Mass of Christian Burial
Saturday, July 21, 2018 • 11 a.m. Most Blessed Sacrament-St. Mary Catholic Church 619 Merritt Ave., Oshkosh, WI
In Memoriam: Kenneth J. Grieb
Dr. Kenneth Grieb, age 79, died peacefully Friday, July 13, 2018, at his home. With more than 50 years of work at the University, Grieb touched countless lives with his teaching, wisdom and humor. In the classroom and through his work with the UW Oshkosh Model United Nations organization, Grieb built the foundational blocks for students and alumni who work around the world, and his presence will be greatly missed. Grieb began his teaching career at UW Oshkosh in 1966. In 1968, he began serving as the international studies coordinator and faculty adviser for the award winning UW Oshkosh Model United Nations Team. His willingness to mentor students led the organization to 34 years of consistent ranking as one of the Outstanding Delegations at the National Model United Nations. We encourage you to share your stories, memories and photos with the University. Content submitted via the form below will be used in future communication and publication about his immeasurable impact, and it will be published in a feed on this site.
For Current and Former MUN Students
If you were a member of the Model United Nations team, please connect with former teammates to learn about gatherings the weekend of July 20–22, 2018. You also can request to join the UW Oshkosh Model UN Alumni Facebook group to connect with teammates. The next reunion is planned for Saturday, May 25, 2019 in Oshkosh, WI. For more information or to make sure you are on the invitation list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students who graduated with an international studies major can also join the UW Oshkosh International Studies Alumni Chapter.
Share Your Memories
Valerie Anne Marie Hagen, MUN alumna 2013–2014, 2016–2017
My grandmother, a third grade teacher, always made sure I would “autograph my work with excellence” because “if I put my name on it, I had better be proud of it.” When she passed away my junior year of high school, I thought I would never meet another teacher with her strict, demanding, empowering high standards. That is, until, I met DG.
My first introduction to Dr. Grieb was at the 2013 Model UN I-meeting. I was captivated by his formula for creating leaders, not only in the various MUN conferences, but in an array of professions that had reach around the world. I promised myself I would one day be pictured in one of his slideshows as I signed my early 20s away to Model UN and the International Studies major. Though I’ll never know what his rating scale for assignments really meant (be it “a start,” “good as far as it goes,” or the prized, “excellent” underlined in his red pen). I know that my scholarship under the direction of Dr. Grieb exceeded what I ever thought I could possibly create. His approval was something my teammates and I sought after, knowing we’d possibly get an “A+” if he believed we had done our best. I might not have been able to out-negotiate my future husband, but I could definitely out-score him on any MNCs assignment. I did eventually make it in to the slideshow, with an off-the-cuff comment by Dr. Grieb about my mouth being “always open.”
My life has been forever changed by Dr. Grieb and the family he created for me and my teammates. I’ll cherish our conversations about our mothers, his journey to becoming a professor, and his encouragement to be the very best I could possibly be.
Lindsey Tyson, MUN alumna 2013–2016
I can’t appropriately articulate the impact Dr. Grieb had on not only my collegiate career, but my life as a whole . I found the International Studies major and the Model UN team after being in school for three years and deciding what I was going to school for didn’t bring me any drive or passion. I know how lucky I am to have been part of the Model UN team and learn from him in that capacity, but I would not be the person I am today without being able to be a student in his classroom. Dr. Grieb was the first professor to challenge me in my writing and make me do my best which would require some fight to get to that point. I didn’t realize the amount of effort it took on his part to make students strive for their best and make sure they were actually learning the material. Those hour long presentations were grueling and it felt good when he didn’t have to add on points after you had finished presenting, but it was Dr. Grieb and he always knew something you hadn’t been able to dig up in your research.
One of my fondest memories of Dr. Grieb came from when we were sitting in the airport waiting to fly back, I had been editing photos from the week past on my computer and he leaned over to look. He was smiling and chuckling, “Oh, that’s a good one!” “These are very nice.” He was so proud and happy to see photos of his team celebrating. Moments like this I wouldn’t expect from a professor or coach, but they were very him. When he would pop out of his office while you were in the hallway and say “I thought I heard your voice now I’ve got some ideas…” and then begin to pick-up on a conversation or topic that you had talked with him months ago. The care he had for his students was something I would never expect, but looking back those moments helped me through so much. I’m so thankful for the person I get to be because I knew him.
Brynley Lee, MUN alumna 1983–1985
I was the first President of the UW Oshkosh Model United Nations team and we were the first team to win Outstanding Delegation in New York at the annual national MUN competition – on behalf of little ol’ UWO against all the giants of the day. That was 1984-85 and we represented the United Arab Emirates. And of course since then and now, UWO MUN is a perennial powerhouse and the team everyone wants to beat. In the spring of 2014, many of us from that first team came together at the 30th anniversary UWO MUN reunion in Oshkosh. At the fundraising auction there, we pooled our resources and purchased the beautiful UN mosaic (plus a plaque that we created) and donated it to Dr. Grieb and the International Studies department. I believe that it still hangs in the foyer! Much love to you Dr. Grieb and our lasting repect from all of us who were there with you in the beginning. Thank you!
Alex Kurowski, MUN alumnus 2007-2010 and former student
It has taken me a little bit to process that passing of Dr. Grieb and what he meant to me or the very powerful impact he had in my life. I came back to school after having been on academic probation in the Fall of 2007. I was hopeful but lacking confidence, and I definitely did not have a support system. I made a major change looking to have a new beginning and chose to enroll in the international studies program. I still remember sitting with Steve Koplitz in the Contemporary International Issues course and Dr. Grieb did a presentation about Model UN. We both thought it looked like a great experience and mutually encouraged each other to go to the first meeting. I was intimidated and felt out of my league most of the time. I was encouraged to stay and made to feel that I belonged by a lot of important people including Brenna Marie, Rob Reeves, Carolyn Kirchhoff Reeves and Kasey Erb. Between Dr. Griebs challenges to me and the encouragement and support that I received from some people whom I now consider my best friends, I was able to grow and develop my skills, perspective and my character.
There is a lot that I could say about the classes I took with Dr. Grieb, exciting times we shared at conferences, or Revolution and development (I think about this class almost every week at one point or another). But I will share one of my fondest moments that I shared with Dr. Grieb. Right after my first year on the team I did a study abroad to China. While I was there I found a really neat map of China from an earlier part of its history (I really don’t remember which dynasty it was). I bought it as a gift for Dr. Grieb and we had a meeting in December 2007 to discuss me getting enrolled in the January winterim class. We had a great conversation about being abroad and when I gave him the gift I saw his eyes light up and he instantly began looking it over and making observations and comments about it. It was a different type of excitement and energy than anything I’d ever seen from him – kind of the energy a kid has on Christmas day. I can’t help but smile when I think about it.
Thank you Dr. Grieb for pushing me to be the best. It is a philosophy I hold dear to my heart. Thank you for giving me a chance and teaching me so many things about the world and giving me the tools to be successful.
Beth Burke, IS Major – International Business/European Studies
My husband and I returned to UWO for a second time from 1990-1993. As a graduate of the ROTC program, he was assigned to teach in the ROTC department. I decided to go back to school, so I was considered an “older” student. With my obligations to my husband’s job and military career, I did not have time to be in Model UN, but will never forget the one and only person who WAS the IS Department – Dr. Grieb. He and I could converse at a different level because I was 10 years older than most of the students, and because I had just spent 5 years living in Europe. Dr. Grieb was by far the best professor I ever had. He was so happy to share his knowledge with everyone and he took great pride in watching his students’ succeed. Dr. Grieb could have done just about everything in life, but he chose to teach at the University level. Because of that, his legacy will live on through the students that he mentored and shared all his “smarts” with. I am a better person – certainly much smarter – because of Dr. Grieb. I will miss his wit, his smile and the pride that he took in watching his students succeed.
Carmen Perez, MUN alumna 2000-2004
With the precision of a chemist, Dr. Grieb designed the structure of the academic year for his students and team. With the passion of an artist, Dr. Grieb instilled a love for learning the issues and a pursuit of excellence. With the spirit of a coach, Dr. Grieb gave the team and its leadership group space to take ownership and make the process their own.
My Dr. Grieb story is like so many others, his methods of leading a team and teaching students stretched me and forced me to try things I didn’t know whether or not I could actually do – – leading to the deepest and most expansive learning process of my life (and because that was happening with a team, I was also having the time of my life). He was tough and challenging, so my memories aren’t really compliments or encouragement he gave me and I wouldn’t even write about he much believed in me. He believed in us.
Allison Corbin, MUN alumna 2011-2012
One of the proudest moments of my life was standing in group of about 60 delgates in New York where I was leading a discussion on our resolution and then turning my head to catch the eye of Dr Grieb. Being a quiet introvert this was quite an achievement. And seeing Dr Grieb’s knowing smile and nod of approval meant more to me than any award ever could. Dr Grieb pushed me beyond my perceived limits and I am a much better person for it.
Donald Schwartz, MUN alumnus 1982-1984
I have many stories, but I will refer to one from the spring of 1983. Our UN team was at UW-Stout for a competition and a winter blizzard hit the area hard. Visibility was zero with high winds and one of university vehicles needed a repair and we had to give the mechanic $20 down so he would prioritize the work on our vehicle. The work later got done and Dr. Grieb asked me to go get the $20 back from the mechanic. He waited in the vehicle and I made my way to the mechanics shop through the wind and snow. I returned about ten minutes later and I didn’t say a word for several minutes. Finally, Dr. Grieb spoke up and said what about that $20 bucks. With s straight face I replied no go on that $20 bucks. Dr. Grieb’s reaction of disbelief on his face made me laugh so hard that I gave up the $20 bucks to him. He didn’t laugh too much about my harmless humor, but I could see the twinkle in his eye that he thought it was funny.
Dr. Grieb influenced my life tremendously. I will try to find the kind letter he wrote me after I graduated and moved to Washington D.C. and will share it.
David Litman, MUN alumnus 2007-2012
The last time I saw him in person was the day he and the Model UN team were flying back to Oshkosh after another successful NMUN conference in New York in March 2018. Living in New York now, I had made a point of stopping at the conference as much as I could to watch the UWO MUN team in action and to catch up with Dr. G. I stopped by his room to have a last chat with him before he left for the airport. With the ongoing program cuts around the UW system, I wanted to hear his thoughts on the future of his IS department. A group of alumni had been talking over the previous few days about what we might be able to do to help keep the IS program around to keep benefitting current and future students like it had benefitted us over the years through Dr. Grieb’s dedication and commitment.
In typical Dr. Grieb fashion, he had already been on top of the issue. What struck me about the conversation is that he never spoke in terms of “I” – he always spoke in terms of “IS students.” While I was coming at the conversation from a standpoint of wanting to help Dr. Grieb, he was coming into the conversation from a standpoint of wanting to ensure any outcome of the program reviews would be beneficial for his students.
Towards the end of our conversation, I told him that I had spoken with a number of alumni of his and we all wanted to help in any way we could. Dr. Grieb responded appreciatively, saying it would be important, but noted that all of the other programs that might fall under the eye of program cuts would also have alumni speaking up for them. I responded “Sure, but YOU taught us to be the most noticeable, most knowledgeable, and most effective advocates in any room.” I’ll never forget the proud, reflective smile on his face as he gave his legendary chuckle and said “I guess you’re right.” The man had dedicated his life to his students, and he was proud of his students to the very end, too.
Kayleigh McGee, MUN alumna 2007-2009
We went to St. Louis in February and New York in March. I was finishing out my sophomore year, and as an education major, was beginning my clinicals after St. Louis. I couldn’t go to New York, and Dr Grieb knew that. He assigned me as head delegate in ECOSOC because he knew I would succeed in a smaller group. I did succeed. I ended up alone with him on an elevator in St. Louis and he said “Feels pretty good to win on your own, huh? Are you sure you don’t want to come to New York?” He knew I wasn’t going to be able to come to New York, but he still took the time to congratulate me in that special way. I had accomplished something I didn’t really think that I could, and it was because of him.
Jennifer (LaBorde) Monroe, MUN alumna 2004-2009
Like all alumni and current students, I’ve been reflecting on my time in Model UN after Dr. Grieb’s passing this week. There was no greater influence in my education than the one he had. I can’t say enough about how MUN and Dr. Grieb changed me. It was more than classroom lessons and the experiences we had as global champions. It was lessons of life—how to negotiate, how to stand out and how to lead. The experiences I had because of this man were incredible. The lessons he imparted, whether at the lectern or though his own form of tough love, built me into the person I am today.
I enrolled at UWO because of the MUN program and Dr. Grieb. I thought it would be fun. I thought the competitions would be exciting. How little I knew about how much that decision would shape my life. Cheers to your life and legacy, Dr. Grieb. You forever have a place in my heart.