“Grobliness is next to Godliness”

A veteran faculty member once reported seeing that on a sign hanging in a college dining hall. I’ve written about Alan Grob before, including this, one of my favorite posts. He was a legendary and devoted teacher and an enthusiastic storyteller but he left few papers behind when he died in 2007.

So my heart leapt when I walked back into the Woodson after my long vacation and saw this on the shelf in front of me:

Four boxes! And all crammed full:

They’re notes, mostly, for the classes he taught–Shakespeare, Milton, Arnold, Hardy, Keats, Byron, Wordsworth and on and on. I heard his voice again and wept.

There was only one picture, undated:

How lucky we are. And how grateful I am to his daughter Julie for bringing these boxes to the Woodson.

Bonus: Surely it will be different this time.

Extra Bonus: I can’t even bring myself to comment on this.


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20 Responses to “Grobliness is next to Godliness”

  1. Alan Grob was a favorite of mine. I mourn that he is no longer with us.

  2. barbara smith says:

    Dr. Grob was one of the best parts of my Rice experience. When JFK was assassinated, we gathered for class. He read from Ozymandius (sp?), I believe it was, and then said “Class Dismissed.” First class, and empathetic, all the way. Barbara Campbell Smith ’66

  3. Ann Greene says:

    I have a great Grob story. When I was the Alumni Director, he gave a talk on Shakespeare at Parents’ Weekend. I was “chaperoning” the talk, and he discussed some of the great Shakespearean actors, one being Helen Mirren. At the end of the talk a couple came down the aisle to thank him – yes, Helen Mirren and Taylor Hackford, whose son was a student. Dr. Grob was speechless. It was a wonderful moment for him, and he was a wonderful teacher.

  4. I recognize Suzanne Tolbert in the picture. She is the woman with the glasses and the long blonde hair, near the back corner of the room. So the photo is from the late 1970’s or early 1980’s. Dr. Grob also looks as I remember him from Freshman English, which I took in 1976-77.

  5. grungy1973 says:

    Looks like I don’t have to send you a picture of every light pole on campus.

  6. Stephen Baker says:

    Apropos of those lamps lying in the grass. I sure hope they are being renovated and not discarded. As far as I know, they are original equipment, and were gas lit when I arrived in 1963.

  7. Kathy (Lewis) Amen, Brown '71 says:

    The size of the class looks more like what I remember from his BritLit survey course, which I took sophomore year, 1968-9. A freshman class would have been larger. He was a great teacher and such an entertaining speaker. I also fondly remember his remarks during the beginning of the Masterson crisis. I was a bit at sea, not knowing how to feel about the whole thing, but when I heard him speak in favor of the faculty and against the Masterson decision, I knew which side to be on.

  8. Julie Grob says:

    Thank you, Melissa, for that heartfelt response. I was so grateful to the Woodson Research Center for providing a home for Dad’s papers.

  9. marmer01 says:

    I think the German high-hats are being replaced everywhere _except_ the Central Quad, where they will remain. But I could be wrong.

  10. Jay Grob says:

    That photo is likely circa 78-82 and I believe the fully engrossed student in the lower right corner is Board of Trustee chair Bobby Tudor.

  11. I remember Dr. Grob, known to my classmates and me as “Alan.” He was one of the most approachable professors on campus. I never had the privilege of taking a class from him, but I attended a number of events at which he spoke, and he “hang out” regularly with various student groups. I got to know him in those “hang-out” sessions. I had (and have) tremendous respect for his intellectual prowess, and I loved his humility and the fact that he was approachable.

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