Serving Others

Alumnus and spouse endow Program for Experiential Learning in Public Policy
Jeremy Shapiro

During the 1960s, Grinnell’s Program for Practical Political Education (PPPE) flourished, sponsoring elaborate mock political conventions in Darby Gym and bringing to campus a long list of luminaries, including former Presidents Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower.

Those early PPPE experiences set the tone for a distinguished public service career for Grinnell College trustee George Moose ’66 and formed the backdrop to the discussion at an informal dinner Moose and his wife Judith R. Kaufmann had in March in Washington, D.C., with 16 Grinnell College students. The students were participating in a tour sponsored by the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights.

Moose and Kaufmann, both career public servants with experience in senior policy positions with the U.S. State Department, met while in the Foreign Service. He served as U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Benin and to the Republic of Senegal. He later served as assistant secretary of state for African affairs and as the U.S. permanent representative to the European office of the United Nations in Geneva.

Kaufmann served as director of the Office of International Health Affairs and is now an independent consultant on diplomacy for global health.

“Our experiences overseas and in Washington, D.C., made us intensely aware of the need to support the development of students who will be our next generation of policymakers and practitioners, and to equip them with the knowledge and understanding to pursue public service within an ethical framework,” Moose says.

Last fall, Moose and Kaufmann made a planned gift commitment of $840,000 to endow the Program for Experiential Learning in Public Policy. Administered by the Rosenfield Program, the gift’s principal purpose is to encourage students to consider careers in public service as well as to help ensure that students can afford to participate in related career development opportunities.

One area of specific support is the reinvigoration of the PPPE. The College plans to establish revised goals for the PPPE that include promoting interest in public service and enhancing the free flow of ideas important for strengthening U.S. democracy.

“It’s especially meaningful to be able to advance PPPE’s programming to celebrate and enhance opportunities for public service,” says Barbara Trish, director of the Rosenfield Program.

While the endowment will be established through their planned gift, Moose and Kaufman also are supporting the fund directly with annual retirement plan distributions during their lifetimes. These gifts are making an immediate impact. 

The fund helped pay for 16 students to travel to Washington, D.C., on the Rosenfield Program’s international affairs study tour. 

The spring break tour included visits and meetings with people in the Pentagon, Swedish Embassy, World Bank, and several other offices that deal with global affairs. 

Kate Goddard Rohrbaugh ’91, a program analyst for the Peace Corps' Office of Strategic Information, Research, and Planning, hosted a panel of four former Peace Corps volunteers who served in China, Kenya, Albania, and St. Lucia. Antonio DiMarco ’18 hosted a visit to the Cadmus Group, a strategic and technical consulting firm with a portfolio that includes global issues. Greg Thielmann ’72 hosted the group at the Arms Control Association, an educational organization that attempts to ensure bipartisan involvement in arms control. 

For his part, Moose hosted a visit to the United States Institute of Peace, an organization that Congress established in 1984 to promote the prevention and resolution of international conflicts.

“The whole study tour on foreign affairs was in perfect alignment with what George and Judith have accomplished and continue to strive for in their careers,” Trish says. 

She is also directing some gift funds to support professional development awards for Rosenfield summer interns. 

“We know that the commitment to a career in public service sometimes involves sacrifices, so we hope that offering a little financial support toward that end might make the path a little easier,” she says. 

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