Two traditions bookend student life at Grinnell. 

Two students open the envelopes that hold their Grinnell MedallionsThe day before classes begin, the entire class of 2019 will gather in Herrick Chapel, where alumni will welcome them into the Grinnell community; the next time these students will gather as a whole class will be to celebrate their commencement. 

At the aptly named Medallion Ceremony, each new student receives a silver medallion engraved with their class year.

In 1846, James Jeremiah Hill, a member of the Iowa Band, laid a silver dollar on the table. He announced the coin would be the cornerstone of a new college—the first dollar in its treasury. That act laid the foundation for the College. The medallions students receive symbolize the care more than 150 years of Grinnellians have taken to continue the work begun that day.

Four years later, the class of 2019 will gather with friends and family to celebrate its Commencement. With degrees in hand, the new graduates will head off on their next big adventure.

And later, some of them will return to welcome a new generation with medallions of their own.

As Grinnell’s Student Alumni Council tells students, “Years from now, when you hold your medallion, remember you belong to a unique community—you are a Grinnellian.”

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