Campus News

Nature, Made: Alumni Invitational

Pamela Crocket, Anchovy DanceApril 3–July 31

What happens when an artist doesn’t just represent the natural world, but makes it anew through a creative lens?

Five alumni artists work with animals, plants, and environments, crafting them into personal expression and commentary on the human impulse to alter the world around us.

The exhibition will include painting, printmaking, sculpture, and drawing by artists Fay Hazelcorn Stanford ’72, Pamela Greenblatt Crockett ’76, Aaron Rothman ’96, Regan Golden ’00, and John Martin Bell ’08.

Change Agents in Education, Arts, and the Environment

Alumni recipients of the 2019 Joseph F. Wall ’41 Alumni Service Awards have ambitious plans for their $35,000 awards.

Juan Carlos Pérez Borja ’11, who founded Enseña Ecuador (Teach for Ecuador) in 2013, is developing a training program for local teachers.

Juan Castaño ’00, co-founder and executive director of Calpulli Mexican Dance Company in New York City, will use his award to present Monarcas: Stories of Inspired Immigrants, a full-length, professional dance and music performance that will debut in Queens during spring 2021.

Zoé Strecker ’88, an associate professor of art at Transylvania University in Kentucky, has focused on a long-term, social change project called Lavish! The project is a multi-media, sculptural installation on Pine Mountain that invites a deep look into biodiverse, old-growth, temperate-zone forests.

For more information about the winners’ work, see Wall Award Winners 2019.

Sustainability Efforts Employed by the College

With a new utility-scale solar installation expected to be complete by the end of May (see no. 1 below), readers may wonder what other sustainability efforts the College employs. Many are in plain sight while others are literally buried, including four geothermal well fields. This map shows where most efforts take place.Green Map numbered to match text. Same information found in online campus map Sustainibility Tour

  1. Utility-Scale Solar Installation
    The College will purchase renewable electricity from Iowa-based Trusted Energy, which is building a 4-megawatt solar installation on 18 acres of farmland adjacent to campus. It’s expected to supply 30% of campus electricity and reduce the College’s carbon footprint by 18%.
  2. Athletic Field Prairies
    Native prairie plantings are used for wildlife and runoff filtration.
  3. Football Field Irrigation
    Rainwater and HVAC condensation is collected from the Field House and used to irrigate the football field.
  4. Geothermal Well Field
    One of four well fields, this one services the Bear Center natatorium and supplies heating and cooling.
  5. Boiler Plant
    Efficient practices include monitoring exhaust to ensure most efficient combustion and a reverse osmosis machine that removes minerals from city water before entering the steam system.
  6. Residence Hall Renovations (one per summer)
    Renovations typically include all LED lighting, updating control system to set temperature restrictions, water fountains with water bottle fillers, and new windows.
  7. Geothermal Well Field
    The well field beneath Mac Field provides heating and cooling to the Humanities and Social Studies Center and the Admission and Student Financial Services building.
  8. Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center
    Energy practices include CFL and LED lighting, daylight controls, white reflective roof, and a heat recovery system that recovers exhausted heat from HVAC, refrigerators, and coolers and also heats incoming fresh air during the winter. Food waste from the dining hall is collected, processed, and delivered to a local farm.
  9. East Campus Residence Halls
    Built from Iowa limestone, these residence halls were the first to be added to a centralized building automation system, which allows for setting permissible temperature ranges. Window sensors turn off heating and cooling to rooms when windows are open.
  10. Electric Car Charging Station
  11. Solar Photovoltaic and Car Charging Station
    This 17-kilowatt solar array provides power to the electric car charging station and supplies 100% of the electricity for the student house at 1128 East St.
  12. Campus Garden
    The garden provides locally sourced food as a demonstration of self-reliance.
  13. Noyce Science Center
    Energy-saving technologies include heat reclamation, a white reflective roof, and variable frequency sash hoods with occupancy sensors. A rainwater collection system provides irrigation water for the greenhouse.
  14. Humanities and Social Studies Center
    A geothermal system heats and cools the center. All lighting is LED. Extensive occupancy sensors are tied to lighting, heating, and cooling. Rainwater is collected for flushing toilets and irrigation. Excess stormwater is addressed via a bioswale system. A green roof will be installed on a portion of the building.
  15. Admission and Student Financial Services
    A geothermal system heats and cools the building. Most lighting is LED. Bioswales, permeable parking, and a small green roof address stormwater. Visitors can use an electric vehicle charging station.
  16. Zipcar
    This self-service car-sharing is available to students, faculty, staff, and the local community.

The College has several other buildings that are not pictured on the map, such as the Grinnell College Preschool and the Conard Environmental Research Area, which have geothermal well fields and other green attributes.

Many of these enhancements were made possible by the campus Green Fund, which was established in 2015. In discussions related to the Class of 1966’s 50th reunion in 2016, David Imes ’66 suggested a gift go partly toward solar panels. Inspired by that idea, David Miller ’66 encouraged his class to make the Green Fund a priority. An anonymous donor helped fully endow the fund. In part, the money allows Facilities Management staff to respond to students’ sustainability and green suggestions.

Grinnell College National Poll Reveals Dip in Job Approval

More than half of U.S. residents say their feelings towards President Donald Trump have become “more unfavorable” since he took office, according to the newest edition of the Grinnell College National Poll, released Oct. 29, 2019.

The poll, a partnership between Grinnell College and nationally renowned pollster J. Ann Selzer of Selzer & Company, showed that 56% felt more negatively about Trump, compared to 39% that feel more favorable about him since January 2017.

Do you approve or disapprove of the job Donald Trump is doing?

Do you approve or disapprove of the job Donald Trump is doing?


Excavations: The Prints of Julie Mehretu

Jan. 24–April 4, 2020

Best known for her large-scale paintings and drawings, Mehretu layers maps, urban planning grids, and architectural renderings with whorls of abstract markings and bright, colorful shapes.


Damon Davis

Jan. 24–March 14, 2020

This exhibition of work by St. Louis multimedia artist and activist Damon Davis includes pieces he completed during a month-long residency at Grinnell College during the fall 2019 semester.


The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded Grinnell College a $1 million grant for “The Humanities in Action,” a project that will focus on curricular reform, community engagement, and career development.

“Grinnell recently made a significant investment in humanistic fields by constructing the Humanities and Social Studies Center, a cutting-edge facility for teaching and learning,” says Raynard S. Kington, College president. “We have also expanded our collaborations with our local community. The Mellon grant builds on both of these investments, helping us improve the teaching and learning of humanistic fields inside and outside the classroom.”

2019 Grinnell Prize Winner: Shafiq R. Khan

Shafiq R. Kahn at podiumThe $100,000 Grinnell College Innovator for Social Justice Prize was awarded to Shafiq R. Khan, founder and CEO of Empower People. Khan and Empower People have been instrumental in the fight to eradicate bride trafficking in North India and in empowering the independence, agency, and leadership of girls and women who have been affected by this issue. He came to campus in October to share his work.

To hear Kahn discuss how he became involved in the fight against bride trafficking, his vision for the organization, what he has learned from working with survivors and other feminist mentors, and the significance of the Grinnell Prize to their mission, listen to episode 2 of season 2 of All Things Grinnell, available wherever you listen to podcasts.

Broken English

Gregory Gómez ’80 installed his sculpture, “Broken English,” on the plaza of the Humanities and Social Studies Center (HSSC) Aug. 13. The sculpture was donated by John Chambers ’77 in honor of his late wife Jean Chambers.

The sculpture repeats the first four lines of “The Second Coming” by William Butler Yeats, a poem Gómez learned as a student in Alumni Recitation Hall (ARH). ARH and Carnegie Hall are currently under renovation as part of the HSSC project.

Gomez installing a section of his sculpture

Access to More Rare Books

Grinnell students have access to nearly 5,000 more rare books and historic documents, thanks to the College’s recent acquisition of the Des Moines Salisbury House’s library collection that includes first editions and historic documents. Among the rare items in the collection are:

  • A leaf from the original printing of the Gutenberg Bible in 1455.
  • Galley proofs of Tales Told of Shem and Shaun, the working title of Finnegans Wake, with handwritten edits by James Joyce; and a 1935 limited edition of Joyce’s Ulysses with original illustrations by Henri Matisse.
  • Signed books and documents by Thomas Jefferson, King Louis XVI, Marquis de Lafayette, Queen Elizabeth, John Hancock, Joshua Reynolds, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses Grant, Cardinal Richelieu, Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, and many other renowned individuals.

“The College invested in this treasured Iowa resource to keep it intact within the state and to make it more accessible to researchers, faculty, students and the general public,” says Mark Christel, Samuel R. and Marie-Louise Rosenthal Librarian.

“The College will perform any needed preservation work, catalog the entire collection, and begin to digitize unique items from the collection,” Christel adds.

Faculty members are starting to explore the collection in hopes of incorporating elements of it into their classes and research.

“There are so many rare — and even one-of-a-kind — treasures in this collection that, on a first visit, one flits from book to book like a butterfly after nectar in a field of flowers,” says Jon Andelson ’70, professor of anthropology and director of the Center for Prairie Studies. “The potential uses of the collection by students and faculty are literally endless.”