Campus News

Closed for Inventory on June 30, 2017

The Pioneer Bookshop will be closed for inventory on Friday, June 30.  It will open in the early afternoon that day, after the inventory has been completed. We apologize for any inconvenience.

‘We hope that we can bring a little Grinnell to you.’

A student wearing her mortar board cap watched her virtual Commencement on campus at the empty stage.Grinnell’s class of 2020 was scattered around the globe for Commencement ceremonies, but faculty and staff stood on the familiar ground of Central Campus to address new graduates. “We hope that we can bring a little Grinnell to you,” College Chaplain Deanna Shorb said from Grinnell’s Commencement stage. The prerecorded remarks from speakers were delivered in an online event on May 18.

Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, associate professor of sociology Sharon Quinsaat urged students to become “active agents of transformation,” using the crisis as a way to imagine and create a better world. And Anshul Tambay ’20 reminded his fellow graduates that “this big world needs our small-school love.”

To see the full remarks, including personal messages from graduates, visit Virtual Commencement 2020.

Care Package Project Connects Campus and Alumni Communities

Box with hand printed note that says So much goodness in this little box... just for you!Students flocked to the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center in February to receive alumni care packages. The three-day event was part of a collaboration between the Everyday Class Notes (ECN) alumni Facebook group and the Student Alumni Council (SAC). The annual tradition began in 2014.

Under the guidance of the members of ECN, alumni from all over the world participated, sending goodies and special letters. On the distribution days, alumni joined SAC members at the distribution tables. In total, 1,304 packages were distributed.

To participate in the 2021 project, visit the ECN Care Package Project page on Facebook.

Editor's Note Summer 2020

As this issue’s content was being finalized, George Floyd was killed by a police officer, sparking protests across the country and around the world about racial injustice. To read about Grinnell’s response and plan of action, visit our Racial Justice Response.

Key Stats


Amount awarded to Nicole Eikmeier, assistant professor of computer science, and two colleagues from Bard College in a National Science Foundation grant for their research on COVID-19. The trio will build upon existing models to understand the complexity of social spread within the population. It is the first grant that Grinnell has received as part of the NSF’s Rapid Response Research program, which is designed for urgent research needs.


Students who received a laptop, mobile hot spot, or both to support their distance learning during spring semester as part of the Supporting Our Students Fund.


Faculty members awarded tenure at the Board of Trustees meeting in May. They are: Dean Bakopoulos, philosophy; Leif Brottem, global development studies; Charlotte Christensen, physics; Christopher Jones, special collections; Kirsten Koester, physical education; Mark Laver, music; and Eric Ohrn ’07, economics.

With Remote Learning, Grinnell Is Everywhere

On March 30, Grinnellians across the globe started a new chapter in their undergraduate experience: distance learning. Even under these challenging conditions, Grinnellians and their families found a way to stay connected.

What started as an idea in a Facebook group became an outpouring of support for students. With “remote campus” locations popping up across the country and around the world, Grinnellians were able to find a way to be a community no matter where they were.

Reunion Updates

For updates and details on rescheduled 2020 Reunion events, please visit Reunion.

Anne Harris Named Grinnell President

On July 14, the Board of Trustees announced their unanimous decision that Anne F. Harris would be the 14th president of Grinnell College. Her appointment comes after an extensive and rigorous national search which, despite the challenges of the pandemic, yielded expressions of interest from sitting presidents, provosts and deans at peer institutions, and resulted in more than 30 multi-round interviews.

Harris, who joined Grinnell in 2019 as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College, has been an important member of the president’s senior team during recent challenging months. Her career in higher education includes more than 20 years in various leadership positions as a faculty member and eventually as vice president for academic affairs at DePauw University, where she was a respected art history scholar, teacher, and mentor.

David Maxwell ’66, chair of Grinnell’s Board of Trustees, notes that Harris brings an inclusive, consensus-building leadership style to her new role. “She has demonstrated not only outstanding leadership, but also a nuanced understanding of and passion for the College’s mission and core values.”

Grinnell Magazine will include more coverage of President Harris in future issues.

Alumni, Students, and Families from China Donate Equipment

When it became clear that personal protective equipment (PPE) would likely be in short supply in Grinnell, students, their families, and alumni from China stepped up. “As part of the Grinnell community, we feel like we have a responsibility to help people in Grinnell who need medical care,” says Zhenzhong “Jack” Xing ’23, who along with Xinya Yang ’20 spearheaded an effort to donate PPE to the College and community. “In China, we have the ability to buy this kind of protective equipment; we are obliged to do this.”

As of mid-April, Xing, Yang, and 150 others had come together to donate more than 13,000 pieces of PPE. They had also raised more than $10,000 to purchase PPE items.

Sarah Smith, the project lead and the College’s director of outreach programs and events, says the effort has highlighted Grinnellians’ desire to take care of others in need. “It’s been really well received by everyone in the community,” she says. “We are very thankful for the donations.”

To read the full story, visit “Alumni and families from China send thousands of face masks to Grinnell.”

Morrison Etched in Stone

Caesar. Isaiah. Emerson. Darwin. Shakespeare. Dante. Homer. Plato. Michelangelo. Goethe. Galileo.

For 115 years, these names have stood alone in the limestone of Carnegie Library, inscribed as examples of great thinkers who represented the values, aspirations, and identity of a young Grinnell College.

“I remember walking past that building and thinking that it was interesting that these names were so homogenous,” says President Raynard S. Kington. “But I also remember thinking, wouldn’t it be interesting if we could add some names?”

As the Humanities and Social Studies Center was being constructed, Kington seized the opportunity to inscribe a new name on Carnegie’s walls, one that would better and more fully represent the diversity of opinion, thought, and action of the Grinnell community as the College enters a new era.

To Kington, novelist, essayist, book editor, and college professor Toni Morrison was the obvious choice. “She was an intellectual who was grounded in real life and could make this link between real life and very deep thoughts,” says Kington. “I think that that is an important message — that you do not have to think of intellectual pursuits as being somehow separate from life.”

Morrison etched on stone plaque embedded in brickwork above large windowA system for nominating additional honorees is in development so that students, staff, faculty, and alumni may select those whose lives and works represent the values of the Grinnell community.

For more information on Toni Morrison and the inscription project, listen to the All Things Grinnell podcast “Written in Stone: Toni Morrison.”

Football Continues at Grinnell

In October, Grinnell College withdrew its football team from competitive play, forfeiting the rest of the season, to protect the health and safety of the student-athletes.

For several years, President Raynard S. Kington and Andy Hamilton ’85, director of athletics and recreation, have been actively evaluating the team’s health and following national trends related to football safety. The decision last fall came as a result of a great deal of scrutiny, including an epidemiological report on team members’ injuries, Hamilton says.

While discussions were happening in the administration, the team was having its own discussions. After the third game of the season, the student-athletes held a team meeting and voted not to finish the season. Too many players were injured. It wouldn’t be safe to continue.

When Hamilton took over the director’s position in 2016, he recognized that Grinnell’s approach to football staffing wouldn’t allow the team to have enough players and have a competitive football program. Within his first year, the administration moved to enhance staffing; another round of enhancements occurred in 2019, both supported by alumni giving.

“We made significant changes again to our staffing in fall 2019 after canceling the season,” Hamilton says. “These changes will allow us to have a larger squad and a safer opportunity for football at Grinnell.” Both the president and Anne Harris, dean of the College, support the changes.

At the end of December, Hamilton announced the hiring of a new head coach, Brent Barnes. “He has experience that touches on most every area of football coaching, which is unusual,” Hamilton says. “He’s very professional, very bright. He showed an ability to relate to a wide variety of people in our department and on campus. He’ll be a good ambassador.”

Barnes started work on recruiting new players the day he signed his paperwork.