“My highest academic achievement was passing Richard Dehn’s differential equations class,” Grisham says.
Nearly 40 years later, Dehn is still teaching math at Union, and the skills he taught to Grisham have paid off. Grisham is now the chairman and CEO of The Bank of Jackson and a strong supporter of Union University.
“I’ve always thought of my diploma as a stock certificate – that I actually own a piece of the campus,” Grisham says. “I think I’ve truly gotten a great return, if you look at in the financial sense. I do believe my degree is worth more today than it was even when I finished.”
A native of Memphis, Grisham transferred to Union after two years at a community college. He played baseball his junior year and basketball both his junior year and senior year. Baseball proved to be a bit of a stumbling block to him, because he failed Dehn’s class as a junior – which Grisham attributes to several missed classes because of baseball games.
His senior year, he didn’t play baseball specifically so he could focus on that pesky differential equations class. He made a B.
Grisham graduated in 1975, a member of the last graduating class on the old Union campus. He met his wife Susan while he was a Union student, and their daughter Mallory followed in their footsteps, graduating in 2009 with a nursing degree.
Through the years, Grisham’s love for Union has continued to grow.
“Union has always been a highly respected, highly regarded institution of higher learning,” he says. “Today, its light shines brighter than ever.”