Dear Professor Grimmett,
Congratulations to you on your retirement on June 30th, 2020, after 21 years of teaching and mentorship in EDCP.
Thank you for everything that you’ve done, especially the time you served as EDCP Head. We will all miss you!
Best wishes to you and happy retirement!
Today is my last day as a member of EDCP. As I become an Emeritus Professor, I just want to say how much I have enjoyed my third and final stay at UBC these last ten years (having had stays of 3, 8 and 10 years at different times at UBC during my 44 years as an academic, 53 years since I first began teaching in 1967). I enjoyed my time because I was part of a departmental unit that is tremendously forward-looking and collegial, producing first-rate scholarship, and having an important emphasis on, and a highly competent approach, to teaching and service.
Thank you all for the last ten years we have had together.
Link to Prof. Grimmett's retirement talk on March 12, 2020 at UBC Golf Club.
Hello, Peter. Greetings from Lisbon, where I am attending a conference on “Historical Fiction, Fictional History and Historical Reality.” I am sorry I couldn’t be there to join in the celebration of your career and in particular, the time you spent in the Department of Curriculum & Pedagogy.
It was important to me to send a message because I had the privilege of working closely with you for three years in my role as Undergraduate Coordinator. You were a mentor to me and you also provided oversight in my promotion to Full Professor, something that definitely means a lot to me!
Speaking of historical reality, I want to publicly acknowledge that your time as Department Head was not an easy one. In fact, it is fair to say that it was quite tumultuous, given that our previous Head left rather abruptly, and there was a great deal of friction within the department for various reasons. In spite of this, you guided the department with a steady hand. You were fiscally responsible, your door was always open (at least metaphorically), you looked for faculty members’ strengths and built on them, and you had an appropriate piece of poetry to fit every occasion! According to staff members—and I quote—you were “dedicated beyond comprehension.”
I wish you a wonderful retirement, Peter—lots of quality time with family and friends, good books, music, long walks, walking soccer, and writing. Just maybe avoid the water off Mexico. I hear it’s shark-infested, anyway!
All the best, Peter.
(Read on Penney's behalf by Dr. Samson Nashon at the March 12, 2020 retirement function.)
It’s been great working with you all these years — from the BC Secondary Schools research project at SFU when I was a grad student back in the 90s, to a good decade or more in EDCP at UBC. You have always been an honest, kind, thoughtful and deep-thinking leader and colleague. I enjoy our shared poetry and music connections too! Here’s to health and happiness and much enjoyment ahead!
I was fortunate to be present at your retirement celebration, which was very inspirational. I also read your farewell email to the Department and wanted to take this opportunity to wish you a very fulfilling and happy retirement. It happened that I arrived at the Department almost at the same time as you became EDCP Head. These were difficult times for the Department and you took upon yourself a challenge to change the situation. I didn’t fully appreciate it then, but with the time, it became clear how difficult the task was. As I became more engaged with the Department, I slowly learned about the inner workings of the departmental and Faculty life and how important the vision, integrity and dedication to the Department of the Head were. You clearly had these qualities and you came to EDCP to make a difference in our lives and not just to advance your own career. This was very clear to me and I have a lot of respect for that. I have to say that there are many reasons for me to admire your academic career and what you have done for the Department. However, the most important one was and still remains for me your commitment to listen to everybody, especially to the people who you might disagree with. This is something we are lacking in our society now. I remember you used a quote “to quarrel joyfully and peacefully” (or maybe I am misquoting you). But the meaning clearly was – let us hear different points of view, let us listen, let us think, let us disagree, but in a respectful and positive way, so at the end of the day we can live as a community where we learn from each other and respect each other even if we have different points of view. This is what comes to mind when I am thinking about you.
I also think that it is rare today to find a colleague who is so well read beyond their own field, who loves poetry, music, and sports and who knows how to live the life to the fullest. I always found that speaking with you allowed me to learn something new and interesting. This is very inspirational and I hope I will be able to live my life like that. Let me follow you and turn to Rudyard Kipling who more than a hundred years ago (circa 1895) wrote his famous poem “IF”. While Kipling dedicated it to his son, I think it speaks to all of us:
Rudyard KiplingBy Rudyard Kipling More Rudyard KiplingIf you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/if-by-rudyard-kipling
I think the way you led our Department resonates with the advise Kipling gave to his son. I would like to wish you and your family all the best and to thank you for all you have done for the Department. I hope you will be visiting with us and supporting us. I am grateful I had an opportunity to be your colleague for a decade.
Let me say how I enjoyed every bit of your wise counsel and mentorship! You steered the Department to the heights of glory and I just want you to know that the peace and collegiality we enjoy in the Department are all due to your wise and able leadership. You will always remain my teachers!
With Deep appreciation,
I so value you mentorship and deeply collaborative spirit. Working together with our SFU MEdEP cohort and the Field Programs self study group were highlights of my time there. Thank you for your incredible support of WKTEP, the West Kootenay Practitioner Inquiry and Place-Conscious Pedagogies M.Ed., and rural education writ large. These programs are thriving thanks to your advocacy.
Until the next time we’re on a plane, bus, or ferry together,