The Grinnell College Alumni Council has selected 14 exceptional graduates to receive the 2019 Alumni Awards.
The Alumni Award recognizes individuals who embody Grinnell College’s mission of lifetime learning and service and contribute to the common good. Nominated by their classmates and peers, recipients have distinguished themselves by their service to their careers, their community, and/or the College.
Bruce Pauley ’59
Recognized as a top scholar of Austrian history, Bruce Pauley has taught history since 1961 and served as a professor at the University of Central Florida for 35 years. His books on Austrian socialism and anti-Semitism contributed substantially to Austria coming to terms with its own past. In 2010, Austria’s ambassador to the United States presented Pauley with the Austrian government’s highest award for scholarship and art.
L.R. “Bud” Roegge ’59
After majoring in chemistry at Grinnell, Bud Roegge decided to put his test tubes away and go to law school. Both subjects would go on to shape his career. As an attorney and longtime president of Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Roegge litigated numerous environmental cases, such as representing Michigan Chemical Co. in statewide contamination that affected the dairy industry.
Janice Williams Resseger ’69
Janice Williams Resseger has been a tireless advocate for public education as a teacher, parent, community organizer, and staff member for a national religious social service political action group. In short, Resseger stands up for what she believes in. Working at the United Church of Christ, she developed programming around justice in public school policy for UCC churches around the country. She now authors a well-regarded public education policy blog.
Henry Wingate ’69
Henry Wingate has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to the values of social justice and social service throughout his life and career. Wingate was the first black federal judge for the Southern District of Mississippi, appointed in 1985 by President Ronald Reagan. He also served as a Grinnell College trustee for 18 years and was deeply involved in recruitment and support of Grinnell’s black students and faculty. His numerous community service initiatives include providing educational opportunities for juveniles interested in careers in law and law enforcement.
Dr. Moses Lee ’79
As a physician, Moses Lee displays the utmost kindness and consideration for the patients and his fellow medical colleagues. Lee was an attending physician in the emergency departments of Cook County Hospital and John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital in Chicago for 28 years. He continues to volunteer in emergency medicine. In June 2018, he received the lifetime achievement award from the Illinois Department of Public Health for founding the Illinois Medical Emergency Response Team.
Dr. Jeffrey Greenberg ’80
Jeffrey Greenberg has served his community, his profession, and Grinnell College for the past four decades. A surgeon and staff physician at Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center, Greenberg is known as a compassionate caregiver, brilliant researcher, and first-rate teacher. Since graduation, he has served as a class agent. Additionally, he has served on the Alumni Council, including two years as president. In recent years, he has participated in several medical missions, providing hand surgery care to underserved populations around the world.
Susan Henken-Thielen ’80
A highly effective marketing executive, Susan Henken-Thielen has a passion for growing entrepreneurial organizations that help people. As director of product management for Collegis Education, she is leading the effort to develop new higher education strategic data analytics. Previously as a director for Pearson VUE, Henken-Thielen established the global UExcel education program, where domestic and international students earn college credits by taking and passing online exams. For her alma mater, she served on the Alumni Council for seven years and helped recruit Minneapolis area students to Grinnell as a GRASP (Grinnell Regional Admission Support Program) volunteer.
Paula Nixon ’84
Paula Nixon’s enthusiasm can be contagious. It’s especially evident during Reunion Weekend, which Nixon has attended for the past 10 years as a pioneering force behind GRA/EY (Grinnell Reunion Any/Every Year). Rather than wait for their respective reunion years, Nixon encourages alumni to attend whatever year possible, adding another fun dynamic to the weekend. Her enthusiasm also shines through in the Grinnell social media sphere, where her notes of encouragement are widely appreciated.
Noel Green ’94
As an educator, Noel Green has brought with him the same spirit of inclusion, community building, and acute awareness of individual needs that he brought to Grinnell College as a student 25 years ago. Green is the principal of Burlington High School in Vermont, where his kind, caring, and approachable nature has made him ideal to work with students who come from all over the world. An advocate of restorative justice, the school district now puts emphasis on the relationships and people who have been harmed rather than doling out traditional punishments.
Dorje Gurung ’94
After being imprisoned under false accusations while teaching science in Qatar, Dorje Gurung met several Nepalese people who were working there as migrant workers. Those interactions helped persuade him to return to his native Nepal to educate the next generation of Nepalese students from low socioeconomic backgrounds. He established Social Business for Education, which sets up income-generating projects that benefit the community by providing jobs and training. For his vast commitment to education and humanity, Gurung received an honorary doctor of science degree at Grinnell’s 2014 Commencement. Gurung was denied a visa to attend Reunion; his friend, Michael Hanna ’94, accepted on his behalf.
Rabbi Jason M. Kimelman-Block ’94
As director of Bend the Arc Jewish Action, Rabbi Jason Kimelman-Brock has traveled the country seeking to promote nonviolent activism on behalf of those at risk. He also serves as director of national government affairs and rabbi-in-residence at A Jewish Partnership for Justice. He directed the first leadership cohort focused on training Jewish leaders of color and is a frequent speaker on social justice in the interfaith activist movement. Particularly notable is his ability to support and relate to people who have had very different life experiences from his own.
Kent Messer ’94
Kent Messer has an exceptional record of scholarship, teaching, and service as a natural resource and environmental economist. Messer teaches at the University of Delaware as the S. Hallock DuPont Professor. He is also the director of the Center for Experimental and Applied Economics and co-director of the Center for Behavioral and Experimental Agri-Environmental Research. He has written two textbooks on how to apply economics to better protect environmental areas. His expertise was valuable recently as a member of the Grinnell College Fossil Fuels and Climate Task Force Advisory Board.
Lu “Maggie” Bian ’09
Maggie Bian made a lasting impact on the future of many Chinese students even before she received her Grinnell degree. As a senior at Grinnell, she founded the China Liberal Arts Tour, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bridging the gap between liberal arts colleges and prospective students in China. Now in its 10th year, the tour invites liberal arts colleges to travel throughout China and interact with Chinese students. Bian oversees the tour’s development while working in Hong Kong as executive director for Hillhouse Capital Management, a global financial services company.
Latona Giwa ’09
Combining her passion for social justice, a dedication to community organizing, an intense focus on helping mothers and newborns, and an entrepreneurial spirit, Latona Giwa co-founded the Birthmark Doulas Collective in 2011. The New Orleans organization provides informational, emotional, and physical support to pregnant women and their families before, during, and after birth. Grinnell recognized Giwa’s work by presenting her with the Joseph P. Wall ’41 Service Award in 2013.