Dr. Larry Grimes to be Director of Church Relations at Bethany

3124grimes1copy.jpgBETHANY, W.Va. – Dr. Scott D. Miller, President of Bethany College, announced the appointment of Dr. Larry Grimes as Director of Church Relations at Bethany. After 38 years of distinguished teaching at Bethany, Dr. Grimes is retiring as the Perry E. and Aleece Gresham Chair in Humanities, Professor of English and Chair of the Department of Literature and Language at Bethany at the end of the 2008-09 academic year. He will transition into his new role of service to the College on July 1.

Dr. Miller noted that during an extensive national search, the screening committee sought input from church leaders throughout the nation. During that process, Dr. Grimes came up quite often as someone who possesses the “respect, working relationships, and passion for Bethany College needed in this critical position,” Dr. Miller added.

“His vast experience and knowledge will be invaluable assets in maintaining and enhancing our relationship with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).”

Founded by Alexander Campbell, who provided the land and funds for the first building and served as the first president, Bethany has been a four-year private liberal arts college affiliated with the Christian Church since its inception nearly 170 years ago. Campbell was one of the principal founders of the Christian Church, which continues to support and encourage the College. The Director of Church Relations is responsible for working with churches, pastors, alumni and friends to help form meaningful relationships with the College.

An ordained minister of the church, Dr. Grimes graduated magna cum laude from Bethany in 1964 with a major in English and a minor in Religion. He earned his B.D. from Yale Divinity School in 1967. Prior to joining the Bethany faculty in 1970, he spent three years as associate minister of the Sandy Springs (Ga.) Christian Church while he began working toward his doctorate at Emory University in Atlanta. Emory presented Dr. Grimes with his Ph.D. in Literature and Religion in 1974.

A popular professor on the Bethany campus, Dr. Grimes is a renowned Hemingway Scholar. His published works include “The Religious Design of Hemingway’s Early Fiction” along with poetry, articles on religion and literature, essays, and numerous articles in his capacity as an editorial consultant for The Hemingway Review. He has also served on the program committee for the West Virginia Humanities Council.

Dr. Grimes remains an active and prolific scholar. He was a featured presenter at the International Hemingway Conference in Kansas City, Mo. over the summer and recently was elected secretary of the South Atlantic Modern Language Association’s Hemingway Society section. A new book, “Hemingway, Cuba and the Cuban Works,” edited by Dr. Grimes and Bickford Sylvester is presently being prepared for publication in 2009 by Kent State University Press. In October, one of Dr. Grimes’ original works of poetry was selected for inclusion in the most recent literary anthology published by the Knoxville (Tenn.) Writers Guild.

Pastor of the Community Christian Church in Beech Bottom, W.Va., Dr. Grimes and his wife, Carol ’66, celebrated their 40th anniversary in 2006. They are the parents of one daughter, Rebecca.

“I am delighted that Bethany College has invited me to join in deepening our engagement with the church and putting in place a new set of relationships between the College and the Church,” Dr. Grimes said. “This is an exciting time for the Church and the College and I look forward to both restoring and enhancing Bethany’s rich Campbell heritage.”

Bethany College is a small college of national distinction located on a picturesque and historic 1,300-acre campus in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Founded in 1840, Bethany is the state’s oldest private college.