by Courtney Crandell
Patrick Henry College
The Patrick Henry College administration has announced the hiring of Dr. Cory Grewell, who will join the PHC faculty as a literature professor in the fall.
Grewell’s appointment came after a six-month search to replace PHC’s beloved literature professor Dr. Bonnie Libby, who passed unexpectedly in November 2012. According to Provost Dr. Gene Edward Veith, Grewell fulfilled each of the three standards required of PHC faculty: strong Christian, scholar, and teacher. “We’re not satisfied unless we can find all three of these,” Dr. Gene Veith said.
Dr. Cory Grewell
The search committee—comprised of Veith, Dr. Les Sillars, Dr. Michael Kucks, Professor Jackquelyn Veith, Dr. Frank Guliuzza, and Dr. Steven Hake—reviewed about 20 applications and seriously considered eight. Both Hake and Veith said that the committee would have waited to hire a new professor if they had not found the right person in Grewell.
“It’s much more important to get the right person than to get someone quickly,” Hake said.
Grewell’s application materials made him Veith’s top choice early into the selection process, and his on-campus visit confirmed initial good impressions, especially his teaching performance, after less than a week of preparation, instructing a Western Lit section on Dante’s 7th circle of hell.
Senior literature major Mary Sue Daoud observed the class section, having spent the previous summer writing a Directed Research and Writing project on Dante. “I could tell how much research he had put in,” Daoud said. “He went above and beyond to prepare.
Daoud also believed that Grewell’s expository teaching style will blend well with the other literature faculty. Sophomore literature major Jonathan Boes said he looks forward to Grewell’s interest in creative writing.
Grewell has written an unpublished criminal detective novel about a detective named Rusty, finished the novel a couple years ago and “got as positive response [from publishers] as you could get without saying ‘yes, we will publish the book,’” Grewell said.
He hopes to write more fiction in the future. “It’s still what I want to do when I grow up,” he said.
Grewell earned his undergraduate degree in English from The Master’s College, master’s degree in English from California State University, and his doctorate in English from Northeastern University.
His extensive teaching experience includes an adjunct position at Gordon College, assistant professor position at Thiel College, and his current position as assistant professor at American University in Dubai.
Grewell’s interest in teaching abroad grew after he looked into the International Institute for Christian Studies (IICS). Although unable to teach through IICS, Grewell found the position in Dubai after finding an ad in the Chronicle of Higher Education.
His classes at American University have enabled Grewell to speak openly about faith and theological truth with his students despite the Muslim culture, which he said has been strongly influenced by the West.
Grewell also learned about the open position at PHC through the Chronicle of Higher Education. He had already heard about the college through his wife’s parents who live in Sterling, Va., and knew that PHC students had a good reputation.
Grewell will begin teaching two sections of Western Literature II and British Literature I this fall. He has a wife, Nicole, and a 4 year old son, Tristan.