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Exhibition of Nature Photographs

Owl perched on brown vegetation in a snowy field“Nature photography is my passion,” says Ken Saunders II, who retired from a long career with the College’s facilities management department in 2015.

“Looking at his photographs, one is compelled to add that nature photography is also his forte,” says Jon Andelson, professor of anthropology and director of the Center for Prairie Studies. “Ken’s striking photographs show us nature at its most beautiful. His favorite subjects are individual animals and plants, captured in their natural habitat at rest or in motion, with close-up or telephoto lens.”

Saunders took all of the photographs in this exhibit, titled “Portraits of Nature in Iowa,” within 40 miles of Grinnell. The exhibit will open Aug. 25 and run through Oct 15 in Burling Gallery on the lower level of Burling Library, 1111 Sixth Ave., Grinnell.

It may surprise some viewers that this diversity of wildlife can be found so close to our community, Andelson adds.  

It seems likely that Saunders would agree with Henry David Thoreau’s statement, “What’s the need of visiting far-off mountains and bogs if a half-hour’s walk will carry me into such wildness and novelty?” — though in fact he also photographs in other parts of the country, especially in the mountain west.

Saunders recalls getting his first camera — a Kodak 104 Instamatic, which retailed for $15.95 – when he was about 7 years old. Many years later he advanced to a 35mm film single-lens reflex camera, a Pentax, and then in 2003 began experimenting with digital photography.  He got his first digital single-lens reflex camera in 2006, a Nikon D200, and has been working in this vein ever since.

The Center for Prairie Studies and the Faulconer Gallery are co-sponsoring the exhibit of Saunders’ photography. An opening reception will take place at Burling Gallery) at 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2. Refreshments will be served.

Gallery hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.




Share the Joy of Choral Music

John RommereimStarting Monday, Aug. 29, the Grinnell Oratorio Society will begin rehearsals for a December performance of Handel’s “Messiah” with a professional orchestra and soloists. The chorus is open to all — Grinnell students, faculty, staff, and community members, and does not require an audition.

Rehearsals will be held from 7-9 p.m. Mondays at Sebring-Lewis Hall in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, 1108 Park St., Grinnell. The performance of the “Messiah” will start at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, in Sebring-Lewis Hall. For more information, email John Rommereim, Blanche Johnson Professor of Music at Grinnell College. 

“The Grinnell Oratorio Society provides a wonderful opportunity for area singers to rehearse and perform exciting music with others who are passionate about singing,” says Rommereim, director of the group.

Originally founded in 1901, the Grinnell Oratorio Society was, in the early decades of the 20th Century, one of Iowa’s most auspicious musical institutions. Edward Scheve (1865-1924), a composer of symphonies, concertos, oratorios and chamber music, established the choir as an outgrowth of the music conservatory that was then part of Grinnell College.

In 2010, the Grinnell Community Chorus was renamed the Grinnell Oratorio Society as a way to draw attention to this proud history. The choir draws together students, faculty, and staff of the College, people from the town of Grinnell, and nearby communities such as Newton and Malcolm. 

Global Politics of Migration and Refuge

Symposium: Global Politics of Migration and Refuge

Co-sponsored by the John Chrystal Fund for Distinguished Foreign Visitors and the Institute for Global Engagement.

Tuesday, Sept. 6

4 p.m., Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101

Grinnell Faculty Panel

  • Leif Brottem, assistant professor of political science
  • David Campbell, professor of biology; Henry R. Luce Professor of Nations and the Global Environment
  • Xavier Escandell, associate professor of anthropology
  • Sharon Quinsaat, instructor in sociology
  • *moderated by David Cook-Martin, professor of sociology. asst. vice president for global education

5 p.m., Rosenfield Center, Room 101

Buffet Dinner

5:30 p.m., Rosenfield Center, Room 101

Recent Immigrants and Refugees in Iowa

*Sponsored by the Center for Prairie Studies

7 p.m., Rosenfield Center, Room 101

Shouldering the Refugee Burden: Jordan and the Global Refugee Crisis

Rawan Arar, Doctoral Candidate, Sociology, UC, San Diego; graduate student researcher at Center for Comparative Immigration Studies

Wednesday, Sept. 7

4 p.m., Rosenfield Center, Room 101

The New Drivers of Foreign Policy and International Relations: People on the Move

Kathleen Newland,  co-founder and senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute

7:30 p.m., Rosenfield Center, Room 101

Global Production of Migration and Displacement: Insights on the Meatpacking Industry in the Midwest

Faranak Miraftab, professor of urban and regional planning, University of Illinois

Thursday, Sept. 8

11 a.m., Rosenfield Center, Room 101

Scholars’ Convocation: From Undocumented to DACAmented: Understanding Legal Status in a New  Policy Context

Roberto Gonzales, assistant professor of education, Harvard University

4 p.m., Rosenfield Center, Room 101

Alumni Legal Perspectives

  • Charles Adkins-Blanch ’84, vice chairman, Board of Immigration Appeals, U.S. Dept. of Justice
  • Dree Collopy ’04, partner/attorney; Benach Collopy LLP
  • Deisy Del Real ’07, doctoral candidate, UCLA; invited doctoral researcher at the University of Buenos Aires
  • Jillian Kong-Sivert ’91, Law Office of Jillian Kong-Sivert, PLLC

Meet Our New Grinnell College Librarians

Mark Christel, Librarian of the CollegeMark Christel, Librarian of the College. Prior to coming to Grinnell, Mark worked as Humanities Librarian at Hope College, as Associate Director for Reader Services and Collections at Vassar College, and, for the past 8 years, as Library Director at the College of Wooster in Ohio. Mark holds Master’s degrees in library science from the University of Michigan and in English from Rutgers and a B.A in English with honors from the University of Wisconsin--Madison.


Liz Rodrigues, Humanities & Digital Scholarship LibrarianLiz Rodrigues, Digital Scholarship Librarian.  Liz returns to Grinnell as a library faculty member. During the 2008-2009 academic year she held a term appointment here as a reference and instruction librarian. Most recently, Liz served as a postdoctoral fellow in digital scholarship at Temple University.  She holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Michigan, with a Certificate in African American & Diaspora Studies; an M.A. in Library & Information Science, University of South Florida; an M.F.A. in Poetry from Florida Atlantic University; and a B.A. in English from Kenyon College. 


Rebecca Ciota, Discovery & Integrated Systems Librarian

Rebecca Ciota is Grinnell’s new Systems Librarian. Rebecca holds an M.S. from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Graduate School of Library and Information Science and a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Oberlin College.

Writers@Grinnell: Hai-Dang Phan '03 & Rick Barot

Award-winning poet, translator, and scholar, Hai-Dang Phan '03, along with award-winning poet Rick Barot, will read from their work and discuss writing on Thursday, Sept. 1 as part of the Writers@Grinnell series at Grinnell College. The event, which is free and open to the public, will start at 8:00 p.m in the Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 101.

In addition, they will lead a roundtable discussion, which is free and open to the public at 4:15 p.m. Sept. 1 in the Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 209.

Hai-Dang Phan photoHai-Dang Phan, born in Vietnam and raised in Wisconsin, is a poet, translator, and scholar who teaches courses in Ethnic American Literature and Creative Writing at Grinnell. His research interests include modern and contemporary American literature, race in American literature, war literature, reconciliation, modern and contemporary poetry in English, and translation studies. A former Thomas J. Watson Fellow, he received his B.A. in English from Grinnell College and his Ph.D. in Literary Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is completing his M.F.A. in Creative Writing (Poetry) from the University of Florida.

His poems and translations appear or are forthcoming in literary journals such as AnomalousAsymptoteBarrow StreetThe Brooklyn RailCerise PressDrunken BoatKartika ReviewLana TurnerNOÖ Journal, and RHINO. He has interned at Harper’s Magazine, and for five years co-curated FELIX, a quarterly series of new writing based in Madison. He is currently working on a number of critical and creative projects: a book manuscript entitled A Rumor of Redress: Literature, the Vietnam War, and the Politics of Reconciliation, a book-length translation of new and selected poems by the contemporary Vietnamese poet Phan Nhien Hao, and a collection of poetry tentatively entitled Small Wars.

Rick Barot photoRick Barot has published three books of poetry with Sarabande Books: The Darker Fall (2002), Want (2008), which was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and won the 2009 Grub Street Book Prize, and Chord (2015).  Chord received the UNT Rilke Prize, the PEN Open Book Award, and the Publishing Triangle's Thom Gunn Award.  It was also a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize. His poems and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including Poetry, The Paris Review, The New Republic, The New York Times Magazine, Tin House, The Kenyon Review, and Virginia Quarterly Review. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Artist Trust of Washington, the Civitella Ranieri, and Stanford University, where he was a Wallace E. Stegner Fellow and a Jones Lecturer. He lives in Tacoma, Washington and directs The Rainier Writing Workshop, the low-residency MFA program in creative writing at Pacific Lutheran University.  He is also the poetry editor for New England Review.  In 2016 he received a poetry fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation.


Middle and High School Students Learn Coding the Grinnell Way

Katrina Williams of Ames spent last week in Grinnell so that Vijay, her 13-year-old son, could participate in Grinnell College's first Coding for Social Good and Beyond summer day camp.

"When I learned that Vijay could spend a whole week learning coding at Grinnell, I seized the opportunity and signed him up," said Williams, an academic adviser in the aerospace engineering program at Iowa State University. "I'm just passionate about young people learning coding because coding is a way to put ideas into execution."

She and Vijay and his younger sister, who also wants to learn to code, stayed at the Carriage House to keep from traveling to Grinnell and back from Ames every day. Although Vijay wants to become a bestselling author instead of a computer scientist, he describes the camp as fun, adding that every day "You learn new stuff about computers and what you can do with them."

Filling a Gap in Iowa

Student holds up white t-shirt stitched with offset concentric circles and a 'tail'

Campers learned how to create an original digital design and then program a sewing machine to stitch it on a shirt. Carter Griego of Marshalltown proudly displays his shirt.

Iowa does not provide enough summer coding camp opportunities for students in middle schools, particularly for students underrepresented in computing careers, according to Narren Brown, associate director of Grinnell's Center for Teaching, Learning and Assessment.

Iowa's lack of camps for this age group is a concern at a time when the National Academy of Science has recommended that every American be "fluent in information technology" to be successful citizens.

To fill the gap, Professor of Computer Science Samuel A. Rebelsky and Brown proposed a summer coding camp as a three-year pilot project.

They applied for and secured $144,000 over three years to support the camp from the College's Innovation Fund. Some of the funds go to students from Grinnell College and area community colleges who developed the curriculum in collaboration with Grinnell faculty and Grinnell College's Center for Teaching, Learning and Assessment.

The camp received the 2016 Governor's STEM Advisory Council's Seal of Approval, which recognizes the program for increasing student interest and achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics in Iowa.

The College's support brought the camp fee down to $25 and provided paychecks for the Grinnell and community college students who also served as counselors and advisers for the campers. Students could apply to have the fee waived so that cost was not a barrier to attending camp.

Elizabeth Zak ’18 was one of the college students serving as a counselor. Zak is from Memphis, Tennessee, and has a double major in computer science and gender, women's and sexuality studies.

"This camp was a success," she says. "The college students learned a lot for the future and we believe the kids did as well. I hope that the campers' main takeaways were that coding is for everyone, and that even if they don't go into a career in computer science, they should should still learn how to code."

Focusing on Middle School Students

"We are working primarily with middle school students because this is a set of skills that they can and should develop at this age," Rebelsky says. "It's also an age in which they are figuring out what they enjoy and what they are good at. Over the long term, we hope that starting in middle school will impact groups of students who are traditionally underrepresented in computing."

Rebelsky maintains that learning to code empowers students, builds their skills in problem solving and gives them the excitement of creation.

"We hope that students take both hard and soft skills from this week of camp," he adds. "For example, they learn strategies for solving different kinds of problems and how to read and adapt existing programs. We also have the students work in pairs to build skills in collaboration and ask them to present their solutions to the class."

The campers worked on a series of projects, using the Processing programming language, designed at MIT as a language for artists. They say they especially enjoyed the challenge of writing programs to create their own album covers.

Besides concentrating on computers, the campers delved into many screen-free activities, such as scavenger hunts and a tour of the Faulconer Gallery, where they talked about how art can help people think differently. By the end of the week, campers were working collaboratively to create computer-generated artworks designed to address issues in society.

Coding for Social Good

Students and counselor talking to someone out of the picture, with multiple computers in foreground.

Grinnell College student and camp counselor Elizabeth Zak of Memphis, Tennessee, assists Dante Williams, left, and Hans Larsson of Grinnell.

Mezekerta Tesfay, 15, of Grinnell, and Newton resident Emma Lopez-Garcia, 11, dedicated their final project to raising awareness of the plight of endangered animals. "We decided to focus on elephants being hunted for their ivory tusks after we saw a piece at the Faulconer Gallery that describes how the melting of ice is endangering polar bears," Tesfay says.

"We found an online photo of a herd of elephants and used Processing to make the photo fade out to show elephants disappearing. We also learned to use motion so that the elephants would move across the screen when you pressed a certain key."

Tesfay says she assumed before going to camp that coding and computer science would be extremely hard — something she couldn't do herself.

"The things I did at camp were fun-based, rather than hard work," she says, "but I learned that problem solving is the key to coding correctly to get the results you want. I definitely want to do more work with coding."

Lopez-Garcia, Tesfay's partner on the elephant project, started coding before arriving at camp because she wants to get a head start on a career in animation. "I like how they explain the process of coding at camp and challenge you to try new things with it instead of just telling you what it is and what to do," she says.

Discovering the Power of Coding

Other students are equally enthusiastic about their experiences at camp.

"It combines learning and having fun at the same time," says Jessica Haines, 13, of Brooklyn. "I want to become a mechanical engineer and design rockets for NASA, so it's nice to learn about coding when I'm young so that I'll know how when I'm older."

"This camp helps you get started in coding and inspires you to learn more," adds Hans Larsson, 15, of Grinnell. "Even if you don't become a computer scientist, you've learned how to use computers better."

Rebelsky, Brown, and the research students will evaluate the outcomes of the camp so that lessons learned can be applied to enhance the program when it becomes a residential camp serving more middle school and high school students next summer.

Group wearing tshirts with This is what a Grinnell computer scientist looks like

Camp founders Samuel A. Rebelsky and Narren Brown (back row, first and third from the left) pose for a photo with 11 Grinnell College and community college students who wrote the curriculum and served as counselors for Coding for Social Good and Beyond.


Scholarship Enables Grinnell Senior to Study Indonesian

Mari HolmesMari Holmes ’17 has received a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship, enabling her to participate in a fully funded summer language immersion program in Malang, Indonesia.

Holmes, a gender, women's and sexuality studies major from Beaumont, Texas, is one of approximately 560 U.S. undergraduate and graduate students selected for this honor in 2016. The Critical Language Scholarship is a highly competitive, government-sponsored language immersion program designed to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering languages critical to the U.S. Department of State.

Recipients are spending seven to 10 weeks in intensive language institutions this summer in one of 13 countries to study Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Indonesian, Japanese, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Swahili, Turkish, or Urdu.

The Critical Language Scholarship gives Holmes an opportunity to go back to Indonesia, where she was born and raised.

"Because I haven't been back in more than a decade, I have lost the ability to communicate in my native tongue," Holmes said. "Thus, I am grateful that the CLS is providing me with the opportunity to reconnect with my cultural roots and formally relearn the language in my hometown of Malang. I hope that my studies in Indonesian will enable me to engage more with my research now as a Mellon Mays fellow and as a prospective anthropologist and scholar of Indonesian studies."

As a Mellon Mays fellow at Grinnell College, Holmes has studied the relationship between Indonesian nationalism and masculine memory after the 1965 massacres. She hopes to continue this research abroad. She is also the leader of the Asian-American Association on campus.

Holmes, who plans to graduate in May 2017, is the second Grinnell College student in two years to receive a Critical Language Scholarship.

Tracy PaLast year Tracy Pa ’15 accepted a Critical Language Scholarship that allowed her to participate in a fully funded language immersion program in Japan last summer.

Pa, who majored in sociology with a concentration in East Asian studies, studied Japanese in Hikone, Japan, a small city on the shore of Lake Biwa, Japan's largest lake.

"This scholarship challenged me to fully immerse myself in Japanese language and culture," Pa said. "I gained more confidence in my language ability and have test-proven results that I improved during this program."

Like Holmes, Pa was a Mellon Mays fellow during her time at Grinnell. Pa conducted research on the representation of the atomic bomb in American and Japanese children's literature as part of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program.

A former resident of San Francisco, Pa now serves as an assistant language teacher with the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program in Tokyo. The program promotes grassroots international exchange between Japan and other nations. She plans to pursue a doctoral degree in Japanese language and literature with a focus on modern Japanese literature.

The Critical Language Scholarship, a program of the U.S. Department of State, is a prestigious and highly competitive award that corroborates the strength of Grinnell's language instructors, off-campus study officers and scholarship staff—in addition to the talents of the awardees themselves.

Learn more about CLS and other exchange programs at the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Nature Photographer Ken Saunders II Exhibit Opens in Burling Gallery

Thursday, August 25, 2016 - 8:00am to Saturday, October 15, 2016 - 10:00pm
Burling Library


Exhibition: August 25 - October 15
Opening Reception: Friday, September 2, 4:00 p.m., Burling Gallery

“Nature photography is my passion,” says Ken Saunders II, who retired from a long career with the College’s Facilities Management in 2015.   Looking at his photographs, one is compelled to add that nature photography is also his forte.  Ken’s striking photographs show us nature at its most beautiful.  His favorite subjects are individual animals and plants, captured in their natural habitat at rest or in motion, with close-up or telephoto lens. 

All of the photographs in this exhibit, titled “Portraits of Nature in Iowa,” were taken within 40 miles of Grinnell.  It may surprise some viewers that this diversity of wildlife can be found so close to our community.   Ken could perhaps agree with Henry David Thoreau’s statement -- “What’s the need of visiting far-off mountains and bogs if a half-hour’s walk will carry me into such wildness and novelty?” -- though in fact he also photographs in other parts of the country, especially in the mountain west.

Ken recalls getting his first camera – a Kodak 104 Instamatic, which retailed for $15.95 – when he was about seven years old.  Many years later he advanced to a 35mm film single-lens reflex camera, a Pentax, and then in 2003 began experimenting with digital photography.  He got his first digital single-lens reflex camera in 2006, a Nikon D200, and has been working in this vein ever since.

The Center for Prairie Studies is pleased to co-sponsor this exhibit of Ken’s photography with Faulconer Gallery.  The exhibit is displayed in Burling Gallery and will run from August 25 to October 15.  An opening reception will take place at Burling Library Gallery (lower level) on Friday, September 2, at 4:00. 

Building Local Food Systems: Two Case Studies, California and Iowa

Wednesday, August 31, 2016 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Joe Rosenfield '25 Center Room 101


How do you create a local food system?  On August 31, in JRC 101, at 4:00 and 7:30 p.m., two speakers will share their experiences creating local food systems in two very different locations: the Bay Area of San Francisco and the Meskwaki Settlement in Tama County, Iowa. 

More and more people are interested in eating food raised near where they live.  It is fresher, tastes better, and is often more nutritious.  Because it is produced on a smaller scale, it is more likely to be raised using organic methods, which make it healthier.  Purchasing food grown near where you live also contributes more to the local economy than buying the same food from big retail grocers. 

But “buying local” can face challenges.  Is supply adequate to meet the demand?  How do consumers connect with farmers? Are the types of food being raised locally also the types that consumers want?  Is local food out of the price range of many consumers?  If locally raised food is normally available for only part of the year, can anything be done to lengthen the growing season or make the food available year-round?

Answers to many of these questions can be found through the creation of local food systems. Going beyond ad hoc relationships and even such worthy organizations as farmers markets, a local food system is a coordinated, self-consciously planned set of institutionalized relationships among farmers, consumers, businesses, and communities, structured in a way that maximizes the availability of affordable local food to members of a community. 

Jennifer Vazquez-Koster has been working on local food initiatives in Iowa for 10 years.  She is currently manager of the two-year old Meskwaki Food Sovereignty Initiative, an umbrella that encompasses three garden-farm operations at the Meskwaki Settlement in Tama County: a senior garden affiliated with the senior living center at the Settlement, a school garden, and Red Earth Gardens, a large-scale commercial organic operation that sells produce through a Tribally Supported Agriculture (TSA) program, a farm stand, and area grocery stores. The concept behind “food sovereignty” is for the Meskwaki to reclaim their food system from the national industrial food and agriculture system. 

Thomas Nelson ‘91 has been instrumental in advancing the local food system in the San Francisco Bay Area.  He launched a community-based social enterprise, Capay Valley Farm Shop, which connects 54 farms and ranches in the Capay Valley to Bay Area families and businesses, in the latter category focusing on tech companies, online grocery, and neighborhood businesses.  He is also a business advisor at Kitchen Table Advisors, a non-profit that works with beginning farmers to help them market their products.  He also serves on the board of California FarmLink, established in 1999, which has created a statewide program of economic development support for beginning, limited-resource, immigrant and other underserved farmers across the state.

Jennifer Vazquez-Koster will speak on “Beginning a Local Food System at the Meskwaki Settlement” at 4:00 p.m. and Thomas Nelson will speak on "Community-based Strategies to Scale Up Sustainable Food Systems" at 7:30 p.m.  Both presentations are in Joe Rosenfield Center ’25 101.  Refreshments will be served.  Sponsored by the Grinnell College Center for Prairie Studies.

Commencement 2016

It’s been a beautiful day for the 170th Commencement of Grinnell College, celebrating the class of 2016.

Commencement exercises began at 10 a.m. at the amphitheater on Central Campus, and are now complete.

The ceremony featured an address by internationally renowned novelist Zadie Smith and the awarding of honorary degrees.

Join us as we celebrate our newest graduates. You can:

  • See a copy of the live stream on YouTube. (Higher quality video will be available later.)
  • Follow and join the conversation on Twitter: @GrinnellCollege #Grinnell2016
  • Share your photos on Instagram: #GrinnellCollege or #Grinnell2016
  • Follow us on Facebook and YouTube for highlights from the day.
  • Check out the story on Snapchat: username grinnellcollege

About Zadie Smith

Zadie SmithNovelist Zadie Smith was born in North London in 1975 to an English father and a Jamaican mother. She read English at Cambridge, graduating in 1997. Her acclaimed first novel, White Teeth, is a vibrant portrait of contemporary multicultural London. The book won many honors, including the Guardian First Book Award, the Whitbread First Novel Award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Overall Winner, Best First Book), and two BT Ethnic and Multicultural Media Awards (Best Book/Novel and Best Female Media Newcomer). Smith’s The Autograph Man, a story of loss, obsession, and the nature of celebrity, received the 2003 Jewish Quarterly Wingate Literary Prize for Fiction.

In 2003 and 2013 Smith was named by Granta magazine as one of 20 “Best of Young British Novelists.” Smith’s On Beauty won the 2006 Orange Prize for Fiction. Her most recent novel, NW, was named as one of the “10 Best Books of 2012” by The New York Times. A tenured professor of creative writing at New York University, Smith writes regularly for The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books. She published one collection of essays, Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays, and is working on a book of essays titled Feel Free.

About Honorary Degree Recipients

Zadie Smith will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at Grinnell’s Commencement exercises.

Grinnell also will confer honorary degrees upon two alumni and a renowned educator.

Thomas Cole ’71 will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws. He is U.S. Representative for Oklahoma’s 4th Congressional District, serving since 2002. Cole, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, is the fourth-ranking Republican leader in the House. He is currently one of only two Native American serving in Congress and was inducted into the Chickasaw Hall of Fame in 2004.

Fred Hersch ’77 will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. A pianist, composer, and one of the world’s foremost jazz artists, Hersch was described as “one of the small handful of brilliant musicians of his generation” by Downbeat magazine. His accomplishments include a 2003 Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship for composition and numerous Grammy nominations. He is a member of the Jazz Studies faculty at the New England Conservatory.

Claudia Swisher will receive an honorary Doctor of Social Studies. She was an English teacher for several decades at Norman North High School in Norman, Okla., where she was admired for going above and beyond in her efforts to connect with students. She saw education as something that should be formed around the children, and not that the children and their interests should be manipulated to conform to education.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Information on commencement ceremonies is available at Grinnell’s Commencement Web page. For any further information on commencement, please call 641-269-3178.

Photo of Zadie Smith by Dominique Nabokov