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Our History

Burling Library is dedicated to Lucy B. Burling, a matriarch from Eldora, Iowa, and mother of three Grinnell alumni. She died in 1936. The library is built with $1.2 million in gifts from the entire Grinnell Community. Renovations in the ’80s would result in what Rolling Stone called the “comfiest” library in the country.

Howard Bowen becomes the seventh president of the college. A nationally recognized leader in American higher education, Bowen wrote many books on important aspects of education. When the Hall of Science is named in his honor in 1989, Grinnell President George Drake says: “I can think of few people who have done as much as Howard Bowen to advance...

The college establishes the Program in Practical Political Education, one of Grinnell’s largest and most successful extracurricular programs in the 1960s. Visitors under the program include U.S. Sens. Eugene McCarthy, Barry Goldwater, and Hubert Humphrey, and former presidents Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower.