Academics, Athletics, Campus wide, Faculty

Math professor, mascot wearer – you never know where Grieves will turn up

By Jan Joslin | October 3, 2019

Dr. Justin Grieves, associate professor of mathematics, likes to have fun. 

Justin Grieves

Outside the classroom, he has found a unique avenue for fun – dressing as a mascot. Grieves has been Chas the Crab at Charleston’s STEM Festival, Bucky at CSU football games, and Chelsea the Riverdog at the local minor league ballpark. 

Despite the very hot and sweaty conditions, Grieves said it is surprising how much happiness you can bring to people while dressed up in a big suit. He also finds it amazing what he is able to get away with. “As Chelsea the Riverdog, I grabbed the hand of our new president and licked it,” said Grieves. “I had not even met him [Dr. Costin] yet, but I thought, I’m going to make a mark right now.”

Grieves said being a mascot is about taking your talents and bringing joy to other people. He said, “It is a visualization of the joy I have as a Christian. As a professor, I try to bring that same joy to students.”

Grieves likes to have fun with students. Recently, he was one of the faculty members who received pies in the face for $2 a pie on Pi Day. “We raised a lot of money for the computer science club,” said Grieves. “There is a special relationship that exists because it is a Christian campus.”

Grieves isn’t all fun and games. His specialty is probability – the structure behind randomness. Because all faculty members are professing Christians, students get real relationships. He said, “As a faculty and a student body, we are knit together in love. Iron sharpens iron. When I lead students in research, we get to know each other on a personal level.”

He said, “Mathematics and God go together like you can’t imagine. Our program is one of the most rigorous in this area or even in the country. Graduates impress everyone they come across.” 

Grieves said he became a Christian when he was younger, but during his college years he let his faith slip. When he and his wife were expecting their first child, Grieves said, “Something sparked in my mind – fatherly love was sparked by the Father.”

Not one to stay serious for long, he confesses he lost all naming rights for future children after naming their first child Mathew – with one t, so it would have math in the name.

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