Diverse Paths of Leadership and Innovation: Asha Moran '92

Asha Moran '92 will be the featured speaker in the Diverse Paths of Leadership and Innovation speaker series on Friday, April 20. The event, which is free and open to the public, will start at 2 p.m. in Noyce 1023. The Donald and Winifred Wilson Center for Innovation and Leadership is sponsoring the speaker series and associated course.

Asha Moran is a partner in Glen Street Capital, a lower middle market investment group in the southeast that seeks to create value through business ownership that combines access to capital with strategic value and experience. 

In addition, she is a principal with Clear Path, LLC a management consulting firm providing advisory, strategic planning, and interim leadership services. Asha focuses on marketing and channel strategies, strategic planning, and turnaround management. 

Prior to joining Clear Path, Asha spent over 10 years with Creative Memories/The Antioch Company, a $300M business that markets heirloom scrapbooks and photo albums through direct sales consultants in several markets around the world. She began her career with Creative Memories as a part of the international team, and was responsible for opening the Creative Memories business in Germany. After leading the European business, Asha became the COO for Creative Memories, driving the business’ entry into the new digital photography arena. Her last role was as President and CEO. 

She came to Creative Memories with business consulting experience at both Andersen Consulting and the Deloitte & Touche Consulting Group, specializing in market channels, product-to-market strategies and business development. 

Asha’s community involvement includes serving on the Board of Directors for Community Giving and the Morgan Family Foundation. 

Asha graduated with a BA in economics from Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa and her MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management in Evanston, IL. She resides in Asheville, NC, with her husband Marty and their two children. 


Diverse Paths of Leadership and Innovation: Jon Gray '73

Jon Gray '73 will be the featured speaker in the Diverse Paths of Leadership and Innovation speaker series on Friday, April 13. The event, which is free and open to the public, will start at 2 p.m. in Noyce 1023. The Donald and Winifred Wilson Center for Innovation and Leadership is sponsoring the speaker series and associated course.

Judge Jon R. Gray (Ret.) was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, the youngest child of Rev. C. Jarrett Gray, Sr., a United Methodist pastor and Mai H. Gray, a career educator. His early education took place in the public schools of Kansas City, Missouri, East St. Louis, Illinois and Kansas City, Kansas. He graduated with honors from Paseo High School in Kansas City, Missouri, where he participated in student government, music and interscholastic athletics. 

He graduated from Grinnell College (Iowa) in 1973 with an A.B. degree in American Studies, participated in intercollegiate athletics, and received the President’s Award as a Member of the Grinnell College Black Arts Ensemble. He graduated from UMKC School of Law in 1976, where he was Chief Justice of the UMKC Moot Court Board, and Chief Justice of the UMKC Student Court. Between his second and third year of law school, he was elected as one of two national representatives to serve in the American Bar Association House of Delegates representing the American Bar Association Law Student Division. During the last two years of law school, he received the prestigious Crusade Scholarship from the Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church. 

Upon admission to The Missouri Bar, Judge Gray was appointed Assistant Jackson County Counselor and represented various county officials and departments, including, the Director of Revenue, the Medical Examiner, the Department of Parks and Recreation, the Department of Corrections, and the Jackson County Sheriff. After engaging in the solo practice of law, he became a principal and partner in the law firm of Gray Payne & Roque, and represented individuals and small businesses in a wide variety of civil matters. He was appointed by the Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, to serve on the Kansas City Human Relations Commission and as Chair of the Liquor Control Board of Review of Kansas City, Missouri. In 1981, he was appointed as Democratic Attorney for the Board of Election Commissioners of Kansas City, Missouri, and served in that capacity until he resigned to accept a judicial appointment. 

Judge Gray was nominated by the Sixteenth Circuit Court Nominating Commission to fill a vacancy on the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri. He was appointed Circuit Court Judge by Missouri Governor John Ashcroft on December 5, 1986 and assumed office on January 1, 1987. He was retained in office by voters at General Elections held in 1988, 1994, 2000 and 2006. During his active service as a member of the Judiciary, he presided over civil, criminal and family court matters and served a two-year rotating term as Administrative Judge of the Family Court of Jackson County, Missouri. He sat by designation as a Special Judge of the Missouri Supreme Court. Upon retirement from active service, he joined the international litigation firm of Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP as a partner in its Kansas City office. 

He is a member of the Panel of Commercial Arbitrators of the American Arbitration Association and serves as a mediator and arbitrator for parties to commercial, employment, and business disputes. As a citizen of the firm, Judge Gray chairs the Professional Development Committee that is responsible for planning and executing all of the firm’s continuing legal education programs. 

Judge Gray is a Golden Heritage Life Member of the NAACP, and is a member of Mt. Oread Lodge #76, F. & A.M., Kansas City Consistory #7, AASR, F. & A.M., Theta Boulé of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, and the Alumni Associations of Grinnell College, UMKC School of Law, and Paseo High School. Professionally, he is a member of the Missouri Bar, the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the National Bar Association, the Judicial Council of the National Bar Association, the Jackson County Bar Association, the Eastern  Jackson County Bar Association, the Missouri Judicial Conference, the Defense Research Institute, and the American Judges Association. 

His extensive civic involvement includes distinguished service on the boards of directors of The Spofford Home for Children, the Kansas City Neighborhood Alliance, the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Truman Medical Centers, TMC Self Insurance Trust, The UMKC Law Foundation, Clymer Neighborhood Center, Swope Community Builders, Swope Community Enterprises, Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, and the Missouri Division of Youth Services Advisory Board. 

Since 1987, he has served as a faculty member for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy in regional and national trial practice programs, and formerly served as faculty for the Kessler-Edison Program in Trial Techniques at the Emory University School of Law. Judge Gray has served as Program Faculty for the Missouri Judicial College and the Missouri Judicial Education Committee orientation program for newly elected and appointed judges. 

During the 2007 – 2008 bar year, Judge Gray served as Chair of the National Bar Association Judicial Council, the oldest and largest association of Black judges and judicial officers. Under his leadership, the National Bar Association Judicial Council received the outstanding Division of the Year Award, and he received a Presidential Award for outstanding service to the National Bar Association. He was featured in the Second and Third Edition of Black Judges in America and wrote the foreword of the inaugural edition of Who’s Who in Black Kansas City. His reviews and commentaries have appeared in legal and non-law related publications. 

He is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions. In September 2014, he received the prestigious Spurgeon Smithson Award presented by The Missouri Bar Foundation. 

He is also a previous recipient of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City Difference Maker Award, the Lewis W. Clymer Award from the Jackson County Bar Association, the Carl R. Johnson Humanitarian Award from the Kansas City, Missouri Branch of the NAACP, the H. Michael Coburn Community Service Award from Legal Aid of Western Missouri, the Rosa Parks Award from the Jefferson City NAACP, and the Stanley D. Davis Award for Excellence in Professional Development from Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP. 

Judge Gray was appointed by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to serve a term as a member of the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority, 2009 – 2013 and as a member of the Missouri Citizens’ Commission on Compensation for Elected Officials, 2014-2016. 

As an active layman in The United Methodist Church, Judge Gray’s involvement in church and ecumenical affairs is the direct result of his upbringing in United Methodist parsonages. He is a member of the historic Centennial United Methodist Church and has served as a member of the board of The Missouri United Methodist Foundation and the governing board of the National Council of Churches of Christ, U.S.A. He was elected as a delegate to The United Methodist Church General Conferences of 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004 by the Missouri Annual Conference and its predecessor, the Missouri West Annual Conference. He was elected to the Board of Trustees of Southern Methodist University – Dallas, Texas, and served from 1988 – 2000, as a member of its reconstituted Board of Trustees following the imposition of sanctions against the Southern Methodist University athletic program by the NCAA. He served a term on the Southern Methodist University Executive Committee and chaired its Legal Affairs Committee. In 2004, he was elected by the General Conference of The United Methodist Church to serve an eight-year term as a member of the Judicial Council of The United Methodist Church, during which time he sat as a member of the Church’s final arbiter of Church Law. 

As a trusted adviser, he has served on numerous committees and task forces aimed at the improvement of the law and has advocated for equal treatment under law for all persons. He was a member of the original Missouri Bar Association task force that studied mandatory continuing legal education for all members of the Missouri Bar. Most recently, he served on a working group that studied and made recommendations to the Missouri Supreme Court concerning expert witness discovery in civil cases. He has been a consultant to the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation that conducted a peer review of the National Consumer Law Center. He was a contributing author for the 1991 and 2002 editions of State of Black Kansas City, published by the Urban League of Greater Kansas City. His writings on Blacks in the Judiciary provided a community blueprint for educating the public about judicial selection and led to the increase of people of color within the state and local judiciary and as members of judicial nominating commissions. 

He credits the inspiration of his parents, family members, teachers, student and professional colleagues


Diverse Paths of Leadership and Innovation: Vivek Venugopal '01

Vivek  Venugopal '01 will be the featured speaker in the Diverse Paths of Leadership and Innovation speaker series on Friday, April 6. The event, which is free and open to the public, will start at 2 p.m. in Noyce 1023. The Donald and Winifred Wilson Center for Innovation and Leadership is sponsoring the speaker series and associated course.

Vivek graduated with a Comp Sci degree and is finally putting it to use, kind of. After a few years as a software developer immediately after college he decided to take his career in a different direction and went into non-profit fundraising. That career moved him to San Francisco where he decided to jump onto the tech wave. He joined a startup that got acquired by LinkedIn in 2014. In 2017 he left LinkedIn to start a new venture, Qwill, of which he is a co-founder. He also works with Speechless, a company that uses "Improv Thinking" to help individuals with their public speaking and presentation skills. 

When he is not juggling dream jobs he is juggling his 2 daughters, Malaika and Annika, with his wife Katy. He misses Chicken Patty Parmesan.


Diverse Paths of Leadership and Innovation: Tina Popson '97

Tina Popson '97 will be the featured speaker in the Diverse Paths of Leadership and Innovation speaker series on Tuesday, February 13. The event, which is free and open to the public, will start at 2 p.m. in Noyce 1023. The Donald and Winifred Wilson Center for Innovation and Leadership is sponsoring the speaker series and associated course.

Tina Popson is the Assistant Director of Student and Recent Alumni Engagement at Creighton University. She oversees student and recent alumni programming, recruits and manages volunteers for the Omaha Recent Alumni Advisory Board, and serves as the liaison to the Student Leadership and Involvement Center as well as the EDGE Mentoring Program. Prior to her position at Creighton University, Tina was the Education Program Manager for Pottawattamie County Conservation based at Hitchcock Nature Center (HNC) and the Director of Education for the Salisbury House Foundation and Gardens. She serves on the board of directors for the Association of Nature Center Administrators (ANCA) and chairs the ANCA Leadership Awards Committee. She is past-president of the Iowa Association of Naturalists and previous board member for the Iowa Museum Association. Popson earned a M.A in Museum Studies/Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Nebraska and a B.A. in Anthropology from Grinnell College. She enjoys the creative aspect of working in education and is a lifelong learner--spending time observing the natural world and engaging her mind through board gaming with friends are two of her favorite pursuits.

Grinnell College to Host Lecture on Democracy and Culture in Haiti

Laurent Dubois, an award-winning scholar of romance studies and history, will give a talk titled "Democracy at the Roots: Culture and Sovereignty in Haiti" at Grinnell College on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2017. The lecture is free and open to the public, and will begin at 11 a.m. in Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 101, 1115 Eighth Ave., Grinnell.

Dubois received his bachelor's degree from Princeton University and his doctorate from the University of Michigan. He is a professor of romance studies and history at Duke University, where he founded the Forum of Scholars and Publics. He is a specialist on the history of the Atlantic world with a focus on the Caribbean, specifically Haiti. He is the author of six books, the latest of which is titled The Banjo: America's African Instrument. In addition, he is the founding editor of the Soccer Politics Blog.

A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Humanities Center Fellowship and a Mellon New Directions Fellowship, Dubois received the Howard Johnson Teaching Award at Duke University, and the John E. Fagg Prize from the American Historical Association. One of his books, A Colony of Citizens: Revolution and Slave Emancipation in the French Caribbean, 1787-1804, won four book prizes, including the Frederick Douglass Prize.

Pioneer Bookshop Open for Holiday Shoppers

​The Grinnell College Pioneer Bookshop will be open extended hours for holiday shoppers. 

December 18–22, the bookshop will be open until 7 p.m. each night. 

On Saturday, Dec. 23, it will be open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

On Christmas Eve, Sunday, Dec. 24, it will be open 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.


Grinnell Regional Winter Camp

Through an agreement with Grinnell College, Grinnell Regional Medical Center offers enrollment in their 2017 winter day camp to Grinnell College faculty and staff. This camp is only offered to Grinnell Regional Medical Center employees, Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company employees, Grinnell College faculty and staff, Grinnell-Newburg School District, and individuals affiliated with the hospital. Grinnell Regional Medical Center winter day camp is not open to the public.

Dates & Time

Camp will begin Tuesday, December 26, and run through Friday, December 29, from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. *Note:  5:30p.m. – 7:30p.m. hours are for children whose parents are working those hours.

Ages & Costs

Children must be at least five years old and not older than 14 years. The cost for non-GRMC children is $20 per day with a $1.00 discount for each additional child.  *Note: Non-GRMC children are children of board members, physician staff members, Grinnell Mutual, Grinnell College, and Grinnell-Newburg School District. 

Registration Forms

Because of the increasing numbers please contact Tiffany Norman (tnorman[at]grmc[dot]us) for a registration form. The completed and signed forms are due to Tiffany Norman in the 3rd Floor Administration offices in the Ahrens Medical Arts building at Grinnell Regional Medical Center or email at tnorman[at]grmc[dot]us by Tuesday, December 19.

Additional Information

Additional program information is available by emailing Tiffany Norman at tnorman[at]grmc[dot]usRegistration forms are due Tuesday, December 19. Faculty and staff are encouraged to register their child(ren) as soon as possible.  

About the Camp

Children will be required to bring a cold lunch with them daily to camp. The camp will not have the ability to warm meals so please plan accordingly. Reminder, the day camp is a nut free environment.


Special Campus Memo: In remembrance of Kenneth A. Christiansen

Kenneth A. Christiansen, professor emeritus of biology, died Sunday, Nov. 26, at the age of 93.

Ken's storied career at Grinnell began in 1955. His courses included general biology, zoology, evolution, ecology, sociobiology, invertebrate zoology, insect biology, parasitology, and marine biology. In 1962, Ken was named Henry Waldo Norris Professor of Biology and in 1994 professor emeritus.

His research, beginning with his doctoral dissertation, focused on the evolution and taxonomy of Collembola, an order of arthropods found almost everywhere in the world. He wrote more than 60 papers and two books. For students who worked with him in the lab for more than one summer, he usually named a species after them.

After retiring from active teaching in 1989, Ken discovered that he missed teaching. So in 1990 he taught for a semester at Nanjing University. While he was in China, he enjoyed collecting cave Collembola in various regions of the country.

During World War II, Ken served as forward observer for a 2nd Armored Division mortar platoon. He earned his bachelor's degree from Boston University and his doctorate from Harvard University. Before coming to Grinnell, he taught at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon and at Smith College.

He received many grants and honors for his work and was a member of several professional organizations. He served on the Iowa Governor's Science Advisory Council from 1977-83 and 1989-97.

He is survived by his wife Phyllis Christiansen, his daughters Paula and Diane Christiansen and their spouses, and three grandchildren.

Funeral service arrangements are still being made. Please check back with Smith Funeral Home in Grinnell for details.

Special Campus Memo: A Case Study presented by the President's Office

Dear Grinnellians,

College campuses across the county have been struggling with the intersecting issues of inclusivity and free speech. Among the difficult situations that present such challenges are bias/hate-motivated incidents that disrupt an entire community. We are neither immune to the possibility of these incidents, nor the difficulties that arise in their wake. It is important to make sure that in the aftermath of such an incident, our community is prepared to appreciate the complexity of issues and to better understand the roles of responders.

I invite you to attend "CASE STUDY: A Community Responds - A Bias/Hate Incident Raising Issues of Free Speech and Inclusivity," Tuesday, Nov. 28 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., in Sebring-Lewis Hall. One of the most compelling events of this semester, it will be a real-time simulation with a panel of key campus and community members. Loosely modeled on the award-winning Fred Friendly Seminars that appeared on public television between 1984 and 2009, the forum will present a unique opportunity to examine a situation in the absence of the glare of public scrutiny and the intense emotions that are typically present in a real-life incident.

Using a case-based approach with the Socratic teaching method often used in law schools, moderator Angela Onwuachi-Willig '94, Chancellor's Professor of Law at the University of California, will engage participants who will assume hypothetical roles in the simulation. Participants will react in real time to explain openly and objectively their reasoning and approach as they discuss how and why they might respond to a fictional incident in a fictional college community.

Among the questions that communities often confront include:  

  • What are the best ways for colleges to respond immediately to support students, faculty, and staff who may be affected both directly and indirectly?
  • In the aftermath of a potential bias/hate-motivated incident, how can communities better understand the significance and circumstances of the incident?
  • How should a college respond when an incident prompts advocacy organizations of various perspectives to become engaged in the aftermath of the incident?

Panel members scheduled to participate in the simulation are listed below (with their actual titles).

Angela Onwuachi-Willig '94 (Moderator), Chancellor's Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley
Andrea Conner, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, Grinnell College
Morgane Garnier '19, 2016 Rosenfield Program Intern, Center for Constitutional Rights (2016), Grinnell College
Frank Harty, Legal Counsel for Grinnell College
Alice Herman '18, Scarlet and Black News Editor
Lakesia Johnson, Chief Diversity Officer, Assistant Vice President, and Associate Professor, Grinnell College
Raynard S. Kington, President, Grinnell College
Mike Latham, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean, Grinnell College
Debra Lukehart, Vice President for Communications, Grinnell College
Dennis Reilly, Chief of Police, City of Grinnell
Henry Reitz '89, Chair of Faculty and Professor, Grinnell College
Kathleen Richardson, Dean of the School of Journalism, Drake University, and former Editor, Des Moines Register
James Shropshire, Director of Campus Safety, Grinnell College
Mark Stringer, Executive Director, ACLU of Iowa
Summer White '18, President, Student Government Association, Grinnell College

This event is free and open to the public. Importantly, there will be an interactive component to the program, which consists of a one-hour role play with Professor Onwuachi-Willig and the panelists, followed by 30 minutes of Q & A with the audience.

Thank you for putting this critically important event on your schedule. I hope to see you there.


Raynard S. Kington


National Director of AmeriCorps Visits Grinnell to Learn about Local Programs

Chester Spellman, the new national director of AmeriCorps for the Corporation for National and Community Service, made a site visit to the city of Grinnell on Oct. 25 to learn more about local programs. This was Spellman’s first visit to Iowa.

Grinnell was one of two AmeriCorps State Programs selected for a site visit. The other Iowa program selected for a site visit was AmeriCorps Youth Launch Program out of Graceland University in Lamoni.

Volunteer Iowa, which oversees the AmeriCorps program in Iowa, chose to showcase the Grinnell AmeriCorps Partnership, particularly for the opportunity to highlight the service happening in rural communities.

In particular, Grinnell was selected as an example of a program that Volunteer Iowa believes has been successful in overcoming barriers to national service, particularly those that are unique to rural and small communities.

Director Spellman was joined by Adam Lounsbury, executive director for Volunteer Iowa, and Chad Driscoll and Jamie Orozco Nagel, program officers for Volunteer Iowa.

During the visit, Spellman learned about the goals, framework, and successes of the Grinnell AmeriCorps Partnership and also visited two participating host sites — Grinnell Community Daycare and Preschool and Drake Community Library. At Drake Library, Youth Services Director Karen Neal hosted the team and discussed the library’s participation as a “Summer Learning” host site.

At Grinnell Community Daycare and Preschool, Spellman met with Executive Director and Enrichment Aide Host Site Supervisor Kathleen Whisenand, two AmeriCorps members currently serving at the site providing after-school enrichment programming — Grinnell College’s Claire Sponheim ’21 and 2015 Grinnell High School graduate Kyle Cogley — as well as Seth Hansen ’17, an AmeriCorps alumnus and a new Grinnell Community Daycare and Preschool staff member.

“It was a great opportunity to share with Chester the success Grinnell has achieved through this collective impact effort to support educational initiatives in our community,” said Melissa Strovers, AmeriCorps program manager. “Chester was able to see first-hand our members in action and meet with an AmeriCorps alumnus who has built on his AmeriCorps experience and continues to make an impact through his work with kids in a professional capacity. We were glad to be a part of his first visit to Iowa and a part of his first visit in this new role as the new national director of AmeriCorps for the Corporation for National and Community Service.”

“It means a lot more for leaders like Chester to hear from people who are directly involved in administering an AmeriCorps program,” said Jamie Orozco Nagel, a Volunteer Iowa program officer. ”The Grinnell team visit contributed in a meaningful way to the conversation at the national level to help improve AmeriCorps.”