Campus News

Trustee Recognition

Grinnell College Trustee Angela Onwuachi-Willig ’94, dean and Ryan Roth Gallo Professor of Law at Boston University School of Law, was presented with the Michael A. Olivas Award for Outstanding Leadership in Diversity and Mentoring in the Legal Academy by the Association of American Law Schools in January. Onwuachi-Willig, who has an extensive background in highlighting and promoting diversity in the legal field, is a renowned legal scholar, expert in critical race theory, employment discrimination, and family law.

Grinnell College National Poll: October 2023

The Grinnell College National Poll (GCNP) partners faculty and students with nationally renowned pollster J. Ann Selzer to probe the political attitudes of the American public. Among other top-level findings from the latest (October 2023) GCNP:

  • Joe Biden and Donald Trump were in a dead heat among likely voters
  • Biden got a 38% approval rating, the secondbest showing in GCNP history, but 53% still disapprove of his job performance
  • 47% are less likely to favor candidates advocating a national abortion ban
  • 46% are less likely to vote for those backing a ban on gender-affirming medical treatment for minors
  • 42% are more likely to vote for candidates on the side of forgiving student loans

Read more about the Grinnell College National Poll and latest poll results at

2024 Alumni Awards

The Grinnell College Alumni Council has selected 13 outstanding Grinnellians to receive 2024 Alumni Awards; they are:

  • Kathleen DuBois ’74
  • Denise Iverson-Payne ’74
  • Tony Reid ’78
  • Ed Fry ’79
  • Trish Fitzgibbons Anderson ’80
  • Patricia Jipp Finkelman ’80
  • Nora Mann ’80
  • Elizabeth Lee ’99
  • Carla Talarico ’99
  • Brian Vicente ’99
  • Charles Blake ’05
  • Alissa Briggs ’05
  • Lisa Eshun-Wilson ’14

The awards are based on nominations received from alumni and serve to recognize individuals who embody Grinnell College’s mission of lifetime learning and service. The latest recipients will be celebrated during Reunion 2024.

Read profiles of this year's recipients at 2024 Alumni Awards.

2023 Wall Service Awards

Four projects developed by Grinnell College alumni — Maggie Connolly ’07, Smita S. ’08, Lisa Eshun-Wilson ’14, and Mikayla Findlay ’16 — were selected for the 2023 Joseph F. Wall ’41 Alumni Service Awards. They will use the $40,000 prizes to address personally meaningful projects in the fields of arts, technology, community-building, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. During the past 27 years, the College has given out more than $1 million to alumni through this award program.

Endowed Professorships


Shuchi Kapila, professor of English, is the new holder of the Maxeiner/Baumann-Payne Endowed Chair, which was established by C. William Maxeiner 1936. Maxeiner created the chair to honor the memory of his faculty mentors in history, English, and religious studies.

Nicole Eikmeier, assistant professor of computer science, is the first to hold the Luebke-Sproehnle Endowed Junior Faculty professorship. The new professorship, which is intended to encourage and support faculty who represent groups that have been historically underrepresented in computer science, was made possible by the generosity of Sarah Luebke Sproehnle ’00.

Knowledge into Action

As I meet Grinnell alumni, I am continually impressed with the ways that Grinnellians live their lives with intention. Often it is evident in their brilliant and varied careers, but it can also be in things they do outside of work, in their communities, as professors and teachers, as artists, writers, and creatives, or as participants in national and international conversations about important issues impacting society. In doing so, they embody the core themes of Grinnell College’s strategic plan, Knowledge into Action. Approved by the Board of Trustees in October 2023, Knowledge into Action and its four themes will guide the College’s work over the next seven years to strengthen collaboration and discovery for positive change, both in the institution and the world it shapes. You can read more about the plan both in this issue of The Grinnell Magazine and at

In this issue, you’ll read more about how Grinnellians shape the world, specifically recipients of the Joseph F. Wall ’41 Alumni Service Awards. They have been selected by their fellow alumni, including previous recipients, a student representative, and faculty members, through a competitive process that awards the $40,000 prizes to either jump-start or complete a project that shows creativity and commitment to effecting positive social change. I am excited to learn more about past award winners and encourage you to learn about the 2023 recipients more in-depth at Each of these projects exhibits creativity, community building, equity, and civic engagement in ways that are both deeply personal to each alum and shaped by their experience at Grinnell College. Each has impact that carries forward Grinnell’s legacy, sometimes in surprising ways.

The charge to “Go Forth Grinnellian” begins with the premise that each graduate spends part of their formative years here in the middle of everywhere – surrounded by a natural environment that may be very different from what they’re accustomed to at home. Grinnell’s Conard Environmental Research Area (CERA) is a place where students, faculty, and community members come face to face with the prairie. It offers summer conservation internships, is a wellspring of environmental science data, provides a hands-on outdoor classroom, rich research resources and a place for recreation and to be in nature. In addition to strong connection with Grinnell’s nationally recognized interdisciplinary Center for Prairie Studies, CERA inspires writers and artists, conversations about geology and chemistry, and interdisciplinary and innovative discovery and interrogation of human interaction with the environment.

I hope to see you here in Grinnell, at Reunion, or in my travels to hear your stories of knowledge into action. Your example and support inspire today’s students and helps us build a vibrant alumni community.

Class of 2027

This fall’s incoming first-year class of about 460 new students comes from 40 different states and 34 countries and joins an already stellar student body attracted by the College’s outstanding faculty, individually advised curriculum, and opportunities to gain skills both in and outside the classroom. For the second consecutive year, the first-year student body comprises a multicultural majority, reflecting the College’s academic mission and commitment to inclusivity and diversity.

Take a closer look:

49% of first-year students enrolling identify as white U.S. citizens or did not specify a racial background, while 51% represent a diverse array of identities.

Grinnell’s international student population makes up 20% of the incoming class.

23% identify as students of color with another 7% of students identifying as being from two or more racial backgrounds.

Notably, 10% of class members identify as dual citizens.

Major NSF Grant

Associate Professor of Chemistry Andrew Graham was awarded a prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) grant from the Mid-Career Advancement program (EAR-2322048) for $237,317. This significant achievement reflects the NSF’s recognition of Graham’s outstanding contributions to the scientific community and his potential to lead groundbreaking research in the field of biogeochemistry. New research opportunities enabled by the NSF grant will enhance the education and experiences of Grinnell students, as Graham aligns his teaching and research projects with crucial issues such as climate change.

African Diaspora Studies

This fall, with the recommendation of the faculty and approval by the Board of Trustees, Grinnell announced the launch of a new academic program, the Department of African Diaspora Studies (ADS). The field of Black studies is not new at Grinnell. It has experienced cyclical investment over the last 50+ years and has included an Africana Studies concentration offered from 1997 to 2005. The new ADS program, to be led by a senior-level endowed chair with two additional planned tenure-track faculty lines, will provide permanence and continuity for Grinnell students and faculty working in this important academic area.

Grinnellian Adventures: Social Justice and the Olympic Movement

Alumni trips will return with an Oct. 18-29, 2024, exploration of the intersection of social justice and the Olympic movement throughout history. Senior Associate Professor of Physical Education Will Freeman and Senior Associate Professor of Sociology and American Studies Kesho Scott DSS ’21 will lead the immersive tour of ancient and modern Olympic sites in Germany and Greece. Learn more about trip highlights, itinerary, and pricing options. Space is limited to the first 25 guests to register.