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Mid-year Commencement for 24 seniors

Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

Grinnell College seniors graduating mid-year will be honored in a private campus ceremony on Dec. 5. The 24 mid-year graduates will hear remarks from President Raynard S. Kington, M.D., Ph.D.; Paula Smith, vice-president for academic affairs and dean of the college; Beth Halloran, vice-president for development and alumni relations; and Kelly Maynard, assistant professor of history.

Grinnell’s spring commencement is scheduled for May 21, 2012, when Caribbean novelist Jamaica Kincaid will address more than 350 members of the graduating class.

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. Approximately one-third of Grinnell students graduate with degrees in science; one-third with degrees in the humanities; and one-third with degrees in the social sciences. -30-

Local foundation contributes to recreation, playground at new preschool lab

Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

Area preschoolers who attend the Grinnell College Preschool Laboratory just got a new playdate—the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation.

The Foundation, which supports Grinnell community projects in education, health, and parks and recreation, will contribute $41,000 to the new preschool’s playground and recreation area. The playground equipment installation brings the new facility in the 1000 block of Park St. one step closer to opening in late January, at the beginning of second semester.

“Our founder, Claude Ahrens, believed in recreational experiences for children beginning at early ages. This gift honors his legacy and our mission of community development and recreational opportunities,” said Foundation President Julie Gosselink.

The preschool, directed by Karen Veerhusen-Langerud, serves approximately 50 local children each year and is 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 college students conduct developmental psychology research projects there.

The new $1.75 million preschool laboratory, expected to be completed in early January, features areas for large and small motor skills, a classroom with in-floor heating, an observation room, meeting and research spaces, and an entryway with open courtyard.

Monica Chavez-Silva, director of community enhancement and engagement for the college, expressed the importance of community partnerships in projects like the new preschool. “The Ahrens Foundation gift is a wonderful example of the productive collaborations we are fortunate to have in Grinnell. We are very grateful to the Foundation for recognizing the benefits of this new high-quality facility for our community’s preschoolers and in support of inquiry-based learning by our psychology students.”

The popular laboratory program is currently housed in a 1970s-style building at 1207 Park St. which will be removed next summer. Furnishings and materials will be moved into the new building during winter break.


Grinnell Singers to perform "Messiah" with Chicago's Baroque Band

Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

The Grinnell Singers, a 50-voice choral ensemble from Grinnell College, will combine talents with Chicago’s celebrated Baroque Band, to perform Handel’s “Messiah,” Dec. 3 in Des Moines and Dec. 4 on the Grinnell campus.

The Baroque Band period-instrument orchestra has established itself as an important part of Chicago’s classical music community. The combined concert with the Grinnell Singers will feature the “Dublin Messiah,” Handel’s rarely heard original of the iconic masterpiece which premiered in Ireland in 1742. The Baroque Band’s rendition of the Dublin version was recognized in 2009 as one of the “top five classical concerts.”

The Grinnell Singers, known for innovative and adventurous choral programming, have premiered more than 20 choral works in the past five years, directed by Professor of Music John Rommereim. 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 free public concerts will be held Dec. 3 at 4 p.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 600 6th St., Des Moines, and Dec. 4 at 2 p.m. in Sebring-Lewis Hall, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, Grinnell. Freewill donations will be accepted at the Des Moines concert; contact St. John's Lutheran Church, 515-243-7691, for ticket information.

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.


Briefly: Fine Arts events

Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA - >

  •  tRADitions + enCOUNTers

  •  The Department of Theatre and Dance presents the Grinnell College Dance Ensemble in tRADitions + enCOUNTers, Dec. 2-4, in Flanagan Arena Theatre of Bucksbaum Center for the Arts. The performance will explore dance traditions on campus as well as traditions of family, communities, and food. Dance Ensemble members will draw from their own ballet and modern dance traditions, featured artist Val Vetter will share Javanese dance, with guest appearances in hip-hop, Bollywood, and belly dancing form. Celeste Miller, lecturer in theatre and dance, will choreograph the performances in collaboration with Dance Ensemble members Athena Carlson '15, Diane Lenertz '15, Kristen Moreland '12, DeShaun Peters '14, Alexander Rich-Shea '12, and Adelle Yin '13.  The performances are scheduled for Dec. 2 and 3 at 7:30 p.m. and at 2 p.m. on Dec. 4.    

    •  'Tis the Season for Organ Music

    College Organist Linda Bryant and student organists Peter Aldrich '15 and Christopher Squier '13 will present a varied program of carol-based music on Thurs., Dec. 8 at 11 a.m. in Herrick Chapel. The selections range from Bach and Daquin to jazz-influenced settings by Johannes Michel. The organists will play the restored 1949 Aeolian-Skinner instrument of 59 ranks. The program is free and open to the public.   

    Nov. symposium celebrates Liberal Arts in Prison Program

    Friday, Oct. 28, 2011 12:00 am

    Grinnell, IA -  

    Grinnell College’s Liberal Arts in Prison Program will celebrate its First Year of College Program offering at the Newton Correctional Facility during a Nov. campus symposium with national speakers on the benefits of education for incarcerated individuals.

    Since 2003, Grinnell students and faculty have taught courses at Iowa correctional facilities, and in 2009, the college began a pilot program at the Newton facility to offer courses for Grinnell credit. Last summer, the Grinnell Liberal Arts in Prison Program admitted the first class to its new First Year of College Program, which enrolls incarcerated students in a rigorous course of study equivalent to a first year at Grinnell.

    Grinnell program coordinator Emily Guenther credits Grinnell students' and faculty commitment to academic rigor and social justice for the success of the program. “Education is one of the most effective ways to prevent repeat offenses and help the incarcerated leave prison better able to lead constructive lives,” Guenther said. “The November symposium celebrates Grinnell’s commitment to the Liberal Arts in Prison Program and offers opportunities to engage with experts in criminal justice and education.”

    The following events are free and open to the public:

    • Nov. 3, 4:15 p.m.: Marc Mauer, one of the nation’s leading experts on criminal justice policy, will present “America’s Race to Incarcerate” about the rise in mass incarceration. Mauer’s reports and publications on sentencing policy, race, and the criminal justice system are among the most widely-cited in the field.

    • Nov. 16, 8 p.m.: Max Kenner, founder and executive director of the Bard Prison Initiative in New York, will present about the role of liberal arts colleges in prisons. The Grinnell program, which is supported by the Lilly Endowment, a gift from a Grinnell trustee, and Bard College, was among the first members of the Consortium for the Liberal Arts at Bard College.

    • Nov. 17, 4:15 p.m.: Grinnell alumni Katie Jares and Noga Ashkenazi, who have done extensive prison-related work since graduation, will join a former inmate and student in a panel discussion about the college’s Liberal Arts in Prison Program. Jares and Ashkenazi volunteered in the program while Grinnell students.

    • Nov. 17 at 8 p.m.: Noga Ashkenazi, a 2009 Grinnell graduate, will present clips from a documentary she is producing based on her teaching experiences at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women. Ashkenazi will be joined in the discussion by a former inmate and student who is featured in the film.  The screening will be held in Alumni Recitation Hall, Room 302.

    More than 50 Grinnell students volunteer regularly at the Newton and Mitchellville correctional facilities, tutoring and facilitating a variety of classes that have earned the respect of the Iowa Department of Corrections. Grinnell students also tutor at the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo.

    All events will be held in Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101, located at 1115 8th Ave. in Grinnell. For more information about the Grinnell Liberal Arts in Prison Program or the Nov. symposium, contact Emily Guenther, coordinator, at


    Center for Prairie Studies symposium on visions for Midwest's future Nov. 8-10

    Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011 12:00 am

    Grinnell, IA - Grinnell College’s Center for Prairie Studies will look to the future during a Nov. 8-10 symposium examining “How Will the Midwest Survive? Visions for the Future.” The three-day symposium will include presentations by rural economic development specialists, farmer and former agriculture secretary candidate Francis Thicke, and Iowa native and global observer Richard Longworth.

    Symposium organizer Jon Andelson, director of the Center for Prairie Studies, said that the symposium will focus on solutions, not “doom-and-gloom diagnoses of problems.”

    “Midwesterners may not have complete control of the region’s future, but we can shape it. The question is ‘how should we?’ The speakers have differing views of diverse sectors of commerce and community, so symposium attendees will have the opportunity to consider alternatives and learn what roles they as individuals can play in setting the course,” Andelson added.

    The free, public events include:

    •  Nov. 8, 4:15 p.m.: Francis Thicke will present “A New Vision for Midwest Food and Agriculture.” Thicke operates an organic dairy farm near Fairfield, Ia., and was a 2010 candidate for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. He is the author of a book on the ongoing conflicts between factory and family farms.
    •  Nov. 8, 7 p.m.: Director of Iowa Rural Development Bill Menner will conduct a talk show-style interview with Kim Didier, executive director of Des Moines Area Community College’s Business Resources, and Sandy Ehrig, economic development administrator for Renew Rural Iowa of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, about their “Visions for Rural Economic Development in the Midwest.”
    •  Nov. 9, 7:30 p.m.: A screening of the documentary film, “A Little Salsa on the Prairie,” will be followed by a discussion led by Grinnell faculty members Victoria Brown (history) and Eric Carter (anthropology). “Salsa” looks at the social and economic effects of immigration on Perry, Ia. The film will be shown in Room 102, Alumni Recitation Hall, 1226 Park St. on the Grinnell campus.
    •  Nov. 10, 11 a.m.: Richard Longworth will deliver the Scholars’ Convocation on “The Midwest’s Future in the Age of Globalism.” Longworth is a senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, which he joined in 2003 after a distinguished 20-year career in international journalism with the Chicago Tribune. He is the author of several books including “Caught in the Middle: America’s Heartland in the Age of Globalism,” “Global Squeeze,” and “Global Chicago.”
    •  Nov. 10, 4:15 p.m.: The symposium will conclude with a lecture by award-winning author Jay Walljasper on “Rediscovering the Commons to Boost the Heartland’s Future.” Walljasper is a contributing editor to National Geographic Traveler, a fellow and editor for “On the Commons,” former editor of Utne Reader, author of “The Great Neighborhood Book,” and co-author of “Visionaries: People and Ideas to Change Your Life” and “All That We Share: How to Save the Economy, the Environment, The Internet, Democracy, Our Communities and Everything Else that Belongs to All of Us.”

    The symposium is co-sponsored by the Center for Prairies Studies, the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, and the Luce Program in Nations and the Global Environment. All symposium events will be held in the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, 1115 8th Ave., unless otherwise noted. Grinnell welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Information on parking and accessibility is available on the college website. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations at 641-269-3235 or


    Faulconer Gallery outreach events through semester for three concurrent exhibitions

    Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011 12:00 am

    Grinnell, IA -  

    Grinnell College’s Faulconer Gallery will host a number of public events through the remainder of the fall semester to highlight three ongoing exhibitions: “From the Book Forest: Commercial Publishing in Late Imperial China,” “Chinese Propaganda Posters” and works by Prairie-Style architects Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin. A Burling Library exhibition, “From Papyrus to Kindle: A Glimpse at the History of Printing in the Western World,” will also serve as a backdrop for public events.

    • Nov. 1, 7 p.m.: Center for International Studies Director David Harrison will present “The Pleasures of Primary Sources” in Burling Library, followed by presentations of treasured objects in special collections and the Print and Drawing Study Room.

    • Nov. 3, 4:15 p.m.: Gallery talk by Associate Professor of Chinese Jin Feng on fan fiction in web-based Chinese publishing.

    • Nov. 3, 7 p.m.: “The Griffins in Grinnell” gallery talk by Paul Kruty, professor of architectural history, University of Illinois.

    • Nov. 5, noon-3 p.m.: Tours of the Griffins’ Prairie-style Ricker House, 1510 Broad St., with exhibition curator Daniel Strong. Tours begin each half hour.

    • Nov. 6, 1:30 p.m.: Piano recital by Royce Wolf, associate professor of mathematics and statistics.

    • Nov. 11, 4:15 p.m.: Gallery talk by Assistant Professor of History Matthew Johnson on the visual evolution of Chinese political art.

    • Nov. 12, 1:30-3 p.m.: Community Day with hands-on activities, including calligraphy, papermaking, and architectural modeling. Refreshments will be served.

    • Nov. 17, 7:30 p.m.: Concert by Fresh Flutes, conducted by Claudia Anderson, applied music associate.

    • Nov. 18, 4:15 p.m.: Gallery talk by Scott Cook, professor of Chinese, on written texts and manuscripts in pre-Imperial China, before printing and paper.

    • Dec. 4, 2-3:30 p.m.: Tea and tours of Ricker House, 1510 Broad St., with local personalities Milton Severe, Jon Andelson, M.J. Zimmerman, and Strong.

    • Thursdays through Dec. 8, 12:15-12:50 p.m.: yoga with Monica St. Angela, co-sponsored by Live Well Grinnell. Mats provided for beginners and experienced practitioners.

    All events are in Faulconer Gallery unless otherwise noted. The Faulconer exhibitions are open until Dec. 11 during gallery hours: Tuesday-Wednesday, noon to 5 p.m., Thursday-Friday, noon to 8 p.m., Saturday-Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.; closed Monday. The Burling Library exhibition will close Nov. 21. For more information about the exhibitions and related programs, call 641-269-4660 or visit


    Writers@Grinnell readings include poet, novelist, filmmaker through year-end

    Monday, Oct. 17, 2011 12:00 am

    Grinnell, IA - Writers@Grinnell readings through the remainder of the year will offer listeners a full range of genre, from prose poems to novels and essays.

    Grinnell resident and poet Bruce Whiteman will present his recent collections Oct. 27 at 8 p.m. in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center on the Grinnell College campus. Whiteman’s current projects include a book of poems titled “Tablature” and a chapbook of prose poems, “Wretched in This Alone,” to be published this year. In addition to his poetry craft, Whiteman also reviews and translates French and Latin works.

    On Oct. 28, Iowa City essayist Jeff Porter will discuss his work in documentary film, literary nonfiction, and digital media. Porter teaches courses on radio and video essays, documentary filmmaking, and history of the essay at the University of Iowa. He has made four films and is currently writing a book on the history, theory, and practice of radio art.

    Novelist Jane Bernstein, professor of English and creative writing at Carnegie Mellon University, will read Nov. 3 from works including her “Rachel” memoirs of raising a developmentally disabled daughter. Bernstein’s book, “Seven Minutes in Heaven,” was also a Warner Brothers’ screenplay. Her essays and articles have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Ms., Creative Nonfiction, Massachusetts Review, and Glamour.

    On Nov. 4, Writers@Grinnell and the Center for the Humanities will co-sponsor a screening of “Rachel Is” by filmmaker Charlotte Glynn. She will lead a discussion following the 4:15 p.m. screening about her career in independent filmmaking. Glynn, who is the daughter of novelist Bernstein, was named one of “10 filmmakers to watch” in 2010 by The Independent. In 2009, “Rachel Is” received accolades for best documentary film at the Thin Line Film Festival.

    Writers@Grinnell will close fall semester programming with a Dec. 8 reading by student writers for “The Grinnell Review,” the college’s literary publication.

    All Writers@Grinnell events will be held at 8 p.m. in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, 1115 8th Ave. on the Grinnell College campus, unless otherwise noted. Grinnell welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Information on parking and accessibility is available on the college website. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations at 641-269-3235 or


    Buddhist studies scholar will be annual Gates Lecturer, convocation speaker

    Monday, Oct. 3, 2011 12:00 am

    Grinnell, IA -  

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

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

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

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

    Briefly: early October campus events

    Friday, Sep. 30, 2011 12:00 am

    Grinnell, IA - >Witness for Peace Speaker

    Nancy Garcia of the Center for the Orientation of Migrants in Oaxaca, Mexico, will speak on the Grinnell College campus, Wed., Oct. 5 at 4:15 p.m. in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center. Garcia is part of a Witness for Peace tour of the Upper Midwest, speaking about immigration trends and economic displacement issues. Her talk, titled “Railroaded by NAFTA/CAFTA: the Perilous Journey from Central America to the States,” is co-sponsored by the college’s Peace Studies Program, Center for International Studies, and the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs. Garcia is travelling with an interpreter who will translate her talk from Spanish.

    Connelly Lecture

    Renaissance literature specialist Patrick Cheney will deliver the Connelly Lecture at Grinnell College on Wed., Oct. 5 at 8 p.m. in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center. Cheney will address “Heroic Intimacy: A Literary History, Homer to Milton" from his background as Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Penn State University. Earlier this year, Cheney was awarded the Faculty Scholar Medal at Penn State for his contributions to the fields of Shakespeare and authorship studies. The Connelly Lecture honors the late Peter Connelly who taught in the Grinnell College Department of English from 1970 to 2000.

    Upcoming Theatre Production

    The Grinnell College Department of Theatre and Dance will perform the production of “naked,” Oct. 6-9, in Flanagan Arena Theatre in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts on the Grinnell campus. The production, directed by Craig Quintero, assistant professor of theatre at Grinnell, and Shih Pei-yu, a puppet artist from Taipei, combines puppetry, music, text and images. Curtain times are 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 6, 7, and 8 and 2 p.m. on Sun., Oct. 9. Tickets are required for the free performance and may be obtained at the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts box office beginning Mon., Oct. 3. The production’s subject matter is considered not suitable for children under the age of 16.

    Organ Recital

    Grinnell College organist Linda Bryant will present a recital of “Old and New” organ music on Sun., Oct. 9 at 2 p.m. in Herrick Chapel on the Grinnell campus. The program will include “old” music of Francois Couperin and Cesar Franck and “new” music of Michael Bedford, Dale Ramsey and Gwyneth Walker. Bryant’s recital will feature the college’s 1949 Aeolian-Skinner organ of 59 ranks which is on the register of the Organ Historical Society. The program is free and open to the public. Herrick Chapel is located at 7th and Park St. in Grinnell.


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