After 25 Years of Service
By MaryJo Hoeksema
We have all heard the old adage "no one is indispensable." In some cases, this saying simply doesn't apply. Such was the feeling on June 11 -- the day Geoffrey Grant, a 25-year NIH veteran and director of the Office of Policy for Extramural Research Administration, bade farewell to his colleagues and friends. On July 1, he assumed a new position as associate vice president for research administration at Stanford University.
"This is truly a sad day at NIH," said Dr. Wendy Baldwin, NIH deputy director for extramural research, who had worked closely with Grant since she came to the Office of Extramural Research in 1993. "Geoff Grant embodies the rare combination of skills that have made him a treasure and resource to the NIH and the extramural community. His vision, knowledge, diplomacy and good humor will be sorely missed."
Geoffrey Grant accepts a gift from NIH deputy director for extramural research Dr. Wendy Baldwin.
Grant held a variety of positions at NIH including grants management officer of the National Eye Institute, acting executive officer of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, and grants policy officer in the Office of Extramural Research. In 1992, he was appointed acting director of the Office of Policy for Extramural Research Administration (OPERA) and selected as director in 1996.
As director of OPERA, Grant worked closely with many outside organizations including the Federal Demonstration Partnership, National Council of University Research Administrators, and Society of Research Administrators to help minimize the administrative burdens of federally funded researchers and research administrators and improve the stewardship of federal funds. In particular, he distinguished himself as a champion of extramural "reinvention." As a result of his efforts, NIH is implementing a streamlined application and award process, expanding the development and installation of Electronic Research Administration, and testing a series of initiatives to expedite receipt of grant applications to award.
More than 200 friends and colleagues attended an ice cream social held in Grant's honor on June 11. The program included song parodies of "King of the Road" ("King of the Feds"), "Wake Up Little Susie" ("Pack Up Little Susie") and "Bye, Bye Miss American Pie" ("Bye, Bye Grants Management Pride") and numerous toasts and speeches. Among those who spoke at the event was NIH director Dr. Harold Varmus, who thanked Grant for his many contributions and wished him well at Stanford. Several members of Grant's family attended the event, including his wife Suzanne and their two children Rob and Jenny, his brother Fred and sister-in-law Rose, and his father, Robert Grant, who retired as associate director from the Fogarty International Center in 1967. Six of the former presidential and management interns whom Grant had mentored over the years also attended the party.
"I leave NIH grateful for the opportunities I have had and for the friendships I have forged over the years," said Grant. As a departing memento, he presented the audience with a model of a labyrinth he had purchased from Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. He asked Baldwin to hang the labyrinth in the OPERA offices to help others find a path to peace and resolution when faced with future challenges. At the end of his remarks, Grant thanked the audience for sharing this part of his path.
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