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Alan Grob

ALAN GROB was born on March 12, 1932 in New York City and died on September 21, 2007 in Houston, Texas. He was the much-loved son of Jack and Ida Grob. He received his B.A. from Utica College and his M.A. and PhD in English from the University of Wisconsin. He served as an officer in the U.S. Navy aboard the U.S.S. General W.A. Mann from 1953 to 1956. In 1961 he joined the Rice University English department, serving as chairman from 1981 to 1987. He received the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching five times and in 1973 he received Rice's highest teaching award, the George R. Brown Award for Excellence in Teaching. He was a visiting professor at Texas Southern University, the University of Indiana, and the University of the Saarland in West Germany, where he held both a Rotary and a Fulbright Fellowship. As a specialist in 19th-century literature, Dr. Grob was the author of the books The Philosophic Mind: A Study of Wordsworth's Poetry and Thought, 1797-1805 and A Longing Like Despair: Arnold's Poetry of Pessimism, as well as many scholarly articles. Dr. Grob served as the president of the Wordsworth-Coleridge Association of America, as a member of the executive committee for the English Romantic Period section of the Modern Language Association from 1973 to 1977, and as chairman of that committee in 1976. He was a faculty associate at Hanszen College of Rice University from 1962 until his retirement in 2002. A leading voice at Rice for social justice and for racial integration, Dr. Grob organized and chaired a faculty committee for minority recruitment in the early years of desegregation at Rice. Upon his retirement, former students and colleagues honored him by establishing the Alan Grob Prize to be awarded annually to the Rice undergraduate who, in the words of the donors, "has demonstrated the most devotion to the needs of the economically and culturally disadvantaged. The recipient's activities shall exemplify the values of community and service that Professor Grob lived and so eloquently sought to teach." In addition, in 2003 the Rice-TMS board established a scholarship for an incoming undergraduate minority student in Alan Grob's name. Alan Grob taught a highly popular course in Shakespeare for almost thirty years and in recognition of that very pleasurable association with the plays of Shakespeare he and his wife Shirley established the Alan and Shirley Grob Endowment for Shakespeare in Performance, a fund created to assist in bringing performances of the plays of Shakespeare to the Rice campus. Dr. Grob loved being a teacher. He was deeply committed to sharing his enthusiasm for literature with the students he loved, and he prized his long friendships with many colleagues that he admired. He loved travel, particularly to the Lake District of England, politics, reading, following sports, and going out to dinner. Perhaps his favorite hobby was to participate in lively debates on subjects that stirred his interest. He took a keen interest in the lives of his children and their families and cherished the time he spent with them. He is survived by his wife Shirley, who was the great joy of his life, and by his daughter Julie Grob and son-in-law Gregg Daileda of Houston, and by his son Jay Grob and daughter-in-law Carla Calabrese of Dallas, and by his grandchildren, Ava Grob and Jack Grob. He is also survived by his sister-in-law Cherry Badger and her husband Jay Badger, by his sister-in-law Virginia Dunlap and her husband Howard Dunlap, by his nephew Ken Dunlap, and by his cousin Eleanor Ziner. His family will treasure the memory of his intellectual passions, strong moral convictions, good humor, and boundless love. A memorial service will be held at Rice University at a date to be announced. For those desiring, memorial contributions may be made to the Alan and Shirley Grob Endowment for Shakespeare in Performance. Please contact the Rice University Office of Development by phone at 713-348-4600 or by e-mail at [email protected] for more information.
Published in Houston Chronicle on Sept. 25, 2007
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