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Former Grinnell College Librarian Christopher McKee to Receive Knox Medal

Christopher McKee, Samuel R. and Marie Rosenthal professor emeritus and former librarian of Grinnell College, has received the prestigious Commodore Dudley W. Knox Medal for Continuing Lifetime Achievement in the field of naval history.

The award, established in 2013 by the Naval Historical Foundation, honors an individual for a lifetime body of work in the field of U.S. naval history.

McKee is the 11th individual to receive this honor. The medal will be formally presented at the conclusion of the North American Society for Oceanic History conference to be held May 11-14 in Portland, Maine. Nominations for the 2017 Knox Medal may be submitted through the foundation’s website.  

Born in Brooklyn, New York, McKee graduated from the University of St. Thomas in Houston and completed his master's degree in library science at the University of Michigan. He joined the Grinnell College faculty in 1972, serving as a librarian, historian and educator.

Currently a scholar-in-residence at the Newberry Library in Chicago, McKee also held the Secretary of the Navy Research Chair at the Naval Historical Center from 1990 to 1991 and was a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow at the Newberry Library from 1978 to 1979.  

McKee has made major contributions to naval history with his three books. His first publication, "Edward Preble: A Naval Biography, 1761-1807," published first in 1972, was republished in 1996 by the Naval Institute Press as part of its "Classics of Naval Literature" series.

His second work, "A Gentlemanly and Honorable Profession: The Creation of the U.S. Naval Officer Corps, 1794-1815," was published in 1991. It received numerous honors, including the prestigious John Lyman Book Award from the North American Society for Oceanic History, and the Samuel Eliot Morison Award from the USS Constitution Museum. 

McKee then moved into the study of enlisted sailors, which led to his 2002 book, titled "Sober Men and True: Sailor Lives in the Royal Navy, 1900-1945."

He is working on a manuscript with the tentative title of "Ungentle Goodnights: Life in a Home for Elderly Naval Sailors and Marines, 1831-1895," a social history based on the lives of the first 541 enlisted beneficiaries admitted to the United States Naval Home in Philadelphia.

 

Voyage en Chine

Voyage en Chine is J. Castera’s 1805 translation of John Barrow’s original book, Voyage in China, published one year prior. The French edition is split into three volumes with an accompanying atlas to the text. Special Collections has only this atlas portion containing twenty-two plates. These plates contain a collection of charts and illustrations of Chinese culture and society from Barrow’s journey through the Qing Empire. Unfortunately, the copy has been damaged and is missing a handful of pages.

Barrow was private secretary to English Ambassador of China, Lord Macartney, during their 1792 envoy to China. During this time period, Great Britain was attempting to establish trade relations with China, which the envoy failed to procure during its trip. Another part of the envoy’s mission, however, was to get more information about the Chinese empire, including their military strength. Simultaneously a survey of Chinese culture, and an assessment of Chinese capabilities, Voyage en Chine represents the deep fascination and suspicion Westerners held for the Far East, prior to imperialistic war campaigns that took place later on in the 1800s — these campaigns include the Opium Wars pursued by Great Britain during the 1840s and 1850s.

Voyage en Chine begins with illustrations of a rice mill, a handful of Chinese characters, and a depiction of Qing currency. A variety of instruments and even musical scores are also recorded. This book contains depictions of Chinese society and culture, but it also catalogues Chinese artillery weapons and architecture. It is regrettable that the text volumes are not available, but the detailed plates still indicate the seriousness with which these studies of the East were conducted.

We encourage anyone with an interest to drop by Special Collections and take a look at this book in person.  Special Collections and Archives is open to the public 1:30-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and mornings by appointment.

Webster Earns Goldwater Honorable Mention

Lillian Webster ’17Lillian Webster ’17 has received an honorable mention from the prestigious Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program. Majoring in mathematics and statistics, Webster is one of 256 honorable mentions, chosen from 1,150 applicants nationwide.

For her application, Webster, a resident of University City, Missouri, submitted a paper titled "Subword Complexes in Coexeter Groups." Last summer, she completed a Research Experience for Undergraduates focusing on algebraic combinatorics at the University of Minnesota, and her research resulted in a talk at the Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics in January 2016.

"Lillian has amazing creative insight, and is equally adept at working with both abstract concepts and detailed technical arguments," said Joseph Mileti, associate professor of mathematics at Grinnell. "She also communicates her ideas with a clarity and elegance rivaling most graduate students."

An active member of the Grinnell community, Webster is also a student in the Grinnell Careers in Education Professions Program. She has stage managed several productions for Dance Ensemble/ACTivate, including "Snow White Retracted" and "Once Upon a Time Splintered." In addition, she is a mentor for advanced mathematics courses. Webster spent the fall 2015 semester in Hungary as a participant in the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics program.

After graduating from Grinnell in May 2017, Webster plans to pursue a Ph.D. in mathematics, focusing on either algebra or combinatorics, and go on to teach at a college or university.

Congress established the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship Program to encourage excellence in science and mathematics for American undergraduate students with excellent academic records and outstanding potential. Winners receive up to $7,500 toward tuition and other expenses for the academic year. Grinnell College students are frequent recipients of Goldwater honors, with six students being named Goldwater Scholars and six students receiving honorable mentions since 2010.

Chemistry Alumnus in the Classroom

Nathaniel Rosi '99 lectured in the Department of Chemistry thanks to the Alumni in the Classroom program. Rosi's visit included two days with Professor of chemistry Martin Minelli's CHM-423 Advanced Inorganic Chemistry course, lunch with the CHM-423 students, dinner with chemistry faculty, a presentation during the weekly chemistry seminar, and a side trip to Pella and the Neil Smith Wildlife Preserve. During class, Rosi showed a crystal structure of one of his large clusters, which was best viewed with 3D glasses.

Nathaniel Rosi '99 in front of a large sundial and yellow tulips in Pella, IA.

Rosi is professor of chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh, where his research focuses on developing methods for controlling the structure and function of nanoscale materials. His seminar talk was titled "Building Structural and Functional Heterogeneity into Mesoporous Metal-Organic Frameworks."

New Interim Director of Campus Safety and Security

Scott KinnieScott Kinnie, who served 36 years in campus security at Kean University in Union and Hillside, New Jersey, has joined Grinnell College as interim director of Campus Safety and Security.

He is leading Grinnell’s operations while Steve Briscoe, director of campus safety and security, is on extended medical leave. Briscoe joined Grinnell College 18 years ago as the College’s first director of security. He developed the campus safety and security operation as it transitioned from a “night watchman” in Facilities Management into the comprehensive department we see today.

“We are thrilled to welcome Scott Kinnie to the Student Affairs team for this interim period,” says Andrea Conner, associate vice president of student affairs at Grinnell College. ”Scott’s 36 years of experience at Kean University in New Jersey – and especially his increasing level of responsibility and leadership over the years at Kean – show that he was trusted to lead and advance their department.

“His expertise in higher education safety and security, Clery Act compliance, threat assessment and emergency management suit him to help us begin the process of making advances and modernizations in Grinnell’s campus safety and security operation,” she adds. “Even in Scott’s first few weeks he’s shown himself to be a valuable addition to our visioning and strategic planning process.”

“I’m grateful to have this great opportunity to help Grinnell College build up its campus safety and security operations,” Kinnie said. “We’re looking at professionalizing the dispatch function, upgrading the radio communications system, and computerizing the records management system.

“We also hope to add officers over the next 1 to 3 years and to provide all officers with more high-level training in areas such as investigations, first aid, and report writing. In addition, we will be encouraging our officers interact more with students.”

Kinnie, who holds a bachelor’s degree in human services from Thomas Edison State College, began his career with Kean University Police as a detective, police officer. He was promoted to sergeant and then lieutenant of the investigations unit before serving as acting chief of police and director of public safety.

He retired from Kean in 2014 as deputy chief, operations lieutenant and executive officer. In that role, he directly supervised operational and administrative lieutenants, emergency medical service, fire safety and environmental health offices, and parking services. He was responsible for a staff of 62 sworn and nonsworn personnel. 

He went on to design and deliver active shooter training and tabletop exercises for colleges and universities in New Jersey. He also became project manager and senior consultant for a consulting firm specializing in creating a “best-in-class” campus security strategy for institutions of higher education.

May 17 Libraries Study Break w/the G-Tones

Grinnell College Libraries invites you to join us at Burling for a quick break from studying with milk, homemade cookies, and student performers!

Study breaks are at 9 p.m. on Monday, May 16, and Tuesday, May 17, in Burling Lounge. The improv group Ritalin Test Squad will perform on Monday, and the a capella group Grinnell College G-Tones will sing on Tuesday.

Cookies will also be delivered to Kistle Science Library.

Co-spSGA logoonsored by the Student Government Association.





 

May 16 Libraries Study Break w/Ritalin Test Squad

Grinnell College Libraries invites you to join us at Burling for a quick break from studying with milk, homemade cookies, and student performers!

Study breaks are at 9 p.m. on Monday, May 16, and Tuesday, May 17, in Burling Lounge. The improv group Ritalin Test Squad will perform on Monday, and the a capella group Grinnell College G-Tones will sing on Tuesday.

Cookies will also be delivered to Kistle Science Library.

SGA logoCo-sponsored by the Student Government Association.

Coach Hurley Wins National Award

Erin Hurley has led the Pioneers to plenty of success as the Grinnell College swimming and diving coach.

Her performance has not gone unnoticed on the national scene, as Hurley received one of six major awards from the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) at its annual banquet May 5 in Washington, D.C. More impressive is the fact awards at the banquet are rarely presented to coaches at the NCAA Division III level.

Hurley received the Richard E. Steadman Award, which is presented to a coach who, in the opinion of the CSCAA, has done the most to spread happiness in Coach Steadman’s sport. Steadman’s accomplishments include coaching several national swimming and diving champions and serving on the U.S. Olympic Diving Committee for 16 years.

“I am extremely grateful to be receiving this award,” says Hurley. “I want to thank the CSCAA and its members who work tirelessly to help promote the sport of swimming in an inclusive and student experience-enhancing way. Working at Grinnell College, where the athletic experience is closely tied to the philosophy of the liberal arts, creates a coaching and teaching environment that encourages the growth and development of our student-athletes and the joy of their athletic involvement. It’s wonderful to have the CSCAA recognize the work we are doing at Grinnell to foster these ideals.”

Hurley just completed her 21st season as Grinnell’s coach. Also a faculty member, she teaches swimming and triathlon plus is the senior woman administrator for the College’s athletic department.

Her programs have won 29 Midwest Conference titles over the years. She has won 14 league Coach of the Year honors and produced multiple All-Americans, including a national record-holder.

“We are extremely excited for Erin to be honored by her peers with this award,” says Greg Wallace, director of Athletics and Recreation. “Recognition by fellow coaches is one of the highest honors a coach can receive in any sport. Coach Hurley has been tremendously successful with both the women’s and men’s programs at Grinnell College for 21 years. I offer my congratulations.”

Praise From Student-Athletes

Hurley’s efforts are also lauded by the student-athletes in her program.

“Erin has an amazing ability to push you past your limits and make you excel,” says Joshua Tibatemwa ’19. “She’ll then pretend she had nothing to do with your success, although that’s anything but the case.”

“Coach Erin has had an incredibly positive and meaningful influence on my development as a young adult at Grinnell College,” adds Maddy Pesch ’16. She has enhanced my performance as a swimmer over the past four years with her expert knowledge of the sport’s technique and training. As a coach, she creates an inclusive, welcoming and diverse environment that makes each athlete feel valued as a part of the team.

“Coach Erin has also made a lasting impact on my life for the ways she has been a role model to me outside of the pool,” Pesch continues. “At a rigorous academic institution like Grinnell, she shows academic support for her student-athletes, going above and beyond to help each swimmer/diver not only succeed in his or her classes, but also pursue summer job and post-grad opportunities. She takes the time to get to know each athlete as an individual, making an effort to help each student achieve personal goals in the pool, in the classroom and in other extra-curricular activities. I aspire to use these compassionate leadership skills that Erin models as I, too, move forward in my own career path.”

Last Make/Shift Exhibition for Spring 2016

Grinnell College studio art students will present their art and give short artist talks at free, public events throughout May in the Make/Shift Space at 928 Main St., Grinnell.

The exhibition "Formulations," which includes new artwork from Grinnell College studio art classes, will open at 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 11, in the Make/Shift Space. It will feature works in various mediums, including collages, 3D printing objects, drawings, sculptures, and more:

  • Color Construction by Introduction to the Studio students and new work by Print Media students, taught by Matthew Kluber, associate professor of art
  • Collages from Mixing Forms, taught by Andrew Kaufman, associate professor of art
  • 3D Printing Objects from Introduction to Sculpture, taught by Jeremy Chen, assistant professor of art
  • Drawings from Introduction to Drawing, taught by Chen

Also on May 11 — the opening day of "Formulations " — the Make/Shift Space will host "140 Seconds," featuring 13 fast-paced artist talks, starting at 7 p.m. Grinnell College students enrolled in a site-specific studio art seminar taught by Associate Professor of Art Lee Emma Running will each give a 140-second artist talk accompanied by six images of their choice.

The last Make/Shift Space exhibition of the semester, "Beautiful Sunset," will open from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 19. The exhibition will feature artwork by graduating seniors. The range of work includes painting, drawing, print media, sculpture, installation, video, and performance. Most of these works will be on display through Tuesday, May 24.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations and Events.

All Hands on Deck

The exhibition “All Hands on Deck,” opening Friday, May  13, 2016, will feature recent acquisitions to the Faulconer Gallery, Grinnell College Art Collection.

The exhibition takes its name from a series of seven powerful prints created by St. Louis-based artist Damon Davis in response to events in Ferguson, Missouri, and elsewhere.

The prints depict the raised hands of all kinds of individuals — old and young, black, white, and brown — inspiring others to rise up.

““It is crucial to comprehend that Damon Davis’s work is not merely inspired by the Ferguson uprising, but a part of it, and of its effect on the arc toward justice,” says Dan Strong, associate director of Faulconer Gallery.

“The hands in ‘All Hands on Deck,’ hard-edged against a stark background, appear from the perspective not of the oppressor, but of the demonstrator,” Strong added. “Photographed by Davis, scanned and commercially printed at Wildwood Press in St. Louis, these hands first proliferated as street art on the boarded-up storefronts of West Florissant in November 2014, to show solidarity with the people of Ferguson.”

The Faulconer Gallery acquired the prints for its permanent collection in honor of the late Vernon E. Faulconer ’61 graduate and life trustee of the College who was best known as founder of the Faulconer Gallery, along with his wife, Amy Hamamoto Faulconer ’59.

The “All Hands on Deck” exhibition also highlights other recent additions to the Grinnell College Art Collection:   

  • Seven large drawings made from the carbon of candle smoke by South African artist Diane Victor, who created the drawings while in residence at Grinnell in 2011
  • Prints from the “Chinese Library” series by Chinese artist Xie Xiaoze, who holds a named chair at Stanford University
  • The Lenny Seidenman Collection of late 19th-century French prints and posters, including 10 works by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec

The exhibition will run through Saturday, June 19, in Faulconer Gallery at the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, 1108 Park St., Grinnell.

Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week, and admission is free. The Gallery will be closed on Memorial Day.

 Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Bucksbaum Center for the Arts has accessible parking in the lot behind the building north of Sixth Avenue. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations and Events.