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, 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.


Board of Trustees elects new officers, re-elects eight members

Wednesday, May. 25, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA - The Grinnell College Board of Trustees elected new officers and re-elected eight trustees to four-year terms at its spring meeting.

  •  Clinton D. “Clint” Korver, a 1989 Grinnell graduate and venture capitalist from Atherton, Calif., was elected chair of the board, serving a two-year term. Elected as vice chairs were Laura Ferguson, a 1990 Grinnell graduate and Grinnell, Ia., family physician, and Paul Risser, a 1961 Grinnell graduate and nationally recognized biologist and university administrator from Norman, Okla.
  •  Re-elected to the board were:
  •  Robert F. Austin, a 1954 graduate and retired Houston, Tex., pediatrician,
  •  Kihwan Kim of Seoul, Korea, who leads the Seoul Financial Forum and is a 1957 graduate,
  •  Susan Holden McCurry, board member of the Holden Family Foundation and a 1971 graduate from Coralville, Ia., and Naples, Fla., o Karen Shaff, executive vice-president and general counsel of Principal Financial Group, Des Moines,
  •  Joel Spiegel of Woodinville, Wash., a 1978 graduate and retired vice-president of,
  •  David White, national executive director of the Screen Actors Guild, Los Angeles, and a 1990 graduate, and o Ferguson and Risser, who were also re-elected to four-year terms.

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.


More than 1100 to return for Alumni Reunion Weekend, June 3-5

Wednesday, May. 18, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

More than 1100 Grinnell College alumni, friends, and family will return to campus for the 132nd Alumni Reunion Weekend, June 3-5. Alumni will travel from as far as Thailand, Mexico and Canada to enjoy a full weekend of programming that begins Wednesday with Alumni College and concludes Sunday with a farewell breakfast and interdenominational Christian worship service.

Alumni College, which provides former students a chance to be in the classroom again, will focus on Africa and the college’s interdisciplinary studies programs devoted to that area of the world. Courses will be taught by Vicki Bentley-Condit, anthropology; Doug Cutchins, social commitment; Lesley Delmenico, theatre; George Drake, history; Bob Grey, political science; Shuchi Kapila, English; and J. Montgomery Roper, anthropology/global development studies.

Several new programs have been added to this year’s reunion schedule, including an open bench session on the Herrick Chapel organ; wellness activities; and Tiny Circus with Grinnell graduate Carlos Ferguson. The annual Alumni Lecture will be presented by Dr. John Canady, a 1980 graduate, who will discuss his experiences with “Giving Back: Surgical Humanitarian Missions in Developing Countries.”

Alumni Awards for service to professions, the college, and community will be presented to seven honored members of reunion classes on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in Herrick Chapel. Other weekend highlights include the Reunion Waltz; 5K run/walk; music by campus bands from the classes of 2005-07; service projects; the traditional bakery run; and tours of new campus buildings and downtown.

For a schedule of reunion activities, go to


Grinnell College appoints new chief of fundraising and alumni relations

Thursday, May. 12, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

After a national search, Grinnell College has named a new leader for the college’s fundraising and alumni relations operation. On July 5, Beth Halloran will begin her position as vice-president for development and alumni relations.

Currently assistant vice-president for the Office of University Development at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Halloran has 10 years experience in fundraising at Michigan, including director of major gifts for the law school and director of development for the Center for the Education of Women. Prior to her experience at University of Michigan, she worked in development at the Mayo Medical Center.

Grinnell College President Raynard S. Kington, M.D., Ph.D. said Halloran was selected from a large group of strong candidates. “Beth has demonstrated success in fundraising as a gift officer as well as an operational leader,” said Kington, adding, “Her intellectual ability; passionate commitment to Grinnell’s mission; and her ability to build meaningful relationships with members of the faculty, student body, board of trustees, and staff members overwhelmingly qualify her for Grinnell’s next vice-president for development and alumni relations. We are very fortunate to have her leadership during this important time in the College’s history.”

Halloran has long believed that the greatest societal equalizer is education. “Having the opportunity to join Grinnell College with its rich history of academic excellence and commitment to social change is compelling to me. I look forward to working closely with the entire Grinnell family to secure our future of excellence and deepen the impact Grinnellians make in the communities in which they live their lives,” said Halloran.

Halloran holds a B.S.W. from the College of Saint Teresa, an M.S.W. from the University of Wisconsin, and an M.B.A. from the University of St. Thomas.

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.

Former White House correspondent on campus week of May 2

Tuesday, Apr. 19, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

Former White House correspondent Richard Benedetto will talk about his political journalism career while on the Grinnell College campus during the week of May 2 as part of the Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows program. Benedetto will visit English, political science and history classes throughout the week, have informal meetings with students, and give two free public lectures.

• Mon., May 2, 7:30 p.m.: Benedetto will discuss “What It’s Like to Cover the White House,” based on his 40-year career.

• Tues., May 3, 4:15 p.m.: Benedetto will offer his perspectives on “Political Coverage: Who Are the Media Talking To, Voters or Themselves?”

Both lectures will be held in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center on the Grinnell campus.

Benedetto was a founding staff member of USA Today and wrote the paper’s first cover story. In addition to reporting on the White House and national politics, he wrote a weekly political column for the Gannett News Service, covering every presidential campaign from 1984-2004. Retired since 2006, he continues his involvement in journalism as a consultant for C-Span and as an adjunct faculty member at American University’s School of Public Affairs.

The Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows Program brings to campus prominent artists, diplomats, journalists, and business leaders to make connections between the academic and non-academic worlds. Benedetto’s Grinnell lectures are sponsored by the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights. For more information about the program, contact Sarah Purcell, director,, 641-269-3091. Grinnell welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. If accommodations are needed, please contact641-269-3235 as soon as possible to make a request.


Libraries' ceremony to celebrate American Library Association award for services and leadership

Friday, Apr. 15, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

The Grinnell College Libraries will celebrate the Excellence in Academic Libraries Award received earlier this year during an outdoor ceremony on Fri., Apr. 29. Representatives of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL); Grinnell College President Raynard S. Kington, M.D., Ph.D.; Dean of the College Paula Smith; and Librarian of the College Richard Fyffe will make brief remarks, and a plaque and $3000 cash award from the ACRL will be formally presented.

In January, the American Library Association (ALA) acknowledged the “outstanding services, programs and leadership” provided to Grinnell College students, faculty and community by the staff and collections of Burling Library, the main campus library; the Kistle Science Library; and the curriculum library. The award cited the Grinnell libraries’ student mentoring and information literacy programs, and the “continuous effort to improve, adapt, reshape and respond to new expectations.”

The award ceremony, which is open to the public, will be held at 11 a.m., north of Burling Library, which is located at 1111 6th Ave. Limited parking is available on the east side of the library. The rain location for the ceremony is Main Hall Lounge, 1221 6th Ave.

More information about Grinnell College library services is available from the Grinnell website at, where the ALA application is also available.

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.

Guest conductor in residence with Grinnell Singers; concert Apr. 17

Wednesday, Apr. 13, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

Guest conductor Simon Carrington will be in residence at Grinnell College, Apr. 10-17, and will direct The Grinnell Singers on Sun., Apr. 17 at 2 p.m. in Sebring-Lewis Hall on the Grinnell College campus.

Carrington will conduct the Grinnell Singers in a program that includes distinctive choral selections from the 16th to the 21st century. The concert also includes selections by Professor of Music John Rommereim, who directs the choir; Tarik O'Regan; and Arvo Pärt, as well as folk song arrangements by Zentner, Rubtsov, and Carrington. Choir members and student conductors Mark Mercier '11, Sarah Goff '11, and Kathleen Murphy-Geiss '11 will be conducting selections on the program. The Singers recently completed a spring break tour in Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas with performances in Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Dallas, Austin, and Houston.

Carrington has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in music, performing as singer, double bass player and conductor, first in the U.K. where he was born, and later in the U.S. From 2003 to 2009, he was professor of choral conducting at Yale University and director of the Yale Schola Cantorum, a 24-voice chamber choir that he has brought to international prominence. Now a Yale professor emeritus, he maintains an active schedule as a freelance conductor and choral clinician, leading workshops and master classes around the world. This season he has conducting engagements in England, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Japan, South America, and New Zealand, as well as concerts and recordings with his own ensemble, the Simon Carrington Chamber Singers.

Pulitzer poet Yusef Komunyakaa to deliver final Scholars' Convocation

Thursday, Mar. 31, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

Writers@Grinnell will welcome three interdisciplinary and intercultural writers during April readings on the Grinnell College campus.

On Apr. 7, Russian poet Ilya Kaminsky and novelist Gary Shteyngart will read from their published works during interdisciplinary events in Faulconer Gallery in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts.

Kaminsky, who will read at 4:15 p.m., is the author of “Dancing In Odessa” which was recognized by the American Academy of Arts and Letters and Poetry and ForeWord magazines. Last year he published an anthology of 20th century poetry in translation, and in 2009, poems from his manuscript “Deaf Republic,” were awarded Poetry magazine’s Levinson Prize.

Shteyngart, who will read at 8 p.m., was named one of The New Yorker magazine’s “20 under 40” luminary fiction writers in 2010. His novels, including “Absurdistan” and “The Russian Debutante’s Handbook,” have received high praise from The Guardian, New York Times Book Review, Time, and the Washington Post. Both events are co-sponsored by the Department of Russian.

Writers@Grinnell will sponsor an Apr. 28 Scholars’ Convocation by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa, whose poetry first received attention in 1984 for use of colloquial speech with jazz influences. Komunyakaa earned a Bronze Star from service in Vietnam, and his writing about the war has been cited among the best of the genre. His convocation reading will be at 11 a.m. in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ‘25 Center on the Grinnell campus.

On May 12, Writers@Grinnell will also host a reading by student writers for The Grinnell Review, the college’s literary journal, at 8 p.m. in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center.

Works by the authors are available from the Pioneer Bookshop in downtown Grinnell. The college welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. If accommodations are needed, please call 641-269-3235 as soon as possible to make a request.


Center for Prairie Studies analyzing "Iowa's Troubled Waters" Apr. 6-7

Tuesday, Mar. 29, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA - Grinnell College’s Center for Prairie Studies will co-sponsor a two-day symposium analyzing “Iowa’s Troubled Waters: the Challenges of Quality and Quantity.” The Apr. 6-7 symposium, also hosted by the college’s Luce Program in Nations and the Global Environment, will explore Iowa’s water problems and possibilities

. “The global concerns for water—too much, too little, potable, polluted—are all right here in Iowa,” said Jon Andelson, director of the Center for Prairie Studies. “Iowa’s relationship with water has become increasingly troubled of late by growing groundwater contamination and unusually heavy rains. We’ve gathered Iowa experts to consider these challenges and potential solutions.”

The free, public symposium events include:

  •  Wed., Apr. 6, 4:15 p.m.: Keith Schilling, a research geologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, will open the symposium with a challenge for the audience to consider options in “Water Quality in Iowa: It’s Our Choice.”
  •  Wed., Apr. 6, 7 p.m.: Representatives of Iowa’s public sector will discuss “Flooding: River Community Perspectives.” Panelists include Ann Hamilton Campbell, mayor of Ames and a 1962 Grinnell graduate; Des Moines Public Works Director Bill Stowe, a 1981 graduate; Steve Estenson, risk manager for Linn County; and Tim Schoon, a photojournalist for the University of Iowa and a 1991 graduate.
  •  Thurs., Apr. 7, 11 a.m.: Author and ecologist Connie Mutel will discuss “Water in Iowa: From Gift to Curse and Back Again.” Mutel is an archivist and historian of science and engineering at the University of Iowa's hydroscience and engineering institute, home of the Iowa Flood Center. She has written about Iowa’s natural history and environmental change issues, and her most recent books include “The Emerald Horizon: The History of Nature in Iowa” (2008) and “A Watershed Year: Anatomy of Iowa’s 2008 Floods” (2010).
  •  Thurs., Apr. 7, 4:30 p.m.: The Center for Prairie Studies will host a hands-on, “get wet” exploration of Arbor Lake in the town of Grinnell. Assistant Professor of Biology Elizabeth Queathem and Larissa Mottl, the college’s biological field station manager, will involve participants in water quality testing procedures and discuss the benefits of conservation practices at the lake. All participants should RSVP to and indicate transportation needs. The event will begin promptly at 4:30 at the lake’s Washington Ave. parking lot. Those needing transportation from campus to Arbor Lake should meet at the Rosenfield Center 8th Ave. dropoff no later than 4:15 p.m.
  •  Thurs., Apr. 7, 7:30 p.m.: Screening of “Big River,” co-sponsored by the college’s chapter of Free the Planet.

All symposium events will be held in the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, unless otherwise noted. Questions about the symposium may be referred to Laureen Van Wyk at the Center for Prairie Studies,, 641-269-4720.



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