Grimes Included in Magazine’s Top 100 Irish Educators of 2009


Published: November 5, 2009

Rev. Robert R. Grimes, S.J., dean of Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC), was named one of the Top Irish Educators of 2009 by the Irish Voice magazine. The reception of the first annual top 100 Irish Education was held at the American Irish Historical Society in Manhattan and the article was published in the Oct. 9 edition of the magazine.

“If it hadn’t been for a FCLC alumna, I wouldn’t have even known,” Grimes said. He said that the alumna contacted his assistant two days prior to the reception. “I already had another event that evening that started at the exact same time and so I told her that if I get there right as it begins, I can stay for 15 minutes,” he said.

“I’m not sure that many people know about it, but I did hear from a couple of other Fordham people who happen to subscribe to The Irish Voice,” Grimes said.

Grimes said he was ordained a priest in June of 1984. He earned a bachelor of arts, cum laude, in German language and literature from Fordham University in 1975. He is not only the dean at FCLC, but also an associate professor of music at Fordham. The supplement also featured Grimes’ other degrees from Manhattanville College, the Weston School of Theology, as well as a Ph.D. in music from the University of Pittsburgh.

The Irish Voice, a New Yorkbased, weekly newspaper, said that the supplement is “the inaugural effort to begin to quantify the Irish commitment to excellence in education in the United States.” It is a “diverse compilation that “includes presidents and professors, trustees and administrators and everyone in between, all of whom share a common bond—a deep pride in their shared heritage,” said Debbie McGoldrick, senior editor of the “Irish Voice.”

I had always liked going to school as part of my formation as a Jesuit,” said Grimes. He said that after being sent out to teach at a high school for three years, “once I got the knack of it, which took a little awhile, I really liked it, although it was a difficult transition.”

In the course of becoming a Jesuit, Grimes studied theology before becoming a priest. After a Jesuit provincial asked him to go to graduate school and to get his doctorate, Grimes found himself at Fordham University. He said, “After I received my doctorate, I came to Rose Hill as a member of the music faculty in ’92… In ’94, I taught half my courses [at FCLC] and half at Rose Hill.”

According to The Irish Voice, “The Irish are wonderful educators, as our first ever Education 100 list proves. They are natural teachers, individuals who are unselfish in motive and who love giving back to younger generations.”  The newspaper stated that the Irish created much of modern America, especially in terms of education. “The Irish donated one other great institution to America—the Catholic school system which has stood the test of time, and nowadays is considered on par with any other educational system in the world.”

“I’m not sure there was ever a moment where I said, ‘This is what I am going to do,’ although I don’t regret it for a moment,” Grimes said. “It just sort of naturally evolved rather than a moment of decision, that’s true of everything in life. More often than not, we find ourselves attracted to things and find that we can do certain things and just move in that direction,” he said.

“There is so much going on here in the college and I have to say that I feel very much privileged to be dean of this school,” said Grimes. “I am extremely proud of this college.”