Clair "Pat" Patterson ’43 was a scientist's scientist. He cared about basic research, knowledge for the sake of knowledge. Although he may be best known for being the first to accurately date the Earth, his discoveries about how lead was polluting air and water and poisoning plants, animals, and human beings defined his career.
In the basement of Burling Library, in the perfectly chilled Print and Drawing Study Room, on an even chillier February afternoon in Grinnell, students eagerly crowded around Jiayun Chen ’19 and Susan Wood, professor of art history at Oakland University. Their attention remained fixed upon a small marble head, resting on a soft white pillow. Chen had examined the portrait before, but this time, she found something new.
For students whose parents didn’t complete a four-year college degree, getting into Grinnell is just the first hurdle. Figuring out how to survive, much less thrive, is a whole series of hurdles. And it’s less a sprint over a brightly lit track than a marathon through a dark tunnel with blind curves, switchbacks, and alarming obstacles.
Psychology major to zookeeper? Biology coursework to Delta pilot? Grinnellians have long been told that a liberal arts degree prepares them to excel at just about anything. The wide range of careers that Grinnellians have pursued successfully bolsters that argument.