Campus News

Liberal Arts in Prison Program

Emily Guenther ’07, director of Grinnell College’s Liberal Arts in Prison Program, has been awarded a $60,000 grant from Bard College and the Open Society University Network. The grant was used to support the hiring of Gabriel Ferguson ’22 to serve as a postbaccalaureate fellow; Ferguson will provide academic support for courses offered at the Newton Correctional Facility and a pilot program at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women.

Major Research Instrumentation Grants from NSF

Faculty members Clark Lindgren, Keisuke Hasegawa, Pascal Lafontant, Vida Praitis, Josh Sandquist, and Mark Levandoski were awarded a $499,553 Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) Grant from the National Science Foundation to purchase a laser scanning confocal microscope. The grant came only weeks after faculty in the Department of Chemistry also received an NSF MRI grant to purchase a 400Mhz NMR spectrometer. These grants reflect the significance of their research and their dedication to exemplary science education and mentorship.

Fulbright U.S. Student Grants

Mary DaVega ’21, Sarina Kopf ’22, Sarina Lincoln ’21, and Katelyn Mehlhaus ’22 received Fulbright U.S. Student Grants for research/study and teaching English in 2022–23. Grinnell was named a Top Producing Institution for the Fulbright program by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) in 2021.


Our Truths, Our Humanities

Veritas et Humanitas. “Truth and Humanity.” Our seldom-evoked motto is more likely today to prompt critique and conversation than to remain an unquestioned statement. “Whose truth?” we may well ask; “Whose humanity?” we would want to know. Why are these concepts singular? What changes when they become multiple? How do truths change and co-exist? How are numerous humanities honored and championed?

As the College’s website announces, and our students proclaim with their chants of encouragement during games, “Grinnellians ask hard questions and question easy answers.” We ask that of ourselves as well as of the world, and this issue of The Grinnell Magazine invites your inquiry of truth(s) and (the) humanities. Both principles connect readily to experience, and I invite you to think of your experiences, both at and beyond the College, in the narratives and discoveries that await you in these pages.

The Humanities and Social Studies Center presents a generative framework for humanistic inquiry. The HSSC, already affectionately pronounced “husk” by many students, was dedicated on Oct. 1, as one of the very few architectural projects in higher education in the United States focused on the humanities and humanistic social sciences. The teaching and learning experiences of faculty, staff, and students shaped both the community-based process of design and the architectural project of implementation. The concept of “neighborhoods” that foster interactions and exchanges is the dynamic result.

Legal structures, like architectural ones, can change human experiences — especially when different and differing human experiences (in the plural) are acknowledged. Celebrations and the continuing advocacy of Title IX legislation address the inequitable differences of gendered experience, and these pages hold for you some of the stories that are inspiring conversations and realizations on campus in events commemorating Grinnellians’ engagement with this momentous legislation upon its 50th anniversary.

The 2022 Athletics Reunion honored great moments in women’s sports history at Grinnell to mark this anniversary and inducted a new class of Grinnell College Athletic Hall of Fame honorees. Students and alums connected throughout the events, which is always a joy to behold. This year has also seen the return of many reunion classes, most recently the Golden Reunion classes of 1951, 1954, 1956, 1957, and 1958. Welcome back to all!

Our truths and our humanities thrive through change, and I end my welcome to you with a look towards three bright horizons. This fall, our already outstanding student body joined me in welcoming 437 members of the class of 2026 from 43 states and 37 countries. Twenty-nine percent of the U.S. students enrolling in Grinnell College’s class of 2026 identify as domestic Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, including the largest proportion of Latinx students of any entering class in Grinnell’s history. Consistent with the College’s commitment to social responsibility, the incoming class includes the largest proportion of first-generation students in recent years; 16% are the first in their family to attend college.

The class of 2026 will join with the campus community in our strategic planning process.

Its collective impact approach values everyone’s contribution to knowledge and its multiple truths and humanities. Ten generative sessions this fall will inform further collective deliberation, with eagerly anticipated alumni engagement in the spring of 2023.

I am joined in all of this work, all of this promise, and all of these truths and humanities by the remarkable senior leadership team of the College, and notably Dean Beronda Montgomery, whose transformative leadership has engaged multiple constituents and crucial conversations already, and whose presence on campus in the greater Grinnell community creates connection and discovery at every turn. I wish you both in your readership of her profile and in all of the writings in these pages, as they proclaim multiple truths and vibrant humanities.


Honorary Degrees

  • The Rev. Bernice A. King, CEO, King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, doctor of laws
  • Olivia Kuper, NASA solar system ambassador and high school science educator, doctor of science
  • Katherine Stephan Villers ’61, board president and founder, Community Catalyst, doctor of humane letters
  • Erin Whalen ’12, executive director and school principal, Da Vinci RISE High School, doctor of social science

Truman Scholar

Loyal Terry ’23 has been named a 2022 Truman Scholar. He is one of 58 students to receive the prestigious scholarship worth up to $30,000 for graduate or professional school, leadership training, and internship and fellowship opportunities.

Top Fulbright College

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program has recognized Grinnell as one of the top colleges and universities for students receiving Fulbright awards in 2021–2022. Grinnell’s recent Fulbright grantees are engaging in research, study, and teaching in Argentina, Brazil, Germany, India, Mexico, Spain, Slovak Republic, and Taiwan.

Honored Speaker

Almost 55 years ago, and just six months before his assassination, civil
rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at a Grinnell Scholars
Convocation. In May, Grinnellians welcomed his daughter, the Rev.
Bernice A. King, as this year’s Commencement speaker. King is carrying
on her father’s mission of nonviolence and social change through her
work as a peace advocate and leader of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center.
Commencement videos, transcripts, and more are available online.

New Senior Staff Members

(left to right)

Ellen de Graffenreid has been appointed vice president for communications and marketing. She was senior associate vice president for academic and executive communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Germaine Gross has been appointed vice president for finance and chief financial officer. She was chief business officer and chief of staff for the School of Liberal Arts at Tulane University in New Orleans.

Myrna Y. Hernández has been appointed chief of staff and vice president of administration. Hernández was vice president of student affairs and dean of students at the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio.

Honored for Years of Service

Grinnell honored three faculty members for their years of service and bestowed on them the title of emeritus faculty (left to right):