Over the past fifteen years, Amy Grimm, as Assistant to the Director, has seen over 450 Warren Wilson MFA students from application request to walking stick. She’s tended to faculty travel and dorm assignments and buddy pairings and graduation buffet menus; she’s kept our budget, sent out cheerful reminder emails, and has shared in our celebrations and trials with compassion, wit, and a sympathetic shoulder. For a decade and a half, Amy has been, as Debra Allbery said in her final residency introduction of her, our compass and calendar and counselor.
When Amy announced this month that she would be concluding her remarkable tenure as the Warren Wilson MFA Program’s Assistant to the Director in September, the question which loomed as large as “How will we ever replace her?” was “How might we adequately honor her?”
At the banquet following our graduation ceremony, each constituency of our Warren Wilson family presented tokens of their affection and gratitude to Amy for her decade and a half of dedication to this program. Students offered a donation in Amy’s name to one of her favorite local charities. Former MFA director Pete Turchi and current director Debra Allbery presented a rhododendron walking stick adorned with scores of messages and mementos from faculty past and present. And Program founder Ellen Bryant Voigt, Board Chair of Friends of Writers, Inc., announced that FOW’s student emergency fund would be renamed the Amy Grimm Student Emergency Fund.
Attaching Amy’s name to a fund which supports students in times of dire necessity provided us with an enduring way to honor the generous care and selfless attention she’s given generations of students: through financial assistance that continues such care. Alumni and faculty who wish to express their appreciation to Amy may direct donations to this fund by designating it on the memo line on checks mailed to Friends of Writers at PO Box 128, Marshfield, VT 05658, or by appending a note to secure credit card donations made at www.friendsofwriters.org.
We’ll feature a full profile of Amy Grimm later this month.