Balance. Support. Friends. Family.
These are words that Dr. Jaison Grimes ’02 used repeatedly when talking about the University of Findlay and his time spent here as a student-athlete.
Grimes, one of seven members of his family to graduate from UF, and an assistant professor of clinical neurology with the Indiana University School of Medicine, was recently back on campus as the 2018 graduate commencement speaker, and continuously expounded on the many advantages of an academic background from the University. As an example, he said, when he went to medical school at The Ohio State University, he was among those who were educated as undergraduates at various Ivy League schools. Obviously, it was a competitive atmosphere. “I did better than they did,” he explained. “I remember thinking, ‘I went to Findlay.’” And that, he pointed out, was a big advantage.
Grimes comes from a long line of Oilers. Along with his father, a 1973 graduate of then Findlay College, whom he calls his biggest supporter aside from his wife, Jennifer, he is joined as UF alumni by a second cousin and four first cousins. The various members of the Grimes family who have walked through the Griffith Memorial Arch as UF graduates spans parts of four different decades, from the early 70s to the early 2000s. While some of them just “happened” to end up here, he said one cousin “felt the gravitational pull that seems to bring a lot of us here.” It’s a pull that many who come to UF know all too well. It feels like home.
Grimes credits his parents, Dowdy and Marcia Grimes, with giving him the opportunity to explore different avenues in life. “That’s the key,” he said. “There are plenty of smart people in the world, but if they don’t get the opportunity to use that intelligence, that’s half the battle.”
Grimes was also a member and captain of the men’s basketball team during his tenure as an Oiler, which only added to the extended family he is, as he said, so fortunate to be a part of. “We were and still are a close group,” he said of his former teammates. He added that the roots he put down at UF remain unbroken, and in fact, are very deep. “It might be one of them or someone else, but I literally talk to someone that went to UF every single day. The best decision I ever made besides marrying my wife was to come to school here, and I’d imagine my family feels the same way.”
During his commencement speech, Grimes echoed words of allegiance and affection for UF, and particularly for its students and growth in academics. He listed one-by-one all of the graduate programs that UF offers, and confessed that if they had all been offered when he was a student, the self-admitted lover of learning likely never would have left.
He also came back to the idea of balance when he explained to the sea of graduates in the Koehler Fitness and Recreation Complex that, because they have learned through college to balance family, work and the constant necessity of physical and mental stamina among other things, there is no doubt that, with the help of their education from UF, they will succeed in balancing their professional life going forward. He spoke about how he, as a neuroimmunologist, works in inpatient practice and outpatient practice; how he is a researcher, a collaborator and a passionate believer in working toward eradicating multiple sclerosis. In other words, he practices balance.
“You’re all a bunch of ninjas, a bunch of Jedi,” he reminded the graduates. “You are of value. And when you get out into the world, people will try and tell you that you’re not that important. Remember: you’re worth more than they try and make you feel.” Worth more, because they’re alumni of the University of Findlay.
And in that true Oiler spirit, the one that pulls students to Findlay and creates for them an extended family that they can call on for life, he let them know that if there was anything he could do for them, they could just let him know, and he would help them in any way he could.
That’s family. Grimes and other UF graduates have a very specific definition of the word.
Just a little less than a year ago, Grimes and his wife welcomed their son Lennox into the world, and, while it’s impossible to tell just yet, when it comes time for the boy to head off to college, there may be a pull too strong for him to ignore leading him directly through the Griffith Memorial Arch and back, like so much family before him.