I was the SGA [Student Government Association] social coordinator my senior year starting in the fall of 1976. Pat Irwin ’77 and the late Dan Hexter ’77 were concert chairmen, and we managed a robust budget of $37,500 for the year to book bands for South Lounge parties, cultural weekends, and in Roberts Theatre. Georgia Dentel was an absolute genius at stretching that budget and getting acts at incredible prices. If Dan and Pat wanted a band, Georgia would not only book that concert for Grinnell, she would create a mini-tour for the band at two other colleges, get a reduced price for us, and of course mandate that our show would be on Saturday night. Her strategy for booking groups when they were on the cusp of stardom was legendary, and her network of former Grinnell students in the business, agents, and people she charmed provided her edge.
But that is not even half of the story. I spent hours and hours on the phone with Georgia discussing politics, classes, music, and my family. She remembered every detail, and at graduation time I really wanted her to meet my dad. Georgia rarely met with us in person but finally agreed on her terms, sitting behind the wheel in her vintage 1964 Ford Falcon for a fast getaway.
I remember the open forum in September of 1976 well, as I spoke on her behalf representing the SGA. I said, “Georgia Dentel plays an integral role in shaping the ‘Grinnell Experience.’ Her dedication to the College and its students’ education cannot be distilled to a line item in a budget.”