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Grinnell College today announced the creation of a $300,000 annual prize program to honor individuals under the age of 40 who have demonstrated leadership in their fields and who show creativity, commitment and extraordinary accomplishment in effecting positive social change. The Grinnell College Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize will carry an award of $100,000, half to the individual and half to an organization committed to the winner’s area of social justice. One to three awards will be given each year for a total of up to $300,000 in prize monies.
The program directly reflects Grinnell’s historic mission to educate men and women “who are prepared in life and work to use their knowledge and their abilities to serve the common good.” Nominees may be U.S. citizens or nationals of other countries; no affiliation to Grinnell College is required. Entries are encouraged across a wide range of fields, including science, medicine, the environment, humanities, business, economics, education, law, public policy, social services, religion and ethics, as well as projects that cross these boundaries. The program will make a special effort to seek nominations of individuals who work in areas that may not have been traditionally viewed as directly connected to social justice, such as the arts and business.
The idea for The Grinnell College Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize originated with Grinnell’s new president, Raynard S. Kington, M.D., Ph.D., who began his tenure as the college’s thirteenth president in August, 2010. “I was attracted to Grinnell, in part, by the college’s longstanding belief in social justice as a core tenet of its liberal arts academic mission,” said Dr. Kington. “In creating this prize, we hope to encourage and recognize young individuals who embody our core values and organizations that share our commitment to change the world.”
Details of the program and its nomination process are available at www.grinnell.edu/socialjusticeprize. Each year, Grinnell will assemble a diverse panel of judges to evaluate the nominations and select winners who have demonstrated leadership, innovation, commitment, collaboration and extraordinary accomplishment in advancing social justice within their chosen fields. Judging criteria will also focus on how nominees embrace the values of a liberal arts education, including critical thinking, creative problem-solving, free inquiry and commitment to using and sharing knowledge for the common good.
“This prize represents a significant expansion of Grinnell’s educational philosophy,” said David White, chair of the board of trustees and Grinnell College class of 1990. “It extends the college’s mission beyond our campus and alumni community to individuals anywhere who believe, as we do, in the importance of social justice throughout the world.”
Nominations for the 2011 Prize are due by Feb. 1, with winners to be announced in May 2011, as the capstone of President Kington’s inaugural activities. In October of 2011, the college will hold a special symposium on campus featuring public lectures by prize recipients regarding their experiences and perspectives in shaping innovative social justice programs.
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.