When Grinnell College framed its charter in the Iowa Territory of the United States in 1846, it set forth a mission to educate its students "for the different professions and for the honorable discharge of the duties of life." The College pursues that mission by providing an education in the liberal arts through free inquiry and the open exchange of ideas. As a teaching and learning community, the College holds that knowledge is a good to be pursued both for its own sake and for the intellectual, moral, and physical well-being of individuals and of society at large. The College exists to provide a lively academic community of students and teachers of high scholarly qualifications from diverse social and cultural circumstances. The College aims to graduate individuals who can think clearly, who can speak and write persuasively and even eloquently, who can evaluate critically both their own and others' ideas, who can acquire new knowledge, and who are prepared in life and work to use their knowledge and their abilities to serve the common good.

Core Values

Excellence in Education for Students in the Liberal Arts

  • Varied forms of learning, in and out of the classroom and beyond the campus.
  • Creative and critical thinking stimulated by the free, open exchange of ideas.
  • Education that reflects on its own process.
  • Excellent teaching as the highest priority of the faculty.
  • Active scholarship in traditional and interdisciplinary fields.
  • Need-blind admission of students with strong academic potential.

A Diverse Community

  • A wide diversity of people and perspectives.
  • A residential campus in a setting that promotes close interactions.
  • Personal, egalitarian, and respectful interactions among all members of the college community.
  • Meeting full demonstrated financial-aid need of admitted and continuing students.
  • Support for professional well-being of all whose work contributes to the college.

Social Responsibility

  • Our strong tradition of social responsibility and action.
  • Our strong tradition of self-governance and personal responsibility.
  • Learning from and communicating with the world beyond the campus.
  • Life-long connections that support friendship, work, and learning.
  • Continuing to build institutional strength for educating tomorrow's students.



Exhibition highlights a diverse selection of some of the best talents in children's illustration in Africa.

You’re a high-achieving student with big dreams. You can do this.

Medallion Ceremony
Students bring varied geographic, ethnic, racial, religious, and socioeconomic experiences to Grinnell.
Habitat for Humanity student volunteers
Grinnell has a strong tradition of social responsibility and action.
Student volunteers in class
Grinnell supports varied forms of learning, in and out of the classroom and beyond the campus.