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Alumna Pledges $4 Million to Start Global Learning Program

Susan McCurry  ’71, a member of Grinnell College’s Board of Trustees, has pledged $4 million to the College.

McCurry’s gift, a portion of which will come from the Roland and Ruby Holden Foundation, will establish the Global Learning Program at Grinnell College.

Susan McCurry ’71

“Susan McCurry’s generous gift combines her dedication to Grinnell College with the vision and foresight to advance our mission in strategic fashion,” said Grinnell President Raynard S. Kington. “The Global Learning Program will provide students at all levels and in all academic departments with opportunities to gain global competence and leadership in ways that distinguish Grinnell from our peers.”

According to Kington, the Global Learning Program (GLP) will have three core components – GLP Tutorials, GLP Designated Courses, and GLP Scholars Fellowships. Describing the GLP as a comprehensive set of international learning experiences, Kington added, “The Program will strengthen the international dimension of courses in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences, as well as the Grinnell faculty’s international knowledge.”

Kington emphasized that GLP Tutorials particularly reflect McCurry’s desire to create global study opportunities for first-year students. Under the GLP Tutorial program, 25 first-year students will participate in interdisciplinary tutorials that include a four-week, multi-country travel component for comparative studies.

“The necessary critical thinking and inquiry based learning disciplines from GLP Tutorials will prepare students for the four-week travel component,” said Susan McCurry. “We expect the travel experience to influence the student’s course of studies for the next three years at Grinnell and beyond. The opportunity to foster interest in internships abroad as well as future careers may develop from the Global Learning Program. We envision many lifelong benefits from GLP and are enthusiastic about being part of launching this international program.”

The Global Learning Program will be directed by the Center for International Studies (CIS), in cooperation with the Dean of the College, and individual academic departments. It will be staged over a 10-year period. Faculty members are currently building the architecture for classes to begin next spring.

“This outstanding gift puts Grinnell in the forefront of international education,” said CIS Interim Director David Harrison. “By permitting Grinnell faculty to take students on course-embedded trips to multiple sites outside of the United States, the Global Learning Program provides a set of learning opportunities that no other liberal arts college can offer. Simply put, the gift liberates the creative energy of faculty and students alike to make the world their classroom.”

Susan McCurry graduated from Grinnell College with a B.A. in psychology. From 1971 to 1975, she held several positions as director of pre-schools and day care centers while she continued her education in early childhood development and administration in San Diego.

In 1978, she joined the family business as Chief Financial Officer of Holden’s Foundation Seeds, Inc., headquartered in Williamsburg, Iowa. She also served as Secretary/Treasurer for Hawaiian Research, Ltd., in Molokai, Hawaii. Both companies specialized in seed research and development. She remained involved in the company until it was sold in 1997.

“Our parents had a long history of international business relationships and travel. All of our family benefitted from their experiences and knowledge,” McCurry added. “They emphasized the value gained from international site exposure. We believe the travel component of the GLP will offer a worldwide learning laboratory for students.”

McCurry was elected to the Grinnell College Board of Trustees in 2003. She also serves as a board member for the Holden Family Foundation, Highland Ridge Retirement Community, and the University of Iowa Cancer Advisory Board. She is also a trustee at the Naples Children and Education Foundation. She resides in Naples, Florida, and Coralville, Iowa.

“We are extremely grateful for Susan McCurry’s investment in the future of Grinnell College,” said Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Shane Jacobson. “It is a demonstration of philanthropic leadership that aligns perfectly with the core values of the college.”

China’s Second Continent

Howard French, associate professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee, will lecture on the topic of his new book China’s Second Continent: How a Million Migrants are Building a New Empire in Africa.

The free public lecture is at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, April 15, in Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101.

French has a distinguished career in journalism. After working as a French-English translator and English teacher at the University of Ivory Coast, French was a freelance reporter for the Washington Post. He was hired by The New York Times in 1986, and served as bureau chief for various regions overseas.

A noted writer on global affairs, French has received two Overseas Press Club Awards. In addition, the Guardian named China’s Second Continent one of the best books of 2014.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. The Rosenfield Center has accessible parking in the lot on the east side of the building. Room 101 is equipped with an induction hearing loop system. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations.

The Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations and Human Rights, global development studies, environmental studies, and African and Caribbean Students Union are sponsoring the event.

BAX Student Exhibition

The Bachelor of Arts Exhibition (BAX), which features works in the creative arts by students at Grinnell College, will open with a reception at 4:15 p.m. Friday, April 10, at the Faulconer Gallery, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts.

BAX is an exhibition of works by advanced art students. This year, the exhibition will feature works by 26 students. Though many of this year's artists major in studio art, some are pursuing an additional major such as anthropology or computer science. Other majors represented include English, theatre, and biological chemistry. Works on view include painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, mixed media, and installations.

Students on the art and art history department's student educational policy committee organize the exhibition. This year's organizers are Becky Garner ’15, Eden Marek ’15, Maria Shevelkina ’15, David Cambronero-Sanchez ’16, Hannah Condon ’16, Eliza Harrison ’16, Glenys Hunt ’16, Hazel Batrezchavez ’17, Xena Fitzgerald ’17, and Lauren Roush ’17. The organizers designed a catalog to accompany the exhibition.

The exhibition is designed by Faulconer Gallery director of exhibition design Milton Severe and coordinated by director Lesley Wright. The exhibition is adjudicated by artist in residence Laleh Khorramian, a visual artist from New York with extensive experience in painting, drawing, animation and digital media. Khorramian will select most of the yearly prizes in studio art, which will be announced at the opening reception.

The exhibition will be on view through May 3. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week, and admission is free.

Grinnellians Take Manhattan

Twenty Grinnell students will navigate Manhattan during the second week of spring break, March 23-28, in search of career potential in the fields of international relations and human rights, with a little help from their friends in the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations and Human Rights, and from alumni who have volunteered to share their work experience and career insights.

The New York City break tour is the third industry tour organized by the Center for Careers, Life, and Service (CLS) and the Office of Development and Alumni Relations (DAR). In 2012, a dozen Grinnellians learned the wonders of startups in Silicon Valley; in 2013, 12 students blew into the Windy City to observe  careers in nonprofits with social impact.

“The idea of industry tours came out of the college’s strategic planning process that identified post-graduate success and alumni engagement as key initiatives,” says Mark Peltz, Daniel and Patricia Jipp Finkelman Dean, CLS. “What students walk away with from these tours is compelling — career advice, internship leads, enriching experiences, and networking opportunities.”

The tour topics are also informed by student interests, and “cut across where alumni are working, varying geographic locations and the diverse pathways of our graduates.”

Student interest is growing — this year, there were 59 applications for only 18 seats, plus two student leaders. It’s also a diverse group of participants — from Serbia to Rio; from first-year undecideds to senior international development majors.

When Sophia Neems ’16, an anthropology and Spanish double major from Iowa City, Iowa, attended the Chicago tour, she said she “gained a better understanding of the diversity of jobs that have to do with social justice.

“The CLS tour exposed me to many different areas of social justice work in a myriad of fields that I had never considered before,” Neems says. “It was a great opportunity to meet other like-minded Grinnellians that I would not have otherwise met. I learned a lot regarding the diversity of successful career paths that different Grinnellians have embarked upon.”

For Andrew Lange ’13, the Silicon Valley trip reinforced the value of a Grinnell degree. “The Silicon Valley industry tour got me excited about entrepreneurship and business.  Meeting a French major with a business career and a biology major working in advertising showed the diverse opportunities that a Grinnell liberal arts education allows. 

“The CLS tour was a bridge between the Grinnell academic experience and the business world. It was an opportunity to see the ways that alumni have used their liberal arts education to develop various successful careers. Lange, a studio art graduate, is a marketing agent in Carroll, Iowa

“The biggest impact for students is the opportunity to connect with alumni in their place of work, in areas students are interested in; for alumni, it’s a reason to reconnect with the college, share their knowledge and influence future leaders,” says Nate Dobbels, assistant director of alumni relations for career programs.

Dobbels coordinates the industry tour, along with Ed Cohn, interim director of the Rosenfield Program, and two student leaders who promote the tours to the campus, participate in the selection process, research trip sites, and help to navigate on site. Because the tour is funded in part this year by the Rosenfield Program, the student leaders are also Rosenfield Committee members: Roni Finkelstein ’15, a history major from New Jersey, and Anesu Gamanya ’17, an undeclared major from Zimbabwe.

Students will meet alumni in their workplaces – The New York Times and the United Nations, for example – and at evening networking events at the Center for Constitutional Rights and Neo Futurists Theater. 

Industry tour funding is provided by the Rosenfield Program, CLS, and DAR.

Theresa Geller Wins Mellon Research Fellowship

GellerTheresa Geller, EKI associate professor of film theory and history in the English department, has received an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Mid-Career Fellowship entitled “Thinking the Humanities in the 21st Century” at the Whitney Humanities Center at Yale University for the 2015–16 academic year. 

According to Yale, the fellowship is directed toward faculty at four-year liberal arts colleges who have received tenure within the last five years. It will welcome three outstanding scholars in each of the academic years 2015–2018, where they will pursue research programs in any area of the humanities and related fields and enter into intellectual exchanges with faculty, fellows, and other visitors to the Whitney Center. 

During Geller’s research year, she will work on a book-length project titled Modes of Entrustment, which will examine affect and intersubjectivity in contemporary queer film and media. Geller says, “As someone in the rare position of teaching film studies as humanities, I have been compelled to think through the ways media model humanistic inquiry broadly conceived.”



Randye Jones on Negro Spirituals

Soprano and researcher Randye Jones, accompanied by pianist Marlys Grimm, will present two free public performances in April:

  • “Interpreting the Negro Spiritual in Classical Vocal Performance,” 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, April 8, Lawson Lecture Hall, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts
  • Recital “Dat Promised Lan’,” 4 p.m. Sunday, April 19, Herrick Chapel
Marlys GrimmMarlys Grimm, pianist

In a lecture/recital, “Interpreting the Negro Spiritual in Classical Vocal Performance,” Jones will discuss how several composers used this American folk music as source material for their songs and explain some of the decisions musicians must make in performing the works. Jones and pianist Marlys Grimm will perform works by H.T. Burleigh, John Carter, Robert MacGimsey, Moses Hogan and Hale Smith to demonstrate how interpretive decisions can dramatically affect the musical presentation of spiritual settings.

“Dat Promised Lan’ ” is a recital of spirituals that contains select songs from Jones’ The Art of the Negro Spiritual project that explore how this American folk music has been reset for performance on the concert stage. Jones and Grimm will perform works by Roland Hayes, Hall Johnson, Carter, Burleigh, Julia Perry, Hogan, Uzee Brown Jr. and R. Nathaniel Dett.

“The spiritual is an original American music,” Jones said. “Its impact on other music styles—from gospel to popular music—continues to this day. What we are presenting in these programs represents how composers have used the spiritual to create an art song for the classical musician.”

Jones holds her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina, and her Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Florida State University, Tallahassee. She is currently a doctoral student in Vocal Literature at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Jones has gained recognition for her research of and published writings on African American vocalists and composers and as a performer and lecturer through her project, The Art of the Negro Spiritual.

She regularly presents lecture-recitals and concerts at events such as the Research, Education, Activism and Performance National Conference on Spirituals, African American Art Song Alliance Conference and the Phenomenon of Singing International Symposium VIII in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Jones serves as the Burling media room supervisor on the library staff at Grinnell College.

Grimm attended Sheldon High School and Central College, where she studied piano with Donald Gren. She has collaborated at Dordt, Northwestern, Grinnell, and Central colleges in student and faculty recitals. Grimm has accompanied high school, college, community and professional singers, instrumentalists and choruses throughout Iowa and for National Association of Teachers of Singing competitions. With husband, Norm, conducting, she has played for numerous conferences, district and regional choral festivals, including the 1993 Opus Boys Honor Choir. Grimm is currently the accompanist for the Grinnell Oratorio Society and staff accompanist at Newton High School.

For more information about the performances, call 641-821-0188. Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations.

2015-2016 Financial Aid Deadline is April 15

Current students: All materials required to apply for need-based financial aid for the 2015-2016 academic year are due April 15, 2015.  Log in to the Online Financial Aid Office to view the status of your required documents.

Help is available on our Apply for Aid web page.  If your FAFSA is selected for verification, go to the Federal Verification page for detailed instructions.

Students with non-need based awards only, such as scholarships and campus employment, will receive an email later this spring notifying them of the renewed award.

Students not applying for need-based aid, but who wish to borrow the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, must complete the FAFSA.

Contact the Office of Student Financial Aid if you have questions.

Student Research Symposium

The Dean's Office and the Center for the Humanities are pleased to announce the Student Research Symposium, April 6–9, 2015.

Selected students across all divisions will present a selection of their disciplinary or inter-disciplinary research papers, creative performances, and art projects.

National Public Radio Science Correspondent Joe Palca will present the keynote address, “A Good Idea is a Good Idea: Advanced Degree Not Required” on April 7.


Monday, April 6

Noon, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, Room 152
“Art in the Public Sphere”
Meredith Kalkbrenner ’15, Eden Marek ’15, Sara Ramey ’15, Anthony Wenndt ’15
Noon, Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101
“Policy and Progress”
Lilianna Bagnoli ’15, James Dowell ’15, Margaret Schmitt ’15
7:30 p.m., Roberts Theatre, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts
Performance: “The Liberal Arts in Performance”
Cristal Coleman ’15, Erica Kwiatkowski ’15, Sophiyaa Nayar ’17

Tuesday, April 7

Noon, Rosenfield Center, Room 101
“Quantitative Approaches to Self and Society”
Elizabeth Eason ’17, Gwendolyn Ihrie ’15, Isaiah Tyree ’15
Noon, ARH 102
“Self, Subject, and Community”
Briona Butler ’15, Amulya Gyawali ’15, Strahinja Matejic ’17
7:30 p.m., Sebring-Lewis Hall, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts
Keynote: “A Good Idea is a Good Idea: Advanced Degree Not Required”
Joe Palca, NPR Science Correspondent

Wednesday, April 8

4:15 p.m., Rosenfield Center, Room 101
“Visualizing Bodies in Film and Art”
Xena Fitzgerald ’17, Eliza Harrison ’16, Michelle Risacher ’17
4:15 p.m., ARH 102
“Theory and Social Praxis”
Chris Hellmann ’16, Violeta Ruiz Espigares ’15, Kenneth Wee ’16

Thursday, April 9

Noon, Rosenfield Center, Room 101
“Sexual Politics at Home and Abroad”
Hannah Kelley ’16, Krit Petrachaianan ’17, Scott Olson ’15

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations.

Gender as a Process

Anne Fausto-Sterling, a noted expert in gender studies, will present a free public lecture at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 2, in the Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 101.

Fausto-Sterling, Nancy Duke Lewis Professor of biology and gender studies at Brown University, is a frequent commentator on feminist and scientific inquiry. Her lecture is titled "Gender as a Process, Not a Trait: Dynamic-Systems Approaches to Origins of Difference in Infancy."

Following Fausto-Sterling's talk, Lizzie Eason ’17 will give a brief presentation. Eason, a mathematics and statistics major, has been working with Fausto-Sterling on data analysis for the past year, applying a network-based modeling technique to Fausto-Sterling's data. Eason will present the results of her analysis.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. The Rosenfield Center is fully accessible, with parking available in a lot on the east side of the building. Room 101 is equipped with an induction hearing loop system. You can request accommodations from the event sponsors — the departments of psychology and gender, women's, and sexuality studies — or Conference Operations.