Academic

Award-winning Prazak Quartet to perform Feb. 28

The Prazak QuartetThe Prazak Quartet, one of the world's leading international music ensemble, will perform at Grinnell College on Tuesday, Feb. 28. The free, public concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Herrick Chapel, 1128 Park St., Grinnell.

The quartet, which consists of Jana Vonaskova and Vlastimil Holek on violin, Josef Kluson on viola and Michal Kanka on cello, is celebrated for its attention to Czech tradition and the members' musical talent. The group came together in 1972, when the founding members were students at the Prague Conservatory. Within 12 months, their musical career had taken off after the ensemble won first prize at the Prague Conservatory Chamber Music Competition and performed at the 1975 Prague Spring Music Festival.

In the 30 years since, The Prazak Quartet has performed around the world, in Prague, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Milan, Madrid, London, Berlin, Munich, and many cities throughout North America, including New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, and Montreal. The quartet also has collaborated with celebrated musicians such as such as Menahem Pressler, Jon Nakamatsu, Cynthia Phelps, Roberto Diaz, Josef Suk, and Sharon Kam.

Although the performance at Grinnell College is free, tickets are required. Starting Feb. 24, tickets will be available at the box office in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, 1108 Park St., Grinnell. The box office is open from noon to 5 p.m. on weekdays.

Grinnell College welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Herrick Chapel is equipped with an induction hearing loop system, which enables individuals with hearing aids set to T-Coil to hear the program. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations.

The College also welcomes the presence of minors at all age-appropriate public events and for informal visits, with the understanding that a parent, legal guardian, or other responsible adult assumes full responsibility for their child’s safety and behavior during such visits or events. In these cases, the college expects that an adult responsible for the visiting child takes measures to ensure the child’s safety and sees that the child complies with directions of College personnel. Grinnell College is not responsible for supervision of minors on campus.

Grinnell Supports Transgender Community

Dear Grinnellians:

The federal guidance that was issued through a Dear Colleague letter by the Department of Justice and the Department of Education on May 13, 2016, was recently rescinded by the current administration. The 2016 letter provided federal guidance regarding a variety of protections for transgender, gender non-conforming, gender queer, agender, non-binary, or questioning people. This included, among other things, provisions for gender-inclusive restrooms and locker rooms, and the right to use the facility that corresponds with a person's gender identity.

I would like to assure all community members, but particularly those who may be affected by this administrative action and other related policies, that we will do all we can to support them.

As with other recent governmental actions, College staff members have reached out to affected students to offer support. Grinnellians of all genders should have safe and equitable access to all facilities, programs, and activities.

Grinnell College will continue to offer gender-inclusive housing, restrooms, and locker rooms. Students, faculty, and staff will continue to have autonomy when choosing a facility. Additionally, we believe that people have the right to be referred to by the name and pronouns they use to describe themselves.

Related efforts are underway, including increasing gender-inclusive housing options, solidifying the name change process on campus, and offering training for faculty and staff.

Students, faculty, and staff are still protected by Title IX. Any incidence of harassment, discrimination, or bias should be reported to Angela Voos, Title IX coordinator, or Lakesia Johnson, chief diversity officer.

No matter what policy changes may be coming, Grinnell will hold fast to our core values and commitments. We must ensure that all Grinnellians are able to learn, teach, and work in a safe environment

Sincerely,

Raynard S. Kington, President

Live in HD: Verdi's La Traviata

Grinnell College will stream Verdi's La Traviata at noon on Saturday, March 11, 2017, as part of the "Metropolitan Live in HD" movie theatre transmissions program.

The opera will be shown in the Harris Center Cinema, 1114 10th Ave., Grinnell.  Jennifer Brown, associate professor of music, will present the opera talk at 11:30 a.m.

La Traviata follows tragic heroine and courtesan Violetta Valery as she falls in love with Alfredo Germont, despite knowing that she will die soon. When Germont's father forces Valéry to leave him, Germont is left confused and seeks vengeance. The music, profound and heartfelt, has captured audiences around the world.

Nicola Luisiotti conducts, and Sonya Yoncheva and Michael Fabiano star as Violetta Valery and Alfredo Germont, respectively.

Refreshments will be available for sale in the lobby of the cinema before each opera and during intermission.

Tickets are available at the Pioneer Bookshop and at the door on the day of the show. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students, children, and Met Opera members.

The Office of the President has generously funded tickets for Grinnell College faculty, staff, and students, and tickets are available for free at all locations. Family members not employed by the College are required to purchase tickets.

Grinnell College welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. The Harris Center Cinema is equipped with an induction hearing loop system, which enables individuals with hearing aids set to T-Coil to hear the program. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations.

The College welcomes the presence of minors at all age-appropriate public events and for informal visits, with the understanding that a parent, legal guardian, or other responsible adult assumes full responsibility for their child’s safety and behavior during such visits or events. In these cases, the College expects that an adult responsible for the visiting child takes measures to ensure the child’s safety and sees that the child complies with directions of College personnel. Grinnell College is not responsible for supervision of minors on campus.

Award-winning Ethiopian-American Singer to Speak in Celebration of Black History Month

Meklit Hadero, an award winning Ethiopian-American singer, will be at Grinnell College on Friday, Feb. 24, to speak in celebration of Black History Month. The talk, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 6 p.m. in room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, 1115 Eighth Ave., Grinnell.

Hadero was born in Ethiopia and has been a fixture of the San Francisco composing and performance scene for the past 12 years. Her music is influenced equally by San Francisco and Ethiopia. Her third album, "This Was Made Here," was produced by Dan Wilson, who has also worked with artists such as Adele, John Legend, and the Dixie Chicks.

Hadero's talk, "Global Diaspora: Art, Culture and Pan-Africanism," will explore the connections between the Global African Diaspora, highlighting both 20th and 21st century ideas of Pan-Africanism. It will explore the reflection of the arts and cultural movements within the diaspora, and introduce new pathways for connections within the American context.

The college's Intercultural Affairs Office is organizing and sponsoring the event, which is co-sponsored by the American Studies Department, the Black Cultural Center, the Center for Humanities and the Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies Department.

Grinnell College welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations.

The College welcomes the presence of minors at all age-appropriate public events and for informal visits, with the understanding that a parent, legal guardian, or other responsible adult assumes full responsibility for their child’s safety and behavior during such visits or events. In these cases, the College expects that an adult responsible for the visiting child takes measures to ensure the child’s safety and sees that the child complies with directions of College personnel. Grinnell College is not responsible for supervision of minors on campus.

Board of Trustees' Response to President Kington's Letter Regarding Divestment

Dear Grinnellians:

We are writing to you today to inform you that the Board of Trustees has received a letter from President Raynard S. Kington presenting a request from a substantial number of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and parents to divest from all investments in fossil fuels.

The role of the College’s trustees is, and always has been, to assure the “great and lasting good” of Grinnell College through our commitment to institutional stewardship, sound financial investments, and prudent management.

The Board of Trustees will refer the request to its Investment Committee, which is responsible for maintaining a policy of prudent investment in stocks, bonds, real assets, non-marketable securities such as private placements and limited partnerships, and other similar financial instruments, interests, and/or securities, subject to the approval of the Board of Trustees.

The Investment Committee will then await submission of a written request for divestment from the advocates of the proposed investment change, in accordance with its recently adopted sub-policy for handling all divestment requests.

Under the new policy, the Investment Committee will give serious consideration to any written divestment proposal that complies with the College's divestment policy and procedures at a subsequent in-person meeting. Once the Committee has completed its review, if the Committee agrees that a divestment decision should be made, it will submit a recommendation for divestment to the full Board.

Sincerely,

Patricia Jipp Finkelman '80, Chair of the Board of Trustees

Karen Shaff, Chair of the Investment Committee

 

Cinema, Mobility, Global Society

Since the late 20th century, cinema has been understood as a transnational practice where the circulation of film is key to the constitution of contemporary national societies.

Within the debates in the humanities on the globalization of culture in recent years, two general theoretical positions have emerged:

  • one that emphasizes similar local reactions in different world regions to international and/or global practices and
  • one that emphasizes asymmetrical, alternative, or different modernities with dissimilar cultural practices. 

Kathleen Newman, associate professor of cinema & Spanish at the University of Iowa, will present "Cinema, Mobility, Global Society: A Latin Americanist Perspective" at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, in Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101.

This talk will examine what Latin American cinema and its international circulation can tell us about global culture and politics today.​

Newman is a founding member of the Latino Caucus of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS).  Her research focuses on Latin American cinema and theoretical questions regarding the relation between cinema and globalization. Newman co-edited World Cinemas, Transnational Practices (Routledge, 2009) with Natasa Durovicova. Her current book project examines Argentine silent cinema as a transnational practice and calls into question the concept of peripheral modernity.

The Center for the Humanities is sponsoring her talk.

Grinnell College welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Rosenfield Center Room 101 is equipped with an induction hearing loop system, which enables individuals with hearing aids set to T-Coil to hear the program. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations.

The College welcomes the presence of minors at all age-appropriate public events and for informal visits, with the understanding that a parent, legal guardian, or other responsible adult assumes full responsibility for their child’s safety and behavior during such visits or events. In these cases the College expects that an adult responsible for the visiting child takes measures to ensure the child’s safety and sees that the child complies with directions of College personnel. Grinnell College is not responsible for supervision of minors on campus.

Center for the Humanities Film Festival

The Center for the Humanities will focus its annual film festival from Feb. 19-22, 2017, on the theme of rethinking global cultures.

Three free, public film screenings will highlight topics that transcend political, geographical and cultural borders. All will take place in the Harris Center Cinema.

Hend Nafea, an Egyptian activistThe Trials of Spring
2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19
A documentary film that explores gender and sexual violence in the context of the Egyptian uprisings during the Arab Spring.
Hend Nafea, an Egyptian activist who is featured in the film, will be at the screening and will take questions after the film ends.
90 minutes
Arabic with English subtitles
Mustang
7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 20
A feature film by Deniz Gamze Ergüven, a French-Turkish director. "Mustang" explores gender and family dynamics in rural Turkey, and raises questions about cultural norms in global context.
97 minutes
Turkish with English subtitles
The Pearl Button
7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21
A documentary from acclaimed Chilean filmmaker Patricio Guzmán that explores the link between natural and political environments in the context of state-sponsored violence.
82 minutes
Spanish with English subtitles.

The festival will conclude on Wednesday, Feb. 22, with a public keynote address by University of Iowa Associate Professor Kathleen Newman, a specialist in cinema and Latin American studies. Her speech, titled "Cinema, Mobility, Global Society: A Latin Americanist Perspective," will start at 7:30 p.m. in Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 101.

Grinnell College welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Room 101 in the Rosenfield Center is equipped with an induction hearing loop system, which enables individuals with hearing aids set to T-Coil to hear the program. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations.

The College also welcomes the presence of minors at all age-appropriate public events and for informal visits, with the understanding that a parent, legal guardian, or other responsible adult assumes full responsibility for their child's safety and behavior during such visits or events. In these cases, the College expects that an adult responsible for the visiting child takes measures to ensure the child's safety and sees that the child complies with directions of College personnel. Grinnell College is not responsible for supervision of minors on campus.

Alice Meacham Williams '39 Scrapbook, 1935-1939

This scrapbook was assembled by Alice Meacham Williams and contains materials from the years 1935 through 1939, when Williams graduated from Grinnell College with a degree in English. Included in her scrapbook are a wide variety of materials from her time as a student. Each page is absolutely covered, with not one empty space available. She seems to have saved just about everything!

In Special Collections and Archives, we have an extensive number of scrapbooks donated by alumni which chronicle their time as a student at Grinnell College. Scrapbooks provide a wealth of information about student life at Grinnell over the years. Each individual book covers a slightly different time period and captures a unique point of view. Scrapbooks are a treasure trove for patrons interested in social history and Grinnell student life.

Among the most interesting materials in the Alice Meacham Williams scrapbook are the ones that truly allow patrons to gain a sense of what it was like to be a Grinnell student in the mid-30s. Sick passes, grade reports, semester fee tickets, exam schedules, and a plethora of dance cards are just some of the ephemera available. (Ephemera typically refers to printed documents that were designed for short-term use.) A card near the beginning of the book shows that Williams received a scholarship for her first year of college in the amount of $120.00, with half of the amount applied to tuition each semester. Also from her first year is a card stating that she had tested negative for tuberculosis. Other interesting materials are a cap from a bottle of Coca-Cola, with the caption, “Reed Cottage wins basketball championship. 3rd floor celebrates!” and a telegram congratulating her on joining the Forensic Club and inviting her to dinner.

We encourage anyone with an interest in alumni scrapbooks to drop by and take a look at our extensive scrapbook collection.  Special Collections and Archives is open to the public 1:30-5:00pm Monday through Friday and mornings by appointment.

The Pines at Grinnell Arts Center

The Pines, a folk band native to Iowa, will perform in concert at the Grinnell Arts Center on Friday, Jan. 27. Grinnell's own Pink Neighbor will perform a short set at the opening reception, which begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Arts Center, 926 Broad St., Grinnell. The concert will start at 7:30 p.m.

 Center for Prairie Studies, directed by Jon Andelson ’70, Rosenfield Professor of Social Science-Anthropology, is co-sponsoring this special one-night performance.

Erik Jarvis ’12, events manager for the Grinnell Area Arts Council, says, "Professor Jon Andelson reached out to us, saying he'd like to set-up a performance for a band or artist that sings about the prairie. Of the few artists he had in mind, I was largely drawn to The Pines because of their fresh take on folk music and their appeal to a younger demographic. You still get acoustic guitars and tight harmonies, but their sound is spacier than the average 'folk' artist."

Benson Ramsey, Alex Ramsey (sons of Iowa music veteran Bo Ramsey), and David Huckfelt make up The Pines. The men now live and work in Minneapolis, but came back to Iowa last year to record their latest feature-length album, Above the Prairie. The album, which blends indie and folk music, was praised by publications such as Rolling Stone and the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

"We went back to Iowa and just did it in three days, and that was pretty much it. It's almost like a photograph," says Benson Ramsey.

Jarvis says of the album, "Each of the artists Jon and I looked at had lyrics that reflected the prairie in some way, but The Pines were the only group whose arrangements and soundscapes gave me that feel of the prairie. When I listen to their music, it feels like the slow bends of Highway 6. It's at once familiar and yet constantly oscillating."

Grinnell-based band Pink Neighbor will perform before The Pines. Comprised of Jarvis and Katie In ’13, who also works at the Arts Center, Pink Neighbor has performed at a variety of venues across Grinnell.

"We are excited to open for such a great group," Jarvis says. "Bringing a band of this caliber fits into our mission of the Arts Center, but it's also really relevant to what Katie and I are trying to do with our music in Grinnell. We hope that with all the downtown improvements, particularly the new stage at Central Park, we're able to keep bringing great music here."

Tickets for the general public are $10. The concert is free for Grinnell College students, faculty, and staff, as well as individuals under 18. Tickets are available at the Macy House, 1205 Park St., Grinnell; by calling  emailing Jan Graham; at the Grinnell Arts Center; or at the door.

In addition to Grinnell College's Center for Prairie Studies, other co-sponsors of the performance are the College's Office of Alumni Relations; Relish, a Grinnell restaurant; and RSVP, a stationery shop in Iowa City.

Financial Future Update

In February 2013, the Grinnell College Board of Trustees voted to keep the College’s commitment to need-blind admission and to meeting 100 percent of domestic students’ financial need. At that same meeting, the board called for a fall 2015 review of efforts to establish financial sustainability. Trustees noted that a lack of significant progress would mean a discussion of more aggressively managing enrollment strategies or a change to an openly “need-aware” admission strategy effective with the class entering in 2017.

Last year saw a significant increase in tuition revenue. For 2015–16, Joe Bagnoli, vice president for enrollment, says, “One question we had was, ‘Can we repeat what we did last year?’” 

The short answer was yes. 

Bagnoli attributes the successful growth in part to a change in how Grinnell College markets itself. “We no longer lead with financial aid information,” he says. “We talk more about the actual experience of attending Grinnell. We don’t emphasize financial aid in terms of what makes us distinctive.”

This year, a higher percentage of students across the board accepted Grinnell’s offer of admission. Bagnoli thinks two initiatives contributed to the increase. After admitted students received their financial aid awards, College staff members called each one to review the offers, answer questions, and help overcome objections to enrollment.

Another tactic was mailing a personalized postcard. “There was social media buzz about that,” Bagnoli says. “Admitted students posted about how well the College seemed to know them. Our objective was to convey to admitted students our boldly individualized approach to education, and their responses confirmed the efficacy of the cards to achieve that understanding. 

“As pleased as I am about recent increases in net student revenue,” Bagnoli continues, “the level of net revenue from students is not yet adequate to underwrite the increasing costs associated with their education.” 

He and his team are examining additional initiatives. For example, what if the College were to admit a higher percentage of well-qualified international students with the resources to finance a significant share of their Grinnell education? That was one idea Bagnoli described to the trustees in June.

Whatever strategy they choose, Bagnoli says, “We are seeking solutions that will allow the College to maintain its commitments to access and diversity while increasing revenue — a tricky combination of objectives to achieve.” 

In their October 2015 board meeting, trustees will vote on whether to continue need-blind admission. The College will announce the results of the vote online and in the winter issue of The Grinnell Magazine.