Feature Stories

Eric Greinke, '72 & '78

Eric Greinke, '72 & '78

His desire to give and leave something valuable behind certainly reflects all of his life achievements.  Eric Greinke ’72 and ’78 decided that having one passion in life was not enough. A retired social worker and full time poet/publisher, Greinke not only has a way with words, but the mindset to make a difference.

He started his journey at Grand Valley as an aspiring English major. After receiving his degree in English Language and Literature in 1972, he worked various aspects of the literary world. He did everything from writing book reviews for the Grand Rapids Press to teaching Poetry Writing at City High School to becoming the publisher of a small literary press.

However, towards the end of the 70s, he had a strong feeling he was meant to become a social worker for special needs children. He then returned to Grand Valley to complete his Psychology degree. Shortly after, he began working with emotionally impaired children for Catholic Social Services at St. John’s Home as a child treatment worker. From there, he became a therapist at Riverview Residential Treatment Facilities, a private, non-profit agency similar to St. John’s Home in West Michigan.

Greinke has had many prestigious achievements with his social work career. He developed the second ever Treatment Foster Care Program for Riverview. Over the course of eleven years he built it into a large program that provided in-home care for children that otherwise would have needed institutionalization.

Reflecting on his endeavors in social work, Greinke can be certain he made a wise career choice.

“My proudest career moments came from social work,” Greinke says.

From being hailed as a pioneer in the field of Treatment Foster Care, to the satisfaction of returning a severely disabled boy to live with his natural father, social work is his calling.

Greinke believes that Grand Valley played an instrumental part in his success.

“The university gave me the foundation I needed to build on in life,” he said.

Though Grand Valley played a vital role in his story, Greinke was driven by his passion and desire to enter these fields. He believes in choosing a career in which you would work for free if you had to.

“Soul satisfaction should be the first priority.”

Now, retired from the field of social work, he has returned full time to his literary passion. He has written and published nine books and has had over 400 of his poems published in nationally distributed and recognized literary magazines. His books have even been translated into various languages such as French, Italian, Japanese, Taiwanese and Serbo-Croatian.

On a day-to-day basis he spends most of his time making editorial decisions and editing poetry for his publishing company, Presa Press, which he started in 2003 with his wife, Roseanne. He manages to squeeze in a bit of his personal writing as well, writing around 20 poems a year. Greinke lives in Rockford, MI.

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