A Tradition of Leadership

Throughout its history, Grinnell has emphasized the importance of human rights and social progress, and encouraged the discussion of the public policies affecting both. Grinnell was a center of abolitionist activity in the 1850s and one of the first colleges in the nation to admit women to the bachelor of arts degree. In the post-Civil War years, Grinnell was the focal point of the Midwestern Social Gospel Movement that produced major administrators of the New Deal, such as Harry Hopkins '12, Chester Davis '11, Hallie Flanagan Davis '11, Florence Kerr '12, and Paul Appleby '13—all Grinnell alumni who turned the ideals of a social movement into political action. In more recent times, Grinnell has continued to combine academic excellence and social action. Each new generation of alums has produced leaders in a wide variety of fields from economic development, to medical research, to public policy, to diplomacy—many of whom visit campus to inspire current students. Grinnell also has a tradition of hosting on campus prominent political leaders including Harry S. Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, Hubert Humphrey, Barry Goldwater, Julian Bond, Jon Lewis, Madeline Albright, and a slew of Social Justice Prize on an annual basis.


A Commitment to the Tradition

The Rosenfield Program is a particular tribute to Grinnell alumnus and trustee Joseph Rosenfield '25, one of the most generous supporters and imaginative planners in Grinnell history. The Rosenfield Program plans a wide array of co-curricular activities that enrich the academic environment at Grinnell. The program brings distinguished figures from around the world to Grinnell College to expose students to important current issues and funds students to pursue internships that apply what they learn on campus about public affairs, international relations, and human rights. The Rosenfield Program connects the Grinnell campus to on-going developments in public affairs and helps to prepare future leaders.


Bringing Distinguished Leaders to Campus

The Rosenfield Program has sponsored visits by more than 400 lecturers, including:
Retired diplomat George Kennan, Author and terrorism expert Jane Mayer, Former Senators Bob Dole, George Mitchell, and Paul Simon; Former Soviet Foreign Minister Alexander Bessmertnyk; Chilean writer Ariel Dorfman; Members of the Madres de Plaza de Mayo Carmen Lapacó and Maria Adela Antokoletz; Leader of the United Farm Workers Cesar Chavez; Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Nicholas Kristof, Tony Horwitz, David Shipler, and David Shribman; Distinguished historians Lynn Hunt, Mae Ngai, James McCann, and Donald Worster; Former West German Finance Minister Hans Apel; Human Rights experts Carroll Bogert, Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im, and Jack Donnelly; Former President of the UK Social Democratic Party Shirley Williams; Former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara; Security experts Greg Thielmann '72, Lawrence Korb, and Janne Nollen; Former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop; President of the ACLU Nadine Strossen; NPR Counterterrorism Correspondent Dina Temple-Raston; Founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center Morris Dees, and Co-Founder of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, Jerry Greenfield.


Stimulating Discussion Through Symposia

For over 25 years the Rosenfield Program has sponsored conferences and symposia. Typically, the program hosts four multi-day symposia each year, featuring lectures, panel discussions, films, and opportunities for individual interaction with students. Recent symposia titles include: • "Trends in Islam" • "Rights and the Environment" • "The Rise of China" • "Global Pharmaceuticals" • "The Media: Change and Challenges" • "Poverty" • "Beyond the Cold War: The World since 1989" • "Corn Belts: Iowa and International Agriculture" • "U.S. Immigration Policy" • "Women, Politics, and Leadership for the 21st Century"