GRINNELL, IA—Grinnell College recognized the professional accomplishments and service contributions of nine alumni during Alumni Reunion Weekend, June 2-6 on the Grinnell campus. Alumni Award winners are members of reunion classes who have distinguished themselves in their careers and communities and embody Grinnell’s mission of life-long learning and service.
Herbert J. Hancock, a 1960 graduate of Grinnell College from Los Angeles, Calif., received an Alumni Award. Following is the citation read about Hancock’s accomplishments: “Herbie Hancock’s groundbreaking work as a jazz musician has helped move the genre in new directions—and garnered him millions of fans in the process.
After spending years playing and studying classical music as a child, Hancock was introduced to jazz as a teen. An adept musician and student, he enrolled at Grinnell at age 16 and majored in both electrical engineering and music. After graduation, he focused on his interest in jazz piano, releasing his first solo LP, ‘Watermelon Man,’ in 1963. For the next five years, he worked with Miles Davis, and recorded frequently for Blue Note Records. He went on to lead his own band, Headhunters, with whom he wrote many of the songs he is best known for, including the radio single ‘Chameleon.’ Over the course of his five-decade career, he has performed on more than 50 albums, many of which have seen critical and commercial success. He has performed alongside jazz greats and contemporary stars including Chick Corea, Paul Simon, Annie Lennox, and John Mayer. Hancocks’s innovative musical work has earned him an Academy Award and a dozen Grammy Awards. His newest album, ‘The Imagine Project,’ will be released on June 22.
For his work shaping this distinctly American musical genre, Grinnell is pleased to honor Herbert J. Hancock.”
Grinnell College is a nationally recognized, private, four-year, liberal arts college located in Grinnell, Iowa. Founded in 1846, Grinnell enrolls 1,600 students from all 50 states and from as many international countries in more than 26 major fields, interdisciplinary concentrations, and pre-professional programs.