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Wadzanai Motsi ’12 awarded Watson Fellowship

Friday, Mar. 16, 2012 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

Grinnell, IA

Grinnell College senior Wadzanai Motsi has been awarded a prestigious Watson Fellowship for one year of independent study and travel abroad. Motsi, an independent major in international relations from Zimbabwe, is one of only 40 students nationwide to receive the $25,000 fellowship from the Thomas J. Watson Foundation.

Motsi plans to use the Watson Fellowship to learn about the motivation for political activism among students and youth in Tunisia, Ghana, the Czech Republic, and Cambodia.

“My objective is to attend student union meetings and work with youth organizations as these countries gear up for national elections,” Motsi said. “I plan to examine why young people are politically active and why they choose specific avenues to express their views.”

At Grinnell, Motsi has served as vice-president of the student government association, a member of the women’s varsity tennis team, and led a service trip to Nashville, Tenn. She hopes to return to Africa following her Watson year.

The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship Program offers college graduates of unusual promise a year of independent exploration and travel outside of the U.S. to foster effective participation in the world community. Within the past 10 years, 18 Grinnell students have won Watson Fellowships.

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.


Service projects benefit from alumni volunteerism, endowed awards programs

Tuesday, Jun. 5, 2012 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

Four Grinnell College alumni were recognized during the recent Alumni Reunion Weekend for their involvement in service organizations— two received Joseph F. Wall Alumni Service Awards of $25,000 each for service projects in their selected non-profit organizations, and two received Lori Ann Schwab Alumni Grants for service organizations in their home communities.

The Wall Alumni Service Awards are named for the late Joseph F. Wall, a Grinnell College alumnus and long-time professor of history who inspired an ideal of social responsibility in his students. The Wall Alumni Service Awards are open to all Grinnell graduates who engage in service projects, programs and organizations dedicated to improving the lives of others. The 2012 Wall Alumni Service Award winners are:


The Schwab Alumni Grants are named for the late Lori Ann Schwab who died while an arts student at Grinnell in 1994. The $1,500 grants are open to Grinnell graduates from 1992 to 1998 who are staff members or volunteers in non-profit service organizations and public schools. The 2012 winners are:

Chase Strangio ’04Chase Strangio, a 2004 Grinnell graduate from Jackson Heights, N.Y., who developed the Lorena Borjas Community Fund to provide legal, financial and logistical support to low-income LGBTQ immigrants in New York City. Nora Bloch ’92Nora Bloch, a 1992 graduate of Grinnell from Jamaica Plain, Mass., volunteers at the Rafael Hernandez Two-Way Bilingual School in Boston, where she assists and promotes fine arts instruction.

Amy Smith ’95Amy Smith, a 1995 Grinnell graduate from San Francisco, works with Bay Area organizations to assist incarcerated individuals at San Quentin State Prison in their transition to release.


Kathy Hansen Waddell ’96Kathy Hansen Waddell, a 1996 Grinnell graduate from Edmond, Okla., supports the Oklahoma City YWCA Hand in Hand Learning Center that provides trauma services to women and children who are victims of domestic violence.

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.

Advisory: Social Entrepreneurs group finalist in White House competition

Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

The Social Entrepreneurs of Grinnell (SEG), a student-run nonprofit microfinance lending organization at Grinnell College, is one of 15 finalists in the White House “Campus Champions of Change Challenge.”

SEG was chosen from more than 1,400 submissions and is the only small college finalist and the only from Iowa. The Campus Champions of Change initiative highlights innovative ideas on college campuses across the country and aims to inspire others to get involved in their communities.

In its five years of operation, SEG has expanded from providing international loans in remote communities to also working to improve conditions in local communities. The microfinance organization has loaned more than $37,000 to 44 countries, with $13,000 going to 25 individuals in the Grinnell area.

The project selected for the competition—SEG’s Local Loans Project—provides emergency, no-interest microloans to individuals for medical expenses, automobile repairs, education, and repayment of high-interest loans from payday loan sharks.

Voting for the Challenge continues until Sat., Mar. 3 at 11:59 p.m. EST. The top five finalists will be invited to an event at the White House, will be featured on mtvU and MTV Act, and the overall winner will host an episode of mtvU’s signature program, “The Dean’s List.”

To speak to a SEG student coordinator, please contact Cindy Deppe, communications, deppec@grinnell.edu, 641-269-4834.


Adult Community Exploration Series (ACES) offered by faculty this summer

Thursday, May. 26, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA - Grinnell College will offer the Adult Community Exploration Series (ACES) throughout the summer with courses taught by faculty in anthropology, biology and French. The free courses, co-sponsored by the Community Education Council and Grinnell College, will be held on Wednesday mornings from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in the Pioneer Room of the college's Old Glove Factory, located at 733 Broad Street in Grinnell. Registration is requested to assist instructors in preparing for class needs. To register, send email to calendar@grinnell.edu, or call 641-269-3178.

Courses for summer 2011 include:

“Americans in Paris: Through the Looking Glass”

June 15, 22

Taught by Jan Gross, professor of French, and Dan Gross, director of the Alternate Language Study Option (ALSO) Program

As an international meeting place for revolutionary and artistic movements, and a refuge from racial, gender and political barriers, Paris has been many things to many Americans. This course will examine the myths and realities associated with the City of Light through literary readings, films, memoirs, essays and sites of American interest.

Jan and Dan Gross have been regular visitors to Paris for more than 40 years. Jan, who is Seth Richards Professor in Modern Languages, has taught French at Grinnell since 1977. Her area of research is contemporary performance and how theatre expresses identity. She taught a tutorial for first-year students on the ACES topic. Dan specializes in language self-instruction and pedagogy. He created the college’s self-instructional ALSO program and serves as an officer of the National Association of Self-Instructional Language Programs.

“Vaccinations and Society”

June 29, July 6

Taught by Shannon Hinsa-Leasure, assistant professor of biology

Class participants will discuss many aspects of vaccinations, including the discovery of vaccines, compliance and non-compliance with recommended guidelines, and the responsibility to provide effective low-cost vaccines to the world. Discussions will include how race, gender and religion influence choices.

Shannon Hinsa-Leasure holds a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from Dartmouth Medical School. Her research investigates traits important for bacterial survival in the extreme environment of the Siberian permafrost; specifically, she examines the genes necessary for bacteria to attach to surfaces and form biofilms under a variety of environmental conditions.

“Rethinking Local History for the Sake of a Local Future”

July 13, 20

Taught by Jon Andelson, professor of anthropology and director, Center for Prairie Studies Small-town Iowa has a past that deserves to be preserved and remembered. But does small-town Iowa have a future? What will the future be? Does the past we remember have anything to do with the future we create? The class will explore these questions while sharing and rethinking local history.

Jon Andelson, Rosenfield Professor of Social Science, studies intentional communities, the relationship between humans and nature, sustainability, agriculture and religion. He is currently working on a book about the Amana culture and history. Jon co-founded the Grinnell Area Local Foods Alliance, served on the Imagine Grinnell board, and serves on the board of Grinnell-Newburg Educational Excellence.

“The French Revolution: History and Present-day Consequences”

July 27, Aug. 3

Taught by David Harrison, associate professor of French, and director, Center for International Studies This class will explore how religion, democracy, elitism and state authority emerged during the French Revolution and Enlightenment. Harrison will lead the class in discussion of how these ideas apply and are contested in contemporary France.

David Harrison teaches French and the literature and culture of the 17th and 18th centuries. He has published scholarly articles on French writers of these periods and is currently researching the 17th century French novel. As director of the Center for International Studies, he oversees initiatives to increase the global dimensions of student and faculty work.


Rosenfield Program to sponsor global financial crisis symposium Feb. 21-23

Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA - Grinnell College’s Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations and Human Rights will sponsor a Feb. 21-23 symposium on the global financial crisis with professionals from the Federal Reserve, Standard & Poor’s, the Washington Post, and academia.

Sarah Purcell, director of the Rosenfield Program, said the symposium topic continues to be of great interest and concern, “as our students look for jobs, in an election year, and as the intensity evolves from day to day.

“The global finance issue touches all three of our program areas―public affairs, international relations, and human rights―, and we are very fortunate to have experts joining us who can address these from their vantage point in the financial world,” Purcell added, noting that one of the key speakers is Grinnell graduate John Chambers who chairs the S&P’s sovereign rating committee.

The symposium will include the following free, public events to be held in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center on the Grinnell campus:

• Tues., Feb. 21, 8 p.m.: John Chambers, managing director of Standard & Poor’s and a 1977 Grinnell graduate, will reflect on the crisis in the European Union with ”Dislocations in the Euroarea. A fiscal or external problem?”

• Wed., Feb. 22, 4:15 p.m.: “Picking Up (and Rearranging) the Pieces: Global Financial Governance After the Great Recession,” will be the focus of a talk by Mark Copelovitch, assistant professor of political science and public affairs at the University of Wisconsin. Copelovitch teaches courses about the international political economy, and in 2010 published a book on the International Monetary Fund.

• Wed., Feb. 22, 8 p.m.: A screening of “Inside Job,” an Academy Award-winning documentary about the 2008 global economic crisis with interviews from financial insiders in the U.S., China, England, France, Iceland, and Singapore, will be co-sponsored by the campus Cultural Films Committee.

• Thurs., Feb. 23, 11 a.m.: Washington Post business and economics columnist Steven Pearlstein will deliver the Scholars’ Convocation on “The Crisis is Over. Now Comes the Hard Part.” Pearlstein received the Pulitzer Prize in 2008 for commentary that anticipated and interpreted the recession. He is also the Clarence J. Robinson Professor of Public and International Affairs at George Mason University.

• Thurs., Feb. 23, 4:15 p.m.: Federal Reserve economist Elizabeth Laderman will close the symposium with “The Financial Crisis and Lending in Low-Income Neighborhoods.” Laderman, a 1980 Grinnell graduate, works for the Federal Reserve’s San Francisco region.

For more information about the symposium, contact Sarah Purcell,purcelsj@grinnell.edu, 641-269-3091. Grinnell welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Information on parking and accessibility is available on the college website. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations at 641-269-3235 or calendar@grinnell.edu.

"Listening, Learning, Leading on the Global Stage" by World Food Prize lecturer Jo Luck

Monday, Sep. 26, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA - 2010 World Food Prize laureate Jo Luck, president of Heifer International, will deliver a public lecture at Grinnell College on Wed., Oct. 12 about her experiences in leading the world hunger assistance organization. Her lecture, “Listening, Learning, Leading on the Global Stage,” will be held at 5:30 p.m. in Harris Center Cinema on the Grinnell campus. A light buffet dinner will precede in the Harris Center atrium. At 6:30 p.m., following the lecture, there will be a public reception in the atrium with music by Too Many Strings Band.

Luck served as president and CEO of Heifer International from 1992 to 2010, and director of international programs from 1989 to 1992. Under her leadership, the organization, which brings food- and incoming-producing livestock to impoverished families, grew from 20,000 to 500,000 supporters and expanded scope of efforts throughout Africa, the Americas, Asia and the South Pacific, and Central and Eastern Europe.

Grinnell has hosted World Food Prize lecturers for more than six years as part of a World Food Prize outreach program at Iowa educational institutions during the week the prize is awarded. The 2011 World Food Prize will be awarded at the state capitol Oct. 13 to John Agyekum Kufuor, former president of Ghana, and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, former president of Brazil, who led significant hunger and poverty reduction efforts in their respective countries.

Luck’s lecture is sponsored by the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights. Harris Center is located at 1114 10th Ave. on the Grinnell campus. For more information about the Rosenfield Program, contact Sarah Purcell, purcelsj@grinnell.edu, 641-269-3091. Grinnell welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Information on parking and accessibility is available on the college website. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations at 641-269-3235 or calendar@grinnell.edu.


"Live in HD" bringing the Metropolitan Opera to Harris Center

Friday, Feb. 10, 2012 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA - Grinnell College has partnered with New York City’s Metropolitan Opera to offer the final three shows of the 2011-12 season “Live in HD” at the Harris Center Cinema on the Grinnell campus. Each show will be preceded by a half-hour opera talk by Jennifer Williams Brown, associate professor of music at Grinnell.

On Sat., Feb. 25, the Italian opera “Ernani,” composed by Giuseppe Verdi, will be presented with English subtitles. Audience members should plan to arrive by 11:30 a.m. for the opera talk, with the performance to begin at noon.

The French opera “Manon,” composed by Jules Massenet, will be performed on Sat., Apr. 7. Audience members should arrive by 10:30 a.m. for the opera talk, with the English-subtitled performance to begin at 11 a.m.

Verdi’s “La Traviata” will be performed on Sat., Apr. 14 at noon, with the opera talk to begin at 11:30 a.m. The opera will be sung in Italian with English subtitles.

Synopses of the shows are available at http://www.metoperafamily.org/metopera/history/stories/. Details for the 2012-13 “Live in HD” season will be announced at a later date.

Tickets are required for each performance and can be purchased at the Harris Center on the day of the show: $15 for adults, $10 for students. Tickets will also be on sale at the Pioneer Bookshop in downtown Grinnell, beginning Feb. 17. For ticket questions, call 641-269-3235.

Harris Center is located at 1114 10th Ave., with available parking east of the center on 10th Ave. Grinnell welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Information on parking and accessibility is available on the college website. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations at 641-269-3235 or calendar@grinnell.edu.


World-renowned bass-baritone Simon Estes delivers Scholars' Convocation

Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA - World-renowned opera star and Iowa native Simon Estes will present and perform at Grinnell College during a two-day residency, Nov. 2-3. The internationally known bass-baritone will perform on Wed., Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m. in Herrick Chapel on the Grinnell campus. The Grinnell Singers, Grinnell Oratorio Society and the Grinnell High School choir will also perform during the concert, which is part of the college’s Public Events series.

On Thurs., Nov. 3, Estes will present “Voice, Values and Vision” during a Scholars’ Convocation at 11 a.m. in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center.

Estes enjoys the acclaim of audiences and critics around the globe, having performed with major international opera companies, at the White House for three Presidents, and at ceremonies honoring Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. He also maintains strong Iowa ties as distinguished artist-in-residence at Iowa State University and as distinguished professor and artist-in-residence at Wartburg College. In 2001, he established the Simon Estes Iowa Educational Foundation to provide positive minority role model programs and scholarships for disadvantaged Iowa youth.

The Centerville, Iowa, native was trained at The Juilliard School of Music and made his professional opera debut in Berlin in 1965. His recording credits include works on the Auvidis, Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, Deutsche Schallplatten, EMI, Phillips Classics and Sony Classical labels.

Tickets are required for the Nov. 2 Herrick Chapel performance and may be obtained at the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts box office, beginning Mon., Oct. 31, noon-5 p.m. Limited tickets are also available from the Pioneer Bookshop in downtown Grinnell. For ticket questions, call 641-269-3101 or go to http://www.grinnell.edu/car/confops/publicevents/.

Estes’ visit to Grinnell is part of the college’s ongoing Scholars’ Convocation and Public Events series. Grinnell welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Information on parking and accessibility is available on the college website. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations at 641-269-3235 or calendar@grinnell.edu.


Buddhist studies scholar will be annual Gates Lecturer, convocation speaker

Monday, Oct. 3, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

Buddhist studies scholar Jose Cabezon will deliver a Scholars’ Convocation lecture on “Just Rule: What We Can Learn from Ancient Buddhist Political Ethics,” Thurs., Oct. 13 at 11 a.m. in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center on the Grinnell College campus.

Cabezon is the Dalai Lama Professor of Tibetan Buddhism and chair of the religious studies department at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Through his writing and speaking engagements, Cabezon works to develop an understanding of the rich relationship between ancient Buddhist texts and contemporary life. In his Grinnell lecture, he will discuss Buddhist philosophies about what it means to govern society in a just way.

Cabezon will also deliver Grinnell’s annual Gates Lecture on Wed., Oct. 12, at 8 p.m. in Room 101 of the Rosenfield Center. His topic, “Buddhist Sexual Ethics: Ancient Texts, Modern Negotiations,” will explore the complex relationship between classical sources and contemporary attitudes about sexuality. The Gates Lecture program was established in memory of the college’s second president, George Gates, and annually brings to campus “the very best of modern thought.”

Grinnell welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Information on parking and accessibility is available on the college website. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations at 641-269-3235 or calendar@grinnell.edu.

In Memoriam: Former Grinnell College President A. Richard Turner

Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 11:30 am


Former Grinnell College President A. Richard Turner died on Friday, Sept. 9, 2011, at the age of 79, following a battle with cancer. He was president of Grinnell College from 1975 to 1979. His inaugural address recommitted the College to “an ongoing examination of the nature of truth,” “flexibility of spirit,” and the development of “men and women who … are broad-gauged enough to adjust to changing circumstances while maintaining a humane perspective.”

These words might describe Turner’s life, calling, and character as well. Turner was born in New Bedford, Mass. in 1932 and received bachelor’s, master of fine arts, and Ph.D. degrees from Princeton University. He was a Fulbright scholar; before coming to Grinnell, he was an instructor in fine arts at the University of Michigan, professor of art and archaeology at Princeton University, and dean of the faculty and professor of fine arts at Middlebury College. Following his Grinnell presidency, he finished his career at New York University, where he held a number of positions, including director of the Institute of Fine Arts, dean of the faculty of arts and sciences, professor of fine arts, director of the New York Institute of Humanities, and Paulette Goddard professor chair in arts and humanities.

Turner was a Leonardo da Vinci scholar, an expert on the Florentine Renaissance, and the author of a number of books, including Vision of Landscape in Renaissance Italy; Art of FlorenceInventing Leonardo;Renaissance Florence: The Invention of a New Art; and La Pietra: Florence, a Family, and a Villa.

He was very active in a number of organizations, serving on the board of directors of New Jersey Audubon Society and the Pinelands Preservation Alliance. He was a member of the College Art Association, the Century Association, Phi Beta Kappa, and Princeton Project 55.

Photography and birding were two of Turner’s greatest passions. He honed his skills as an amateur photographer over the years and was an avid bird watcher and devoted to the Cape May Bird Observatory, where he volunteered countless hours and made many friends.

In addition to his wife Jane of 56 years, he is survived by his sons, Louis of Minneapolis and David of Sarasota, Fla.; a sister, Betsy Turner of Newfoundland, Pa.; six grandchildren; and two stepgrandchildren.

A memorial for family and friends will be held on Oct. 22, 2011 from 2–4 p.m. at the Cape May Bird Observatory, 600 Route 47 North (Delsea Drive), Cape May Courthouse, N.J.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent in Turner’s name to New Jersey Audubon, 9 Hardscrabble Road, Bernardsville, NJ, 07924.

For further information or to send condolences, contact Spilker Funeral Home, Cape May, N.J.