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Commencement

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*/ Each year, a commencement speaker is nominated by a committee consisting of students from the graduating class, facilitated by staff from Conference Operations and Events. Students gather suggestions from fellow class members, get input from the faculty committee that...
*/ Each year, the graduating class nominates members of the College community and community at large for honorary class membership. Honorary class members are people at the college and in the community who are important to the class and whom it would like to consider honorary...
*/ The President's Medal is awarded annually to the senior who exemplifies the ideal Grinnell student. To be considered for the award, a student must: Reach and maintain superior scholarship while a Grinnell student. Demonstrate leadership in activities that credit the student...
*/ The Archibald Prize is given annually to the senior who has achieved the highest grade-point average during four years of study. It is accompanied by a cash prize. The award was made possible in 1928 from a $1,000 bequest from the Rev. Andrew Archibald, who died in 1926. The...

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Christopher Vaughan ’71 received an honorary Doctor of Science at Grinnell College Commencement 2006. During almost 30 years, Vaughan has worked as an administrator, consultant, professor, thesis advisor, and field researcher in environmental studies, behavior, and ecology in...
It’s a beautiful day for the 169th Commencement of Grinnell College, beginning at 10 a.m. on Central Campus. Join us as we celebrate our newest graduates. You can: Watch the live stream beginning at 10 a.m. CDT (GMT -05:00). Follow and join the conversation on Twitter: #...
A. Gregory Thielmann '72 received an honorary Doctor of Laws at Grinnell College Commencement 2009. It takes great courage and strength of character for a career public servant to publicly oppose senior government officials. When A. Gregory Thielmann '72, a career State...
Angela Y. Davis, tenured professor in the History of Consciousness Department at the University of California-Santa Cruz, is known internationally for her ongoing work to combat all forms of oppression in the United States and abroad. Over the years she has been active as a...
For 30 years, Anna Quindlen has taught us — in reporting, in opinion columns, and in fiction — what it means to live decent lives as families and why it can sometimes be difficult-to-impossible to do. Along the way, she has told us some unwelcome truths, balanced with wit and...
Bill McKibben received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at Grinnell College Commencement 2015 and gave the commencement address. About Bill McKibben A renowned environmentalist and writer, McKibben is one of the nation’s most outspoken activists on global warming. He has...
Bonnie Tinker ’69 received an honorary Doctor of Laws in memoriam at Grinnell College Commencement 2013. About Bonnie Tinker ’69 Our lives are defined not simply by the beliefs we hold, but by the actions we take to support them. Through a lifetime of work to support social...
Transcript Thank you. It's a pleasure to be here in Iowa. I must confess my travels with UNICEF never took me anywhere as pastoral as this. Even the parents here today look eternally young, which is making me think the ghost of Shoeless Joe Jackson knew what he was talking about...
Claudia Swisher received an honorary Doctor of Social Studies at Grinnell College Commencement 2016. About Claudia Swisher Swisher was an English teacher for several decades at Norman North High School in Norman, Okla., where she was admired for going above and beyond in her...
The 168th Commencement of Grinnell College is complete. Celebrate the accomplishments of our seniors as they begin their post-Grinnell journeys.   View the full ceremony, the presidential charge to the graduates, and honorary degree recipients speeches.. Follow and join the...
Grinnell College will celebrate its Class of 2015 at this year’s exercises of commencement on Monday, May 18. The ceremony, in which approximately 400 students will receive the Bachelor of Arts degree, will feature an address by noted environmentalist and author Bill McKibben...
It’s been a beautiful day for the 170th Commencement of Grinnell College, celebrating the class of 2016. Commencement exercises began at 10 a.m. at the amphitheater on Central Campus, and are now complete. The ceremony featured an address by internationally renowned novelist...
CBS Sunday Morning commentator Nancy Giles will be the Commencement speaker at Grinnell College’s graduation exercises at 10 a.m. Monday, May 19. Honorary degrees will be awarded to Giles and to two Grinnell alumni: Influential literary agent Sterling Lord ’42 and Educator and...
*/ The 169th Commencement of Grinnell College is complete. Find highlights from the weekend in a visual review of Commencement 2015. Relive the full ceremony on YouTube, or pick the speech of your choice: President Raynard S. Kington's Charge to the Graduates Bill McKibben,...
David Abarr ’83 received an honorary Doctor of Science at Grinnell College Commencement 2013. About David Abarr ’83 Great educators do more than just teach their students facts. They encourage their students to be curious, inspire them to think differently about the world, and...
David Feldman ’71 received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at Grinnell College Commencement 2011. About David Feldman ’71 Imponderable questions feature in every person’s life. David Feldman has made a career of answering them. His Imponderables series of 11 books...
Dr. Debhanom Muangman '58 received an honorary Doctor of Science at Grinnell College Commencement 2004. Public health physician, administrator, and researcher Debhanom Muangman is being honored today for his leadership and contributions to the development of public health in...
Frances Moore Lappé received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at Grinnell College Commencement 2004. Frances Moore Lappé became internationally known with the publication of her bestselling 1971 book Diet for a Small Planet, which has been widely read for over 30 years,...
Fred Hersch ’77 received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at Grinnell College Commencement 2016. About Fred Hersch ’77 Hersch is a pianist, composer, and one of the world’s foremost jazz artists. He is described as “one of the small handful of brilliant musicians of his...
Henry Wilhelm ’68 received an honorary Doctor of Sciences at Grinnell College Commencement 2011. About Henry Wilhelm ’68 ermanence. Preservation. Care. We use these words often when we talk about Henry Wilhelm’s life’s work. A photographer, inventor, and Guggenheim fellow, he’s...
Faculty, staff, and students are invited to send Honorary Degree nominations (alumni or otherwise). More information on the Honorary Degree process can be found in the Faculty Handbook in Appendix IV. If you wish to nominate someone, please send Rachel Bly the name of the...
When passions stir deeply, the repercussions can be extraordinary. Jamaica Kincaid has touched millions of people around the globe. She grew up under British rule in Antigua, a British colony until 1967. There she developed a disdain for colonists who had no regard for her...
James Banks received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at Grinnell College Commencement 2006. James A. Banks is Russell F. Stark University Professor and Director of the Center for Multicultural Education at the University of Washington, Seattle. He is a past president of the...
James H. Lowry ’61 received an honorary Doctor of Laws at Grinnell College Commencement 2008. Bringing African Americans into the U.S. economic mainstream requires persistence, dedication, and a realization that racism still leaves its ugly traces today. It is not enough to...
The Earth Institute supports scientific research, education, and the application of research to advance nine interconnected global issues: climate and society, water, energy, poverty, ecosystems, public health, food and nutrition, hazards, and urbanization. As director of The...
Jodie Levin-Epstein '72 received an honorary Doctor of Laws at Grinnell College Commencement 2009. Since she graduated from Grinnell in 1972, Jodie Levin-Epstein has carried with her a Grinnellian's dedication to social justice through all seasons, whether favorable or hostile...
John Brady Kiesling received an honorary Doctor of Laws at Grinnell College Commencement 2007. "Everyone has to punch some ticket in life that says they have made a difference." Kiesling's words, quoted here, reflect his willingness to a make a deep personal sacrifice for the...
John F. Schwaller '69 received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at Grinnell College Commencement 2009. Schwaller's career in higher education, spanning more than 30 years, has been characterized by a questing curiosity, leading him always to explore fruitful new avenues of...
John W. Canady M.D. '80 received an honorary Doctor of Science at Grinnell College Commencement 2008. Much as we might like to believe that looks don't matter, children with cleft lip know it's not true. This common birth defect not only makes facing the world a challenge, it...
Philosopher and gender politics expert Judith Butler addressed the Class of 2008 at Grinnell College's Exercises of Commencement, on Mon., May 19, at 10 a.m. on Central Campus. Butler, who is Maxine Elliott Professor of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature at University of...
Kathryn Jagow Mohrman '67 received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at Grinnell College Commencement 2005. It's difficult to imagine what challenges and problems the graduates of today will face in 10, 20, or 30 years, but they will likely be dramatically different than...
Kay Bucksbaum ’51 received an honorary Doctor of Laws at Grinnell College Commencement 2012. About Kay Bucksbaum ’51 Since graduating from Grinnell College with honors in 1951, Carolyn “Kay” Bucksbaum has worked tirelessly to support the arts, education, and charitable causes....
Kit Abel Hawkins received an honorary Doctor of Social Studies at Grinnell College Commencement 2015. Kit Abel Hawkins is founder and director of the Arbor School of Arts and Sciences, a private K-8 school in Tualatin, Oregon. Established in 1989, Arbor is the manifestation of...
Video of Lexy's Graduation Alexis "Lexy" Greenwell ’15 used her iPhone to virtually walk across the stage at Grinnell College's commencement ceremony even though she was 725 miles away at Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colorado. Janet Davis, associate professor of...
Margaret Tolbert '79 received an honorary Doctor of Science at Grinnell College Commencement 2007. Global climate change has the potential to affect nearly every aspect of life on Earth. Margaret Tolbert's research is helping us understand the chemistry of our atmosphere —...
Mary Seely received an honorary Doctor of Science at Grinnell College Commencement 2015. Mary Seely is a renowned scientist with a history of work in environmental science, education, and policy in southern Africa. A visionary scientist and teacher, Seely served as director of...
Mary Sue Wilson Coleman '65 received an honorary Doctor of Science at Grinnell College Commencement 2004. From the chemistry lab to the president's office to the United States Supreme Court chambers, Mary Sue Wilson Coleman '65 has dedicated herself to upholding the values of a...
Nancy Giles, CBS Sunday Morning commentator, received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters and presented the Commencement address to the Grinnell College Class of 2014. About Nancy Giles A contributor to the respected CBS morning program since 2003, Giles brings a strong,...
Nathanial Borenstein ’80 received an honorary Doctor of Science at Grinnell College Commencement 2013. About Nathanial Borenstein ’80 Great innovators don’t simply create new things; they anticipate our future needs and solve problems almost before we realize they existed....
Pardis Sabeti received an honorary Doctor of Sciences at Grinnell College Commencement 2011. About Pardis Sabeti Starting in Tehran, moving to Florida as a child and ending up at MIT and Harvard, with a detour to Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar and again as graduate...
About Pat Irwin ’77 Since graduating from Grinnell College in 1977, Irwin has enjoyed a remarkable career as a composer, musician, and now instructor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Music Theater Writing Program. His talent and influence have been felt...
Patricia T. O'Conner '71 received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at Grinnell College Commencement 2006. O'Conner is the author of Woe is I: The Grammarphob'es Guide to Better English in Plain English, among other publications. Pat, a native of Des Moines, graduated from...
Penny Bender Sebring ’64 is a senior research associate at the University of Chicago and co-director of the Consortium of Chicago School Research. After earning a degree in sociology from Grinnell, Sebring went on to study education and policy studies at Pennsylvania State...
Rein Saral '65 received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at Grinnell College Commencement 2005. A diagnosis of cancer or AIDS is nothing short of terrifying for those who must hear it. Saral has brought hope to those who feel they are beyond hope, and he has brought the...
Rekha Basu received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at Grinnell College Commencement 2008. Sometimes the issues that are the most difficult to discuss are precisely the ones that most require our attention. In her columns for the Des Moines Register, Rekha Basu has taught...
Transcript President Osgood, Trustees, Faculty, Parents, Friends, and Members of the Grinnell Class of 2002, I am going to get a platform to stand on. I will tell you, when I began as Secretary of Labor in President Bill Clinton's cabinet I was six foot two inches. It took a lot...
Most of us think of poetry as words on a page. But the best poetry comes to life when it is performed — not simply read aloud, but infused with emotion and nuance. Sarah Kay is leading a movement to bring spoken word poetry to a wider audience through her own remarkable work and...
Susan Asbrook Harvey '75 received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at Grinnell College Commencement 2007. What does it mean to be a Christian? How should issues of religion influence society, the family, issues of poverty and wealth, and in particular, the lives and roles of...
Thomas Cole ’71 received an honorary Doctor of Laws at Grinnell College Commencement 2016. About Thomas Cole ’71 Cole has served as U.S. Representative for Oklahoma’s 4th District since 2002. Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, he is the fourth-ranking...
New York Times columnist and acclaimed author Thomas Friedman addressed the Class of 2009 at Commencement, on Mon., May 18, at 10 a.m. on Central Campus. The three-time Pulitzer Prize winner is the author of current bestseller Hot, Flat, and Crowded and previous number-one...
Transcript Thank you very much, to the administration, faculty, assembled guests and parents but mostly to the graduating seniors, who for some totally inexplicable reason have chosen me to give today's commencement address. I am still convinced that there must have been some...
Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack was the 2006 commencement speaker at Grinnell College in May 2006. Iowa's 39th governor, Vilsack was elected governor in 1998 and was the first Democrat elected to that office in more than 30 years. He was re-elected to a second four-year term in 2002....
Transcript Thank you and good morning President Osgood, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen and especially the 2004 graduating class of Grinnell College. It has been my privilege to deliver a number of graduation addresses at several institutions of higher learning, but...
Novelist Zadie Smith received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at Grinnell College Commencement 2016 and gave the commencement address. About Zadie Smith Zadie Smith was born in North London in 1975 to an English father and a Jamaican mother. She read English at Cambridge,...

News Release

EDITORS’ NOTE: Video of Giles’ remarks (and the rest of Grinnell’s commencement ceremony) is available upon request. Please contact Stacey Schmeidel, director of media relations, 641/269-4659. More information is available at www.grinnell.edu/news/commencement-2014. In a year in...

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Next Scheduled Event Our next live stream has not been scheduled yet. Please see Grinnell College's YouTube channel for earlier live-streamed events, including Commencement 2016. The live stream may not work on secure (https) connections. Please be sure to use the URL http://www...

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