard, president of the PJC Alumni and Friends Association, PJC instructors Larry Roberts and Don Kosterman, and retired president and instructor Bobby Walters all agreed that the late teacher was able to inspire them and give them direction for their lives.

Roberts said Grimes directed him into mechanical engineering when he saw that the student wasn’t “the best” chemistry student. “But I did make 100 on one test in his class,” Roberts said.

Kosterman, now a chemistry teacher himself at PJC, said he learned more than just chemistry from Grimes. “He actually taught me how to teach,” he explained.

Walters told how curious the late teacher and president was about everything. “He always wanted to learn, and he could turn a dull subject into something very interesting,” Walters said.

Ballard noted that Grimes, a graduate of PJC, was the first president of the PJC Alumni Association, which was organized in 1934. Grimes was teaching at Paris High School at the time.

Mrs. Wright thanked everyone gathered at the McClanahan Alumni Center for the kindness and thoughtful words spoken about her father.

“All of this brings back so many remembrances of growing up here in Paris and seeing my father go to work at the college,” she said. “I am almost speechless.”

Dozens of family, friends and former students enjoyed a reception that followed the presentation.

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