Share Your Memories
As a Citadel president, Gen. Grimsley affected many people over the years. This forum is a place for you to share your stories, memories or just a kind thought about the 16th president of The Citadel. Write as much or as little as you want. We will post your submissions on this page for Gen Grimsley’s friends and family to enjoy. Thank you.
"I was saddened to learn of General Grimsley's death. I was always proud of the fact that my freshman year coincided with his first full year as President of The Citadel. I also felt a connection with him because of his Pee Dee roots. Reflecting back, he was a great leader for The Citadel. My heart goes out to his family."
Shared by Lawrence S. Kennedy Jr., '85
"General Grimsley was named President after Adm. Stockdale left during my knob year. He was always tough, but fair. He commanded inpartially, which taught me a lot. I was very honored to have served on his Presidental Advisory Committee my senior year as the only senior private on the committee and got to know him pretty well. He was a great man, warrior and president. My wife and I sat behind him The Citadel/Carolina game when the Dogs beat the Cocks 38-35. I remember hugging him from behind after we won and actually got hugged back after the shock wore off of him. Even though he was a General, he could also be an every day man, not fully caught up in the formalities of the position. I know his son, Jim Grimsley, who is a colleague of mine in the judiciary, and he is equally the gentleman as his father. My condolences to the whole Grimsley family. The Citadel lost a great friend and supporter of all things Citadel!"
Shared by Blake A. Norton, '84
"A great man with a great family. He was the consummate Citadel Man. I remember how often he use to attend our basketball practices and even after I graduated, he would send me updates on how the team was doing. He will be missed and remembered. Rest in Peace General."
Shared by Terry Tucker, '82
"A true Gentleman and Warrior. One morning Knob year I was on line bracing and waiting to roll out to march to breakfast. It was very dark outside. I saw a figure walling across the Fourth Battalion quad towards Romeo Company. He was in his class B's with black Army Wind Breaker on and I looked up and saw the stars on his shoulders and scrambled eggs on his hat. He then said "Young Man, you can brace better than that. Pull in that chin, let's see a wrinkle and tighten up those arms. We want you to have a good posture." Of course I had less than 5% body fat back then and could hardly make a chin wrinkle but I complied. What a thrill, racked by a two star general - awesome. Then on graduation day as he handed me my degree he saw my Army Contract badge and wished me luck in my Army Career.
Truly an inspiring man. Later on when I was an Infantry Captain at Fort Hood I ran into his son who was a Major at that time. I told his son how much I truly admired his father. I am not one to pass out compliments easily, in this case it was from the heart. I am glad I had the greatest president The Citadel has ever produced as my Citadel President. God Speed good General you taught us well and leave a wonderful legacy."
Shared by Wallace W. Ward, '86
"General Grimsley was the embodiment of the US Army's values and leadership by example. Unquestioned devotion and loyalty to The Citadel, unshakeable personal courage to stand up for the hard right, and the uncompromising integrity to never accept the easy wrong. A truly great Citadel man who leaves behind an incredible legacy of excellence for all to emulate. I am deeply honored to have known him and pray for God's peace that passes all understanding for his family. Well done, thy good and faithful servant."
Shared by COL Michael E. Garvin, '80
"I think it was the General’s voice that first caught my attention. It was an unexpectedly powerful one that immediately captured this knob’s full attention in August 1988 on the occasion of his first address to my class in Mark Clark Hall Auditorium. I still smile every time I think about seeing the General wander into Third Battalion one morning while he was out on a morning run. We were standing in formation on the gallery just prior to breakfast. He walked over to our company area and promptly identified a classmate whose sleepy chin was obviously not tucked in far enough. “Son, I think you can get your chin in farther than that, can’t you?” As soon as the General walked away, one of the upperclassmen said, “Hey, knob. Goooood job. You just got racked by the President of the college! Now, get on your face.”
I was sitting on the Regimental Commander’s mess the day that MG Grimsley announced his intention to retire at the end of the school year. Obviously knowing the General would be informing the Corps of this decision, several BOV members were in the mess hall that day. Following the big announcement, a board member sitting across from me stated that he thought MG Grimsley would go down as one of the best presidents The Citadel ever had. I agreed then and still do.
He was firm and tough but fair, and he was every bit a gentleman. He and Mrs. Grimsley were special people. I miss them both and offer my condolences to the entire Grimsley family."
Shared by Jeffrey Price, '92
"The General was a great Citadel baseball fan. He would came to the miT week games by himself and he would always eat a hot dog. The Diamond Dogs are going to miss him."
Shared by Coleman O. Glaze
"The model for leadership. Uncompromising standards, unwavering faith in the Corps ability to run the Corps, and love for his cadets. I remember the unfortunate events that led to high profile demonstrations by civil rights groups in 1987... MG Grimsley engaged these groups and listened to their concerns; however, he refused to allow them free reign over the campus, steadfastly stating that his first job was to ensure each cadet had an environment on campus that degraded their opportunity to learn. I also appreciated the way he would call you "son"... He really made you feel special. What a man. He will be missed."
Shared by Jeff Jones, '87
"In 1981 I was an Army colonel serving with the Defense Logistics Agency in Washington, D.C. A close friend called to tell me that General Grimsley had talked to him about a vice president's position at The Citadel. My friend recommended me for the job. I had to pay my own way from D.C. to Charleston for an interview with the General. About two months later I was invited back for a second interview and a meeting with the Finance Committee of the Board of Visitors. I was offered the position, accepted and started to work at The Citadel in mid-October, 1981. I became the fourth vice president, and none of the four was a Citadel graduate. My guess is that General Grimsley took some heat from Citadel grads who had applied for the position and were not selected. I quickly recognized that General Grimsley expected nothing but your best work, stood behind you if you somehow managed to screw up, and rewarded those whom he felt did their best for The Citadel and Citadel Cadets. He and his "Bride" Jessie represented The Citadel in the Charleston community with dignity and grace and established a strong relationship between the college and the movers and shakers in Charleston. I ended up spending over 15 years as a V.P. at The Citadel, thanks to General Grimsley, and enjoyed that opportunity to the fullest. Of all of The Citadel men I had the pleasure of meeting, two stand out as the epitome of what a Citadel Man should be: General Grimsley and former Chairman of the Board of Visitors George James (now deceased). Rest in Peace, General, you fought the good fight and won."
Shared by Calvin G. Lyons
"I will always remember the General as the sponsor to the Rugby club and when he placed a 4 on his uniform to signify his "nobe" year as an administrator. I will also remember as the man who replaced my father in Vietnam."
Shared by Ray Alley, '79
"I was hired in the summer of 1984 as The Citadel's Sports Information Director. Newly installed Athletic Director Walt Nadzak recommended my hire to Gen Grimsley. The General was a little skeptical about me, but Walt assured him I would do a good job. Over the years, Gen. Grimsley became my biggest fan, always complimenting me on my work, upset that I wouldn't submit my work for awards, and being a friendly face despite the fact that he was a two-star General. When the Bulldog basketball team had to play at CofC's gym for a year, Gen. Grimsley and Jessie sat right behind me and we had the best time, talking and pulling for the Bulldogs. He never was upset when I had to abandon a conversation to handle something concerning my job. He was the consummate professional, loved his school, was responsible for so many good things at The Citadel and quite frankly help usher in one of the most successful athletic periods in the college's history, hiring Walt Nadzak and approving the hiring of Charlie Taaffe, the winningest coach in Citadel history. General Grimsely, it's hard to believe I can say this but this is the type person you were, thanks for being my friend and treating me so nicely. May you RIP."
Shared by Josh Baker
"I remember him so well. I was the class Vice President senior year. We had raised money all year for a class gift and a farewell class party. We were a little short and the school was not being very helpful. I went to see MG Grimsley to plead my case which included bumping someone that had the beach house reserved. He heard my case and then had the appropriate staff assembled in his office ...with me present. This was the same bunch of uncooperative folks I had been working with. He issued very explicit guidance that included giving us the beach house at cost and money from the schools recreational fund for a band. He loved The Citadel and really loved the cadets. Very good man and family."
Shared by Randy Brooks, '77
"The Citadel is a far greater place because of his leadership and example for the Corps of Cadets. My condolences to the family and a special word to his son, MG William F. Grimsley who I served under in Texas."
Shared by Whit Jones, '93
"To his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren -- not many people go through life and have a positive affect of thousands of people. Gen. Grimsley and Miss Jessie did. I was lucky to know your mother and father and because of that, my life is better today. Gen. Grimsley was there on ring night and was one of the first to shake my hand after I received my diploma and I wouldn't have had it any other way. My deepest and most sincere condolences."
Shared by Ted Pappas, '91
"I remember when Gen. Grimsley inspected my room shortly before the holidays. He asked me how the food in the mess hall was compared to home cooking. I told him that the food in the mess hall was just as good. He laughed and said that I was lying. He gave my roommate and myself outstanding room smi. I'll never forget that. That was 39 years ago."
Shared by Donald Dolan
"I remember during a soccer game my sophomore year in which I had scored some goals in the first half General Grimsley came over and shook my hands during half time offering encouragement. A game later that season during which I missed a penalty kick and another easy goal in the first half General Grimsley came over during half time and offered a encouragement to me. It meant alot to me to have him applaud me when I did well and to encourage me when I fell short. He was such an encourager every time I saw him. He even wrote me a couple of notes in the mail after graduation offering encouragement. God bless him. He is a great man and will be missed until we meet again."
Shared by Craig Stephans, '91
"I was a freshman at the time but I felt honored everytime he was around us. MG Grimsley is the definition of an American Hero."
Shared by Sean Malay, '93
"My Father worked for MG Grimsley at The Citadel throughout his tenure, and I have nothing but wonderful memories of both him and Mrs Grimsley, growing up on campus, and was a factor in me eventually becoming a Cadet. He was always an impressive and caring man. My thoughts and prayers to the entire Citadel Community and most importantly his family."
Shared by Christian J. Adams, '99
"General Grimsley did much to maintain high standards of military bearing of the Corps of Cadets in the 1980s. It was something to be proud of and is something to be emulated.
I was so glad I got to thank him in person as an alumnus during a Homecoming Weekend, quite a few years ago, for everything he did for us while we were cadets.
As with the late LTC Dick, they just don't make men like this anymore. I will always be grateful that all 4 of my cadet years occurred when he was our President. He will be missed dearly, and I salute this outstanding soldier and outstanding man."
Shared by Michael Cicero, '87
"The combination of General Grimsley and Colonel Dick was incredible. We have lost the giants of the 80's for certain.
I came to General Grimsley's attention as a cadet in a less than positive way, but I can tell you that even when he was rightly issuing a lecture and / or punishment he did so with dignity, respect and a measure of fatherly love. Regardless of the punishment he gave me as a cadet, he was always quick and warm to welcome me back on the rare occasions I saw him at football game or on campus for some event.
He will be missed greatly."
Shared by Jeffrey Plumley, '88
"Not long after his retirement, he came back to the opening of the remodeled McAlister Fieldhouse. It was against USC and the Corps was required to attend. The place was absolutely packed and a site to behold.
At halftime there was a small ceremony and the MC introduced the VIPs in attendance. When he got to the General, the Field House shook from the cheers, clapping and stomping of the Corps. You could feel the Field House shake from the noise.
When it finally calmed down a bit, the MC announced “Major General Grimsley” and the place went nuts again. The MC waited for folks to calm down and moved to General Watts who got applause but nothing like General Grimsley, so the MC announced “Major General Grimsley” again and the Corps went wild one last time.
The Corps loved General Grimsley and when he retired we missed him something fierce. I hope that day at McAlister he realized how much we loved him."
Shared by Tom Churchill, '91