Forging Connection

What marks the moment when you know that you are in community, in a partnership, in a friendship? Is community a matter of happenstance or careful planning? Each fall at Grinnell College we are prompted to consider these questions, as we welcome new and returning students, faculty, and staff, having just a few months prior cheered our newest alumni with the good wishes of “Go Forth, Grinnellian!” As you will see in the stories presented here, Grinnell, in both enduring and revelatory ways, is a place where people can build and redefine community and connection, shaping and reshaping the College as they do so.

The friendship and collaboration of faculty colleagues Kesho Scott and Will Freeman show that serendipity and a willingness to approach others with an open mind can lead to an incredible partnership that — over and over — empowers Grinnellians to consider their own journeys and where they might belong.

You can also explore Grinnell’s vibrant, varied and very distinctive student clubs, where friendships thrive and interests are nurtured. Exploring just a small handful in the pages of this magazine gives a glimpse into student life and connections formed beyond the classroom. They highlight the very human experience of learning something new or taking joy in competition, collaboration, and community.

In these pages, we also have a welcome chance to deepen our understanding of humanity and the impact of one extraordinary person on multiple communities through Harold Kasimow’s remarkable journey as a Holocaust survivor, religious scholar, faculty member, mentor, and passionate advocate of interfaith dialogue. His humanity and his journey have fostered belonging and connection and served as inspiration for generations of Grinnellians.

I hope that these remarkable stories will inspire you to think about how you have become part of a community, how you made community happen, how and where you have felt a sense of belonging, and how your connection to Grinnell College and the extraordinary people and experiences that have marked your journey — or even set you on a new course — have shaped your life, as you have shaped those of others.

I am filled with joy to be, once again, meeting alumni and friends in cities in the United States, in London, and beyond. It is an honor and an inspiration to hear your stories and forge connections with remarkable Grinnellians, and I look forward to all our moments in community.

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