Alumni Profiles

Ben Binversie ’17, content specialist fellow with the Grinnell College Office of Communications, is producer of the new All Things Grinnell podcast. We asked him about it:

To hear Arrel Gray ’00 talk about the need for identifying and supporting quality child care, it’s no wonder that his business has been so successful.

The Grinnell College Alumni Council has selected 14 exceptional graduates to receive the 2019 Alumni Awards.
The Alumni Award recognizes individuals who embody Grinnell College’s mission of lifetime learning and service and contribute to the common good. Nominated by their classmates and peers, recipients have distinguished themselves by their service to their careers, their community, and/or the College.

As a young copywriter working at a New York City ad agency, Ken Krimstein ’80 had a routine. Each Wednesday he would walk around the corner to the offices of The New Yorker, drop off a batch of his cartoons, and hope that the editor would like one enough to publish it. Ten years and 400 cartoons later, his first one was accepted by the magazine.

Next time you’re challenged to a sword fight, call Ricki G. Ravitts ’70, a fight director who has taught stage actors around the world how to parry, thrust, and stab for almost 25 years.

When Brian Cavanagh-Strong ’09 landed himself in the New York University Tisch School of the Arts graduate program for musical theatre writing, it was, he says, “like a dream.”

“My whole life I said to myself, ‘I will not teach,’” says Kaydi-Ann Newsome ’14, an economics major from Jamaica. “I remember my chemistry teacher in year nine saying to me, ‘You know, one day you’re going to be a teacher.’ I was just like, ‘No, sir. It’s not going to happen. It’s just not going to happen.’”

“From the minute I was first introduced to Japanese in elementary school, my life changed,” says Anneke Walker Nagao ’87. “My whole life revolves around that moment.”

If you drive to Grinnell on Interstate 80, you might be inclined to think Iowa’s economy is heavily agriculture-based. Your eyes might deceive you, says Jack Mutti, professor emeritus of economics.
In terms of actual production, the agricultural sector accounts for about five percent of Iowa’s GDP. Yet, agriculture is connected intimately with many other industries, including manufacturing. So, the impact of recent tariffs is bigger than some of the numbers might lead you to believe, especially because the tariffs most directly affect exports.

Grant Faulkner ’87 says the best way to learn how to write a novel is to just sit down and write it.