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Our History


Ten days before Commencement, a massive “cyclone” (a tornado) touches down in Grinnell, killing 39 people (including two students) and destroying all of the College's buildings. The College yearbook is later named for this event.

George Augustus Gates, 38-year-old pastor from New Jersey, is chosen by the trustees to lead the College. During Gates’ administration, Grinnell becomes a pioneering advocate of the Social Gospel movement.


Mears Cottage, the first women’s dormitory on campus, is built and named for Mary Grinnell Mears, an 1881 graduate, wife of David O. Mears, and daughter of the town’s founder, J.B. Grinnell.