Alumni Council News

The Resiliency of Grinnellians

As the Alumni Council returned to Grinnell in person for the first time since March 2020, one thing was immediately apparent to all of us: The challenges and trials of the past nearly two years have taken a toll on us all. I, along with every other Alumni Council member, could clearly see it.

Yet, despite these challenges, it was equally apparent that the students were grateful to be back on campus, together. After all, as any Grinnellian knows, the best parts of a Grinnell experience are those impromptu community moments that occur outside of any scheduled activity. The pandemic has disrupted the Grinnell experience students are having and the ways in which we, as alumni, connect with one another. But the resiliency and care for one another I saw on campus (and reflected in the alumni community) has me convinced that this is not unique to 2020 or 2021 but rather is a hallmark of the Grinnell community that generations of alums have experienced over time.

I will begin with my own such story. When I was a second year at Grinnell, I remember waking up on Sept. 11, 2001, to find the world was a different place. My friends and classmates were challenged and appalled by what had happened, but as a Grinnell community we instinctively came together to help each other process and manage our responses to this national tragedy. We helped each other have both resiliency and strength during those dark days. I asked my fellow Alumni Council members to reflect on their experiences of trauma and how the Grinnell community held together and made them stronger through it.

Here are a few powerful examples.

“I was on campus in 1963 when JFK was assassinated. When it hit the airways, I was ready to go to my dinnertime shift as a server in the Main Dining Hall. It seemed campus activity had ground to a halt. The loggia was empty as I passed each dorm. I heard none of the typical late afternoon sounds. Instead, I heard the same tragic news broadcast repeatedly from multiple TVs and radios. At that moment, it seemed Grinnell students had become one in the stunning realization that our president had been murdered. We shared shock, anger, and grief; and in that sharing we seemed more mature, more appreciative of one another, and closer in our humanity.”

— Rebecca Reetz Neal ’65

“During the summer of 1974, the summer of Watergate, President Nixon’s enemies list, massive demonstrations on the Mall, Nixon’s resignation, and a country wondering if our government would survive, I was completing an internship at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. When I wore Grinnell gear while wondering about D.C., Grinnell alumni would stop me to talk about Grinnell, our community, and current events. It was that sense of a larger Grinnell community, a community that was there to help and support each other, that helped me through those tumultuous historic events.”

— Robert Ruhl ’76

“In November 1979, the Iran hostage crisis began, and it was demoralizing and scary for the whole country, let alone the college students. Andrew Young came to campus to speak. He was at the time a diplomat at the U.N. before becoming the Atlanta mayor in 1981. His message about our perceived shift in world perception and how we still had influence to go forward and do good things was comforting. Also, many students got politically active by attending the election year caucuses in the basements of Grinnell bars, registering other students to vote, and canvassing for important political issues. Whatever the outcome, coming together to try and effect change was a way of feeling a little more in control in a crazy world.”

— Ann Poor Cary ’81

I am sure there are countless more stories about the many times Grinnellians have come together to support and uplift one another during times of national, international, local, and even personal crisis. This is a community we can count on. This is a community that is stronger together and during these uncertain times. Let Grinnell be among the community anchors in your life. Together, we are stronger.

Let’s Embrace the Future Together

I’m always proud to share that Grinnell was a stop in the underground railroad. In fact, I feel many find our legacy of social justice impressive when I talk about my time in the prairie. When I share these stories, I often think about the decisions our founders were faced with when they opened our school. Moreover, I embrace that legacy as my own: to take positive risks in scenarios that may not seem clear and to use my values for justice and equality as the intuitive drivers of my leadership.

Grinnell College is surrounded by new challenges. We are in the middle of a global pandemic. Minimum-wage jobs are vacant because people have realized that they can — and should — get paid a livable salary. Interestingly, the country is experiencing the largest income gap in history. And let’s not forget we are still discussing race as a nation after the events of last year. Our campus is not positioned to solve these issues as an institution, but I feel our mission of preparing young adults for “the honorable discharge of the duties of life” means that we must position our students and alumni to take on these challenges. While it can be hard to know where to start, there is one challenge we can all rally around to ensure the College approaches it with strong vision, intent, and execution: the need for increased diversity in our community to ensure that Grinnell is developing leaders who reflect — and have the capacity to serve — our country and our diverse communities.

Knowing this, my instruction to this year’s Alumni Council is to be innovative and to seek ways to bring diverse alumni back to the fold. Our narrative as alumni is multicultural and multidimensional, and telling our different stories will allow our community to embrace the huge wave of demographic changes that we are about to experience.

I’m very optimistic that we will rise to the challenge. We have an outstanding new College president. We have a Board of Trustees that is exploring ways to diversify itself even more every day. We have committed faculty, staff, and student leaders working to center diversity, equity, and inclusion in our campus practices. And the Alumni Council has been part of the preparations, too; we’ve advised in the development of the College’s diversity plan, designed an award-winning Multicultural Reunion, and launched the first-ever Code of Leadership that embraces our collective values as alumni as we engage one another, staff, students, and faculty.

More importantly, we have one another.

I can remember a time when my relationship with Grinnell as an alumnus was a bit shaky. But as I did with all the negative experiences in my life, I asked myself how I was going to grow and become a better person because of these moments. That’s when I allowed myself to experience Grinnell again, and let me be the first to say the grass can certainly be greener on the other side. Not only was I having fun, but I realized there are many structured ways where I can lend my skill sets to benefit students and strategic initiatives across campus.

As we prepare for diversity, we are adding seats at the table and I’d love for you to come sit a spell.

Please come back and share your narrative. Consider attending a diversity-themed event and connect with other alumni that you may have never otherwise connected with. For those of us that have never attended a standing alumni event like Reunion, I invite you to. And when you find it’s time to allow yourself to have a new Grinnell experience, come apply for Alumni Council. It’s through our engagement with one another and the school that we can help shape the future of Grinnell. We have a responsibility to care for one another, grow together, and ensure that the College is best prepared to take on new challenges. We have a responsibility to uphold the values of our founders and our mission and do our best to position the College for success.

Let’s work together to make Grinnell the greatest asset for future generations.

Community Connection: Pen Pals

When the pandemic began disrupting the ways Grinnellians normally create and maintain community, Student Alumni Council co-presidents Mitch Sevier ’21 and Paul Cover ’21 knew students and alumni needed connection more than ever. Their answer was a pen pal program that could facilitate long-term connections.

It was an idea that resonated. With 400 people signing up, the program was successful far beyond their expectations. To make it as meaningful and personal as possible, Sevier and Cover individually matched all 200 pairs based on their academic and career interests, and reasons for participating.

Nicole Cabe ’23 and Elina Koretsky ’99 were one of those pairs. They instantly hit it off, talking for two hours on their first phone call. Koretsky says there was a great “level of openness, almost immediately, on both ends.” They realized that their families and their experiences as first-generation college students were surprisingly similar. Koretsky describes their relationship as “not something I thought I would ever have at this point in my life.” Though the program officially ended in May, Koretsky says, “We’re just at the start of this relationship, which I don’t expect to have an endpoint.”

Another pair, Trinisa Fung ’23 and Jon Krieg ’84, have connected over their interests in social justice, peace and conflict, international relations, and food. Fung has reminded Krieg of the importance of impatience. Krieg explains, “It’s easy to get a little bit jaded or cynical, because change is a slow process. And I think we need the impatience of young people and the idealism of young people.” On the other hand, Fung has realized that “we need to learn how to balance and use impatience when the time comes but we should also be wary that quick change is not the best solution to everything.” They are looking forward to continuing these conversations as pen pals and, when possible, over Ethiopian food in Des Moines, Iowa, where Krieg lives.

The program is not only filling a pandemic-sized hole in the College community; it’s also strengthening the community in new ways. It is “addressing a need that we didn’t really know existed,” Cover says. As such, the program likely will continue after the pandemic ends. Sevier says, “I think the future is bright.”

First student funded by Endowed Internship for Racial Justice works with ACLU of Texas

Grace Duffy ’22 wanted a summer internship in public policy, law, or criminal justice reform to help her decide what career to pursue. Most importantly, she wanted to intern at an organization she could see herself working for in the future. When she secured a summer 2021 internship with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas, everything came together.

“I could definitely see myself working in an organization like the ACLU in the future,” Duffy says. “Along with criminal justice reform and policy, I’m also very interested in immigration. Texas is a good choice for me. I’ll be working with them on issues related to detention centers, the Mexican border, and immigration services.”

The Grinnell College Alumni Council established the Endowed Internship for Racial Justice to help students like Duffy have this kind of valuable experience. Duffy is the first to receive the internship funding, which will be given annually to support Grinnell students who want to intern with groups pursuing some aspect of racial justice. All 26 of the 2020–21 Council members have made gifts to the internship fund, along with 33 former Council members. In total, more than $105,000 has been given or pledged.

After the murder of George Floyd and the ensuing Black Lives Matter demonstrations last summer, the Alumni Council needed to demonstrate tangibly its commitment to improved racial justice in America, says council past president Chris Meyer ’70.

Duffy’s internship aligns closely with this vision. She is interning with strategist Nick Hudson in the ACLU’s policy and advocacy division, directed by Sarah Labowitz ’04, which works to change criminal justice policy.

One ACLU focus following Floyd’s murder is making sure legislation is enacted to hold police accountable. The ACLU also is campaigning to create first responder positions to handle certain types of calls that police typically responded to in the past.

“I will be researching and drafting statements on these issues as well as doing advocacy work in the community, digital organizing, and monitoring legislative hearings,” Duffy says.

A Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native, Duffy is majoring in English and Spanish with a concentration in peace and conflict studies. This past school year, she worked as a research and curriculum design assistant in the College’s English and Peace and Conflict Studies departments. She also has served as a teacher, tutor, and student coordinator for the Liberal Arts in Prison Program.

Duffy is thankful to be the first recipient of the Endowed Internship for Racial Justice and thinks the concept is a great idea.

“To have alumni care about the causes that students are working for is a big motivating factor,” she says. “I’m excited to see how it grows. I think it will definitely draw students to apply for racial justice–oriented internships in the future with the knowledge they can get funded and have alumni support these causes.”

Members Reflect on Their Opportunity to Give Back

When I consider what the Alumni Council has done, is doing, and will do in the future, it is important to take stock of where we have been and what those who have served on the council think. In that spirit, we are focusing on thoughts from three members who are completing their council service: Ryann Haines Cheung ’93, Jeetander Dulani ’98, and Rick Stuck ’82 (pictured left to right in fall 2019).

Why did you join the Alumni Council?

People come to the Alumni Council for different reasons. For Ryann and Rick, it was a natural next step as longtime volunteers. Jeetander says it was part of his continuing interest in paying Grinnell back for the faith it showed when it took a chance on him over 20 years ago.

What has been your most meaningful experience as a member of the council?

Each person mentioned the opportunity Alumni Council service gave them to learn more about Grinnell and engage in needed conversations with alumni, staff, and students. In particular, Jeetander cited the work that has been done to focus on diversity and inclusion, helping the alumni community to have productive conversations on difficult topics.

What have you learned about the College or alumni community that surprised you?

For Jeetander it was that there is no single “Grinnell experience.” Each alum, student, faculty, and staff member comes to Grinnell and approaches the College differently. Yet, as Ryann points out, this is all done in a desire to make Grinnell better. “The unique Grinnell experiences each community member has color our own desires to make Grinnell a better place and approach issues with the sort of nuance and detail that Grinnell taught all of us,” she says.

What are your hopes for the work the council will continue after your service?

As all of our departing members acknowledge, Grinnell and higher education as a whole are at a crossroads, facing issues ranging from the pandemic to calls for racial justice. It is their hope the College takes this opportunity to create more inclusive events, such as online events that bring together diverse communities or alumni groups that may be too small to do such events on their own. In addition, they want the Alumni Council to focus on continuing to facilitate and have the necessary hard conversations on issues facing the Grinnell community.

Do you have any words of wisdom for Grinnell alumni?

Jeetander says, “Don’t stop speaking truth to power,” whether that power is the Grinnell administration, political leaders, or those in your work or social lives. Ryann says, “Find some talent or knowledge you can share with Grinnell — be it on the Alumni Council or not. Staying involved has been so awesome — and has expanded my wealth of friends beyond the four years I attended.” Rick adds, “I have bittersweet feelings as my tenure on the Alumni Council is coming to an end. It was one of the most meaningful experiences I have had from any organization that I have been involved with over the years.”

It has been an honor to serve with these three members, and I look forward to their continuing service within the alumni community and for Grinnell College.

Please contact any Alumni Council member to find ways to participate. For more information or to apply to join, visit Alumni Council.

How to Rise to the Moment

Chris MeyerA comic strip during my youth popularized the term “triple whammy,” which referred to a group of three problems or calamities that arose at the same time. It seems to me that 2020 has presented Grinnell College and its alumni community with a triple whammy.

First, after a highly regarded and successful 10-year run, President Raynard S. Kington decided to pursue new challenges as head of school at Phillips Academy Andover. Second, the COVID-19 pandemic forced Grinnell to transition to distance learning in the spring and to reimagine its physical and educational plans for the 2020–21 school year. Finally, the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and George Floyd, among others, triggered the greatest outpouring of protest and anger over anti-Blackness and police violence since the late 1960s.

The entire Grinnell College community — students, faculty, staff, and alumni — need to respond to the issues raised by Black Lives Matter and related protests. We will need to do so in the midst of a transition to new leadership in the president’s office. We will also need to move forward without many of the physical gatherings we have traditionally used to promote healing and develop solutions.

“Grinnell College will tackle the tasks ahead in a manner true to its tradition of social responsibility and its focus on providing the finest possible liberal arts education to its students.”

My Alumni Council agenda for the coming year has evolved dramatically because of the events of the past few months. At the broadest level, the Alumni Council will continue to seek ways to support the College in its educational mission, to engage alumni and friends in that effort, and to act as a bridge to facilitate communication between Grinnell and its alumni body. However, the methods by which we pursue that mission will be altered by changes necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The council will have to adapt and will seek your advice and assistance in that effort.

At a time when very few certainties exist, I am highly confident about several things: Grinnell College will tackle the tasks ahead in a manner true to its tradition of social responsibility and its focus on providing the finest possible liberal arts education to its students. It will do so in a way that protects the health and safety of every member of the Grinnell community, and the Alumni Council will do its best to support the College in those efforts.

During my time at Grinnell, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke on campus in 1967 about “Remaining Awake During a Revolution.” Sadly, distractions, complacency, and the passage of time have led too many of us to fall asleep in the intervening years. We are now presented with another watershed moment, another moment of “revolution.” Please do your part to help Grinnell College and the Alumni Council stay awake and aid the efforts to make lasting change in the future of our nation. Despite the pandemic constraints, let us all join together in that work. Please help to turn the triple whammy of 2020 into a pivot that moves all of us in a new and more enlightened direction.

Council Work Aims to Strengthen GC Pride

If you’ve been to a Grinnell sporting event on campus in the past few years, you’ve heard this two-word phrase shouted as a rallying cry: “GC Pride!” Right now, when everything seems uncertain, I continue to be filled with GC Pride.

The response to Grinnell’s decision to send the vast majority of students home and conduct the rest of the semester online has been inspiring. More than $100,000 has been raised for the new Supporting Our Students (SOS) Fund, which helped students get home and get the resources they needed to continue their education. In the midst of this pandemic, I have never felt more GC Pride than I do right now.

The Alumni Council spring meeting took place just days before the College announced its transition to distance learning. During the meeting, the council focused on four main activities.

First, the council met with Ben Newhouse, dean of students, and Terry Mason, the new dean of health and wellness, to hear an update on the work of the student affairs and the student health and wellness teams. This includes work to increase access to mental health services on campus, including telemedicine, as well as proactively working with students on harm reduction strategies.

Second, the Alumni Council, led by its Alumni Engagement and Communications Committee, adopted a new communications plan. A chief goal in this plan is a more directed effort on behalf of the Alumni Council to reach out to fellow alumni and to provide communication before and after each meeting, so we can gather input on topics to be discussed and report on results. This plan will be rolled out starting in the fall.

Third, the Alumni Council, led by Ahsan Rahim ’11, developed and hosted a workshop on personal finance skills. The workshop covered topics like signing a lease, and it was attended by more than 60 students. This work helps prepare students for life after Grinnell.

Finally, the council’s Ad Hoc Civility Committee continued to refine and develop the new Code of Leadership, a statement of shared values for our alumni volunteers. This code was created to articulate the importance of a professional, respectful, and kind environment for all Grinnell College community members.

On behalf of the entire Alumni Council, I want to thank all of you for stepping up to support Grinnell’s students during this difficult time. We should all feel great GC Pride at how we are handling this moment.

Membership Updates

This meeting marked the final one for five members:

  • Mary Knuth Otto ’63
  • Fritz Schwaller ’69
  • Rhonda Stuart ’86
  • Jim Asplund ’88
  • Ahsan Rahim ’11

Their contributions greatly enriched the alumni community, and they will be missed.

The council also elected Lester Alemán ’07 president-elect and five new members to terms starting in June:

  • Becky Reetz Neal ’65
  • Ed Atkins ’66
  • Tom Triplett ’69
  • Scott Shepherd ’82
  • Ben Vaughn ’15

The council will continue to support alumni and students through this uncertain time and into a new era following President Raynard S. Kington’s departure at the end of the academic year. We would love to hear your ideas of how we can best do so.

The Grinnell College Alumni Council supports purposeful, lifelong relationships among Grinnell alumni and between the alumni and College communities.

The Evolution of Multicultural Reunion

Following previous targeted reunion events for black students and the first LGBTQIA+ reunion in 2016, Multicultural Reunion seeks to establish a sense of inclusion among alumni who may or may not have had that community as students by celebrating the strength we find in our overlapping personal, cultural, spiritual, and social identities.

Instrumental to the success of Multicultural Reunion is the strong leadership from the alumni community. Rhonda Stuart ’86 chaired the first Multicultural Reunion Planning Committee in 2017, culminating in events attended by 150 alumni. That work was recognized in 2018 in the best diversity program award category by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

In 2019 Stuart returned to head the reunion planning committee, along with co-chairs Graciela Guzmán ’11, Lester Alemán ’07, and Chris Wilde ’88. Our partners in the Office of Development and Alumni Relations, Sarah Smith-Benanti and Jayn Bailey Cheney ’05, and multicultural organization student leaders met via phone conferences and on-campus meetings to formulate events to explore the impact of diversity initiatives on Grinnell student life.

The 2019 Multicultural Reunion in November brought 120 alumni back for events designed to help attendees meet and reconnect, starting with our Friday kickoff event, “Looking Back and Leaping Forward.” Guided by prepared prompts, participants shared freely their fun memories, frustrations, and vulnerabilities. We segued into “Invisible Identities,” a panel of alumni and a current student, moderated by Anna Dudda ’96, to discuss topics such as hidden disabilities and neurodiversity, with frank conversation about how resources for students with disabilities have evolved over time.

On the Jewish Sabbath Friday evening, Rabbi Rachel Weiss ’98 led a Shabbat service prior to the lively, soul-stirring keynote address by Michael Twitty, a gay, African American Jewish culinary cultural interpreter, author of The Cooking Gene, which features stories exploring his intersectional identity through the lens of food traditions.

Saturday started with a wide-ranging conversation among the diversity professionals on the College staff to provide status reports about initiatives and the challenges in growing these programs. Next, we heard from a panel comprised of outstanding multicultural historians including a current student, two alumni, and Daniel Kaiser, professor emeritus. His new book explores the lives of African Americans, including Edith Renfrow Smith ’39 and her family, who lived in the town of Grinnell in the early 20th century.

At the second annual gala dinner, five alumni were honored with the 2019 Diversity Champion Award: Hubert Farbes ’69, Roy Walker ’69, Merryll Penson ’70, Grant Crandall ’69, and U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate ’69. Professor Kesho Scott, inaugural recipient of the award in 2017, was on hand to present. Each alum was instrumental in founding Concerned Black Students (CBS) and the Conney M. Kimbo Black Cultural Center (BCC). The weekend concluded Sunday morning with Black Church in Herrick Chapel, featuring the Rev. Brian Smith ’94 and the Young, Gifted, and Black Choir.

Concurrent events rounded out the weekend, including the queer people of color student-produced drag show, now entering its second decade, and the Multicultural Digital Archive Project, a concept for a future segment of the Digital Grinnell website to be focused on the timelines of multicultural student organizations, created by Katherine Rankin Matsuura ’90, Wilde, and student researchers.

Please make plans to join us in fall 2021 for the third Multicultural Reunion.

The Grinnell College Alumni Council supports purposeful, lifelong relationships among Grinnell alumni and between the alumni and College communities.

 

Community Is Our Strength

I am not from Iowa, but every time I come back to Grinnell, it feels as much home to me as my actual hometown of Portland, Oregon. Probably the biggest part of this feeling is that Grinnell’s greatest strength lies in its community. No one makes it through Grinnell alone. I know I would not have made it through without faculty members like Barb Trish or Don Smith or friends like Alejandro Oyarzabal ’04 or David Creasey ’04. I am sure each of you has similar people who made your success at Grinnell possible. Together we are indeed greater.

At the center of the fall Alumni Council meeting, which took place alongside volunteer weekend, the council met with 120 volunteers, ranging from the classes of 1951 to 2019, to discuss how we can better work together to foster connections between alumni and leverage our skills to best support Grinnell and the work of the Office of Development and Alumni Relations (DAR). These skills are particularly important as we enter the public phase of the Campaign for Grinnell College. The volunteers who made their way to Grinnell for volunteer weekend, and those who were unable to attend, will be counted on to help support and attend the campaign events that are being held across the country and in London and Hong Kong in the next year. We encourage all alumni to attend these events as well. See a list at of campaign events.

Elsewhere through the weekend, Alumni Council’s three standing committees, as well as the ad hoc committee on civility, provided updates about their work. Highlights include:

  • Alumni and Student Connections: The goal is to support and promote the externship program, which every year sends students across the country and around the world to job shadow alums for several days during the College’s spring break.
  • Alumni Engagement and Communication: The committee is discussing tools to better engage alumni, especially those who have become disconnected from Grinnell. In addition, it is finding ways to capture the informal connections alumni make every day on Facebook, among groups of friends, or in their communities. The committee also discussed work on the “Event in a Box” program, which provides a tool kit for alums to plan and hold events.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: Their work is focused in two areas — first, supporting the second Multicultural Reunion, which saw alums return to campus to celebrate the differences that made our Grinnell experiences unique; second, continuing work to develop the coaching program previously discussed in the Winter 2018 issue of The Grinnell Magazine.
  • Ad Hoc Committee on Civility: This committee, formed to think about how we can all bring our best selves to our volunteer work on behalf of the College, rolled out an initial version of a new alumni volunteer code of leadership to the volunteers present. More details on this will be provided as we further develop this code and present elements of it to the entire Grinnell community over the next several months.

Finally, it was the first Alumni Council meeting for Robert Gehorsam ’76, Bernard Jackson ’86, and Eric Mistry ’14. Find their profiles on the Alumni Council website.

Every day that I get to work on behalf of Grinnell as part of the Alumni Council makes me proud to be a Grinnellian. We get to witness (and participate in) the impressive efforts of alums to support current students, and the efforts of students, faculty, and staff that make Grinnell what it is. Grinnell is a special place, and everyone on the Alumni Council is proud to spend as much time as we do doing whatever work we can to keep it that way.

The Grinnell College Alumni Council supports purposeful, lifelong relationships among Grinnell alumni and between the alumni and College communities.

What’s Cooking, Grinnell?

In 2017 President Raynard S. Kington approached the Alumni Council with the idea of creating an Alumni Community Cookbook. The project’s inspiration came from a 1975 Grinnell alumni cookbook, which talked about the role food plays in building community and creating space for people to set aside their differences and engage in fellowship. Whether forging lifelong friendships in the dining hall or attending summer alumni picnics, potluck dinners, or happy hours, Grinnellians have a history of coming together around the table.

So, what are you having for dinner tonight? Have you tried any new dishes offered in the cookbook? What are you taking to your next alumni potluck? Tell us at magazine[at]grinnell[dot]edu, subject: cookbook. Photos welcome.

The current cookbook was a collaborative effort involving many participants from the Grinnell College community. The Alumni Council targeted a release date, found an Iowa company to print the book, and issued a request for recipes throughout the College and alumni communities. Development and alumni relations staff created a webpage and form for recipe submissions, and the Pioneer Bookshop agreed to sell the book in the store and online.

The request for recipes went out, and submissions came in from alumni, faculty, and staff. The goal was to collect at least 150 recipes. We received more than 230 from alumni classes spanning more than 50 years. The council wanted to tie in the first cookbook, compiled by Charlotte Cathcart Maselli ’29, with the new one, so we featured some recipes from the original edition, including Maselli’s recipe for Stuffed Mushrooms Parma (Page 27 of the new cookbook).

The book also includes brief reminiscences about our culinary experiences at Grinnell. I fondly remember “steak night” and chicken Kiev. Sunday night, however, salmon croquettes were the featured menu item, which caused many of us to flee into town for a sandwich at the Peppercorn Deli, a meal at the Longhorn, or a pizza from Pagliai’s.

When Nancy Garrett Logan ’59 was at Grinnell, the town didn’t offer a lot of restaurant choices or fast food options, so she and the other women in the Loose Hall basement cooked. Try their Loose Hall Girls’ Stew (Page 121). Brigham Hoegh ’08 writes about a special friendship with Jingsheng Sheng Wang ’08 that began in the First-Year Tutorial and was enhanced by cooking Mapo Tofu (Page 53) many times together at Grinnell. Alyssa Manz ’13 sent in her dairy-free Avocado-Lime Matcha Pound Cake recipe (Page 204) that substitutes avocado for butter. She writes, “Isn’t being different what Grinnellians are best at?”

The Alumni Council took on the alumni cookbook project with the idea that it would help promote communication among alums and foster the sense of community. It prompted Edward Senn ’79 to contact Mary Knuth Otto ’63 about her Maine Seafood Bake recipe (Page 33). Although he got the seafood ingredients he needed at his local farmers’ market, he wasn’t sure which type of sherry to use. Mary says it was a fun and spontaneous phone call that only happened because of the cookbook.

The cookbook forges a link between Grinnellians from many different generations across the globe. At Commencement this year, graduates received a copy as a gift from the Alumni Association. Many of the parents appreciated the practicality of this gift, but we hope our newest alumni will appreciate it as a “welcome to the community” gift.

That je ne sais quoi that connects Grinnellians is made stronger by gathering around the table.