Campus News

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.”

At the Grinnell College Museum of Art

Aug. 23–Dec. 14, 2019

Three pieces from For Campus and Community installed in the corner of the galleryFor more than a century, Grinnell College has been building an art collection, which now includes more than 5,000 objects from antiquity to the present day. In 1999, the opening of Faulconer Gallery at the College facilitated a dramatic expansion of the presence of art on campus, not only in the form of exhibitions of national and international art and artists, but also in an intensified building of the art collection.

In celebration of its 20th anniversary and in keeping with the myriad innovative ways that its collections, exhibitions, and outreach programs have grown beyond a single exhibition space at the heart of the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, Faulconer Gallery has rededicated itself the Grinnell College Museum of Art. This inaugural exhibition rightly gives pride of place to an extraordinarily diverse and ever-growing collection of works of art spanning both the centuries and the globe, a rich resource for inquiry and inspiration, as well as pure visual delight.

In Recognition of Excellence

Congratulations to faculty granted promotions and tenure in 2019 and to those who are transitioning to senior faculty status* or emeritus faculty.

Promoted to associate professor with tenure

Gwenola Caradec, French

Andrew Graham, chemistry

Cynthia Hansen, linguistics and anthropology

Celeste Miller, dance

Granted tenure

Tamara Beauboeuf, gender, women’s, and sexuality studies; joining the faculty as the Louise R. Noun Chair in Women’s Studies in the fall of 2019

Xavier Escandell, anthropology

John Garrison, English

Promoted to full professor

Shanna Benjamin, English

Timothy Dobe, religious studies 

Transitioned to senior faculty status

Susan Ireland, French

Ellen Mease, theatre and dance

Mark Montgomery, economics

Transitioned to emeritus faculty

William Case, physics

Paul Munyon, economics

Chris Hunter, sociology

* Senior faculty status recognizes those faculty members who are released from regular, full-time teaching obligations to pursue scholarly and professional activities associated with the College.

Honorary Degree Recipients

Edith Renfrow Smith ’37 walking to podium

“Remember, take every opportunity to do your best. And I have done it, I hope.”

Edith Renfrow Smith ’37

Richard Royal Fisher ’61 giving his speech

“At Grinnell soon after [witnessing the northern lights], my interests were transformed into a passion to know more about the connection between the sun and the Earth. And that passion, in fact, has influenced most of the major decisions of my life. It was the result of a very improbable intersection of an independent study, an infrequent natural phenomenon, and the kindness and generosity of … two faculty members.”

­– Richard Royal Fisher ’61

Kristin DeMoss being hooded

“If you reach the top of your field, but do not take the time to show compassion and help others, have you really accomplished anything? At the end of the day, at the end of your life, what is really going to matter?”

Kristin DeMoss, English teacher

Go Forth Grinnellian

"Given that you are independent thinkers, I won’t be giving you any all-encompassing advice, no homilies, or ancient Chinese wisdom. Instead I am going to do what writers do best, and that is to talk about myself." Amy Tan, novelist

See video of Amy Tan's address as well as speeches by the other honorary degree recipients and President Raynard S. Kington. 

student fixing another student's cap

graduate hugging another graduate

students sitting on the Grinnell College sign

two students standing clapping

students laughing

student carrying his diploma

student smiling

President Kington placing medal on student

student smiling in crowd