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U.S. immigration experts to examine all sides of timely policy issue Apr. 11-14

Tuesday, Mar. 29, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA - Grinnell, IA


Immigration—complicated policies, controversial possibilities. A Grinnell College symposium on “U.S. Immigration Policy,” Apr. 11-14, will examine a wide range of viewpoints on this timely topic, with experts on both sides of open and closed borders; representatives of immigration and asylum services; and interdisciplinary perspectives on the way forward.

“No matter what your point of view,” said Sarah Purcell, director of the college’s Rosenfield Program, “there’s agreement that U.S. immigration policy is broken. It’s a topic of local, state, national, and international concern that touches people in unexpected ways, and we plan to explore all sides of this policy issue.”

The immigration policy symposium, sponsored by Grinnell’s Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations and Human Rights, will include the following free, public events:

• Mon., Apr. 11, 12 noon: Immigration-related student presentations based on tutorial projects, mentored advanced projects (MAPs), and Alternative Break projects. Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, 2nd floor atrium.

• Mon., Apr. 11, 7 p.m.: Teach-In by members of the Grinnell faculty providing interdisciplinary background on immigration from the fields of sociology, history, political science, and anthropology.

• Tues., Apr. 12, 4:15 p.m.: Mark Kirkorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, will argue for tighter controls in “Mass Immigration vs. Modern Society.” The Center for Immigration Studies is a non-profit research organization which examines the impact of immigration on U.S. resources. Kirkorian frequently testifies before Congress and has appeared on 60 Minutes, Nightline, NewsHour with James Lehrer, CNN, and NPR.

• Wed., Apr. 13, 4:15 p.m.: Jonathan Blazer, policy attorney for the National Immigration Law Center, will discuss the interaction between federal and state immigration laws. The National Immigration Law Center is dedicated to advancing the rights of low-income immigrant families. Blazer’s main focus at the law center is on promoting immigrant access to economic supports and educational opportunities.

• Wed., Apr. 13, 8 p.m.: Representatives from immigration services throughout the state will lead a panel discussion on “Iowa and U.S. Immigration Policy.”

• Thurs., Apr. 14, 11 a.m.: The Scholars’ Convocation on “A Nation of Immigrants?” will be delivered by Mae Ngai, Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies and professor of history at Columbia University. Her book, “Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America,” has won numerous awards for addressing the controversial topic of immigration reform.

• Thurs., Apr. 14, 4:15 p.m.: Jeffrey Heller, a New York City asylum attorney, will offer perspectives on representing asylum seekers. Heller has taught clinical immigration and asylum law, written on immigration issues for Bender’s Immigration Bulletin and The Westchester Guardian, and opened his home to released immigrants for more than 25 years. Heller’s daughter Rebecca is a senior history major at Grinnell.

• Thurs., Apr. 14, 8 p.m.: Wall St. Journal editorial board member Jason Riley will close the symposium with a discussion of his book “Let Them In,” which stresses the economic value of open borders. Riley has worked since 1994 at the Journal, where he continues to write on social issues such as immigration reform.

All symposium events will be held in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center on the Grinnell College campus, unless otherwise noted. For more information about the symposium, contact Sarah Purcell,, 641-269-3091.



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.


Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Anna Quindlen to address Class of 2011

Thursday, Mar. 17, 2011 12:00 am | Contact: *Editor's note: release distributed as "the college's 165th Exercises of Commencement;" should have read "Exercises of Commencement in the 165th year of the college."

Grinnell, IA - Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and best-selling author Anna Quindlen will address the Grinnell College Class of 2011 at the Exercises of Commencement in the 165th year of Grinnell College, on Mon., May 23, at 10 a.m. on Central Campus.* Quindlen, the author of five best-selling novels and seven non-fiction books, has been a major contributor for more than 35 years to some of the country’s most influential newspapers and magazines. She won the Pulitzer in 1992 for her New York Times column “Public and Private,” and from 2000 to 2009, wrote the widely recognized “Last Word” column for Newsweek. As commencement speaker, Quindlen will receive an honorary doctor of letters degree from Grinnell. Honorary degrees will also be awarded to Harvard genome scientist Pardis Sabeti (honorary doctor of science); “Imponderables” author and pop culture observer David Feldman, a 1971 Grinnell graduate (honorary doctor of letters); and Henry Wilhelm, an internationally recognized expert on long-term photographic preservation and a member of the Grinnell Class of 1968 (honorary doctor of science). Grinnell College, which annually confers B.A. degrees on more than 350 students, 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. In the event of inclement weather, the May 23 commencement ceremony will be held in the Charles Benson Bear ’39 Recreation and Athletic Center. The ceremony will also be livestreamed at For further information about Grinnell College commencement, go to -30-

Young, Gifted and Black sharing music ministry during spring break tour

Tuesday, Mar. 15, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA - The Young, Gifted and Black Gospel Choir, a 30-voice choral ensemble from Grinnell College, will present concerts, March 20-25, in churches in Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas-Ft. Worth, as part of a spring break tour.

The Young, Gifted and Black Gospel Choir, open to students of all backgrounds, has a 45-year history on the Grinnell campus. Through a bond of “cultural uniformity,” the choir ministers to a variety of audiences with a wide selection of sacred music, including spirituals and traditional and contemporary gospel.

The gospel choir, directed by Barry Jones, lecturer of music, will share their music ministry at:

Mar. 20, 11 a.m.: Corpus Christi Catholic Church, 1025 NE 15th St., Oklahoma City, Okla.

Mar. 20, 5 p.m.: Epiphany of the Lord Catholic Church, 7336 W. Britton Rd., Oklahoma City, Okla.

Mar. 22: community service projects at San Antonio Food Bank and Haven for Hope, San Antonio, Tex. 

Mar. 23, 7 p.m.: Brentwood Baptist Church, 13033 Landmark Dr., Houston, Tex.

Mar. 24, 7 p.m.: Our Mother of Mercy Catholic Church, 1007 E. Terrell Ave., Fort Worth, Tex.

Mar. 25, 7 p.m.: Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration, 14115 Hillcrest Rd., Dallas, Tex.

Each engagement is tailored to the audience, adding an air of spontaneity and encouraging audience participation. The choir has featured works by Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond, John P. Kee, Richard Smallwood, and Hezekiah Walker.

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.


Ashraya Dixit '14 awarded Davis Project for Peace

Monday, Mar. 14, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA - Grinnell College student Ashraya Dixit will implement an international peace project this summer, thanks to a $10,000 award through Davis Projects for Peace. Davis Projects for Peace are funded by internationalist and philanthropist Kathryn Wasserman Davis, who committed $1 million to fund grassroots projects through a competition on 74 college and university campuses.

Dixit, a first-year student from Kathmandu, Nepal, will work this summer to pilot a straw bale construction project in Kapilbastu, Nepal, an area frequently hit by flash floods and earthquakes. The Straws of Steel project will include a workshop to introduce community members to the low cost, energy efficient building technique, actual construction of straw bale houses, and documentation of the construction process in the disaster-prone area.

The Davis Projects are designed to encourage and support motivated college students to create and implement their ideas for building peace throughout the world.

Grinnell College is a nationally recognized, private, four-year, liberal arts college located in Grinnell, IA. 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.


Grinnell Singers in concert in South during spring break tour

Wednesday, Mar. 9, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

The Grinnell Singers, a 45-voice choral ensemble from Grinnell College, will present concerts, March 20-25, in churches in Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Houston, Austin, and Dallas, as part of a spring break tour.

The Grinnell Singers’ concert repertoire will span six centuries, with selections from Renaissance England and 19th-century Russia to contemporary music from England and America, gospel-styled music, and folksongs. Directed by Professor of Music John Rommereim, the Singers’ tour schedule will include:

Mar. 20, 5 p.m.: Country Club United Methodist Church, 400 W. 57th St., Kansas City, Mo.

Mar. 21, 7:30 p.m.: Oklahoma City St. Paul’s Cathedral, 127 NW 7th (at Robinson), Oklahoma City, Okla.

Mar. 23, 7 p.m.: Brentwood Baptist Church, 13033 Landmark Dr., Houston, Tex.

Mar. 24, 7 p.m.: St. James Episcopal Church, 1941 Webberville Rd., Austin, Tex.

Mar. 25, 7 p.m.: Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration, 14115 Hillcrest Rd., Dallas, Tex.

The singers will also perform a “home from tour” concert with guest conductor Simon Carrington on Sun., Apr. 17 at 2 p.m. in Sebring-Lewis Hall, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, on the Grinnell College campus.

The Grinnell Singers, known for their innovative and adventurous choral programming, have premiered more than 20 choral works in the past five years, under Rommereim’s direction. Rommereim is active as a composer, singer, and scholar whose work is centered in the areas of Russian choral music and early music performance. Each year the choir presents concerts across the U.S. and has traveled to Estonia, Finland, Russia, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania, and Turkey. The group has also been invited to perform at two regional conventions of the American Choral Directors Association.

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.


Mini-grants to local projects announced

Monday, Mar. 7, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

Grinnell, IA

Eleven Grinnell area organizations will benefit from more than $30,000 in grant support from the Grinnell College Mini-Grant Program for arts, educational and community initiatives.

“We increased both the maximum grant amount and the total grant funds available from the program this year so we were better able to meet community needs,” said Monica Chavez-Silva, director of community enhancement and engagement. The maximum award increased to $7,500 for the annual mini-grant program, which has, since 2002, funded more than $131,000 in small-to mid-scale projects for the Grinnell area.

Traditionally, the grants review committee has been comprised of faculty, staff and Grinnell College students from the local area. This year, the review committee, led by Chavez-Silva, added two community members, Rick Ramsey and Monique McLay Shore.

Of the 25 proposals submitted, the volunteer committee designated full or partial funding to the following projects this spring: Drake Community Library for electronic book service; Grinnell Area Arts Council for computer and office equipment; Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce for website development; Grinnell Big Brothers Big Sisters for activities to support mentor matches; Grinnell Community Daycare and Preschool for a school bus; Grinnell Little League for field upgrades; Grinnell Parks and Recreation Department to improve Arbor Lake shelters; Grinnell Police Department for patrol bicycles; Grinnell Regional Medical Center for electronic records wireless access; PALS animal shelter for insulated pet doors; and Poweshiek County Fair Association for campground improvements.

For more information about the mini-grant program, contact Chavez-Silva at 641-269-3900,, or visit the website: - 30 -


Madres de Plaza de Mayo appearance on campus Mar. 17

Monday, Mar. 7, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

Human rights activists from the Madres de Plaza de Mayo, an Argentine organization fighting for justice for those who disappeared during the1976-1983 state terror, will discuss their efforts during a Grinnell College visit, Mar. 16-17. The activists, who have worked for more than three decades to be re-united with the disappeared, will discuss both the history of the movement and plans for the future.

On Wed., Mar. 16, 7:30 p.m.: Kris Thalhammer, professor of political science at St. Olaf College, will provide background on the Dirty War and the human rights movement in “Mobilizing for Human Rights: Lessons Learned from the Mothers of the Plaza and Other Nonviolent Activists.”

On Thurs., Mar. 17, 11 a.m.: Carmen Lapacó and Maria Adela Antokoletz, representing the Madres, will discuss “Las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo Linea Fundadora: Thirty-Four Years in the Struggle for Truth, Justice and Memory in Argentina.” At 4:15 p.m., the activists will hold a Q&A session about plans for the future of the movement. Both sessions will be interpreted Spanish to English.

The Madres de Plaza de Mayo risked their lives to organize their first public protest in 1977 in Buenos Aires, the site of Argentina’s military rule. The group has continued to meet each Thursday in the Buenos Aires’ plaza and has been pivotal in international attempts to bring military rulers to justice. Their message of peace and political strife has spread over 30-plus years to the United Nations, Amnesty International, the Vatican and beyond as they have worked on behalf of the disappeared. Their work has also inspired similar movements in Latin American countries and contributed to efforts to stop forced disappearances throughout the world.

The events, which are co-sponsored with St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn., will be held in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center on the Grinnell College campus. For more information, contact Sarah Purcell,, 641-269-3091.

New College Preschool Laboratory construction plans announced

Thursday, Mar. 3, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

The Grinnell College Preschool Laboratory, where many area preschoolers begin their worldly adventures, will have a new home on Park St., with construction to begin this spring. The popular laboratory program is currently housed in a 1970s-style building at 1207 Park St. that was intended to be temporary and now requires new construction to meet current and future educational needs.

The preschool, directed by Karen Veerhusen-Langerud, serves approximately 50 local children each year and holds a five-star rating from the Iowa Department of Human Services, The facility also serves as a real-time laboratory for approximately 100 Grinnell College psychology students who observe and interact with the preschoolers for introductory coursework. An additional 20-40 upper-level students conduct developmental psychology research projects there.

“Our high-quality preschool program has outgrown this aging facility that was only intended to be temporary when it was moved in 40 years ago,” said Marci Sortor, vice president for institutional planning. “Both the community children in attendance and the Grinnell students conducting research there need appropriate space and up-to-date facilities that match the quality of the educational program.”

The planned construction site for the new $1.75 million preschool laboratory is in the 1000 block of Park St., on the south perimeter of the campus, near Drake Community Library. The college will offer the two-story house at 1022 Park St. for sale for $1 with removal in April at owner expense. The current preschool structure will also be removed following construction of the new facility.

A community comment session about the construction plans is set for Thurs., Mar. 10 at 7 p.m. at Drake Community Library. Members of the community who are interested in learning more about the proposed construction plans are invited to attend. Questions about the house removal may be referred to Monica Chavez-Silva, director of community enhancement and engagement,


Expert in religious violence to deliver next Scholars' Convocation

Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

Mark Juergensmeyer, director of the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies at the University of California, will deliver a Scholars’ Convocation lecture on “Global Rebellion: Religious Challenges to the Secular State,” Thurs., Mar. 3 at 11 a.m. in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center on the Grinnell College campus.

An expert on religious violence, conflict resolution and South Asian religion and politics, Juergensmeyer has, since 9/11, been a frequent guest on CNN, NBC, CBS, BBC, NPR, Fox News, ABC’s “Politically Incorrect,” and CNBC’s “Dennis Miller Show.” His acclaimed 2003 book, “Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence” is based on interviews with religious activists, including Hamas leaders and abortion clinic bombers. His Grinnell Scholars’ Convocation will be based on his widely-read 2008 book by the same title.

Juergensmeyer, a professor of sociology and affiliate professor of religious studies at UCSD, will also deliver Grinnell’s annual Gates Lecture on "Rethinking Religion in a Global World," Wed., Mar. 2, at 8 p.m. in the Rosenfield Center, Room 101. The Gates Lectures were established in memory of the college's second president, George Gates, and are intended “to bring to campus the very best of modern thought.”

Grinnell welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. If accommodations are needed, please contact the event’s sponsoring organization as soon as possible to make a request.


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