Ruth Grimmer

Ruth Grimmer

Ruth Grimmer is the Head of the Academic Support Unit in Cornwall. She has worked in HE for nearly 25 years and feels privileged to have pursued a career that has allowed her to interact with colleagues who are “passionate, amazing, energetic, and enthusiastic”—terms that Ruth’s co-workers often apply to Ruth herself.

She might not have had a career in the sector if not for the support and prompting of her first boss, who saw Ruth’s potential and urged her to spend her evenings working towards a degree from Birkbeck College, University of London. In many ways, that is a fitting start for someone who is, herself, known for being a supportive manager and colleague who urges people to value themselves and always strive to achieve their full potential.

Ruth’s genuine concern for, and interest in, every member of the Cornwall Campuses community are an embodiment of her deep-seated belief in equality and well-being for all. She said: “We are all unique and all have something to contribute. It’s what makes living so much fun.” That’s one of the reasons she agrees with the idea that everyone benefits when women are given equal opportunities: “It seems a no-brainer to me that to treat any individual or group—be that based on race, gender, skin colour, disability, belief system, place of birth, or anything else—as inferior in any way is fundamentally short-sighted and wrong.”

Despite acting as a role model to her many friends and colleagues at the University of Exeter, Ruth herself has not been inspired by any one individual, but, rather, says: “I value and respect people who have a strong internal moral code and values set around treating the earth and all on and in it with respect and dignity. I’m all about walking the walk, not just talking the talk, and value that in others.”

This is a credo that she demonstrates daily not only to her staff but also to her 3-year-old son, whom she names as one of the major joys in her life. Ruth also loves sea-swimming, being outside and in touch with nature, and staying physically active. She often reminds her employees: “Healthy mind, healthy body!”