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Andy Hamilton ’85 Named as Athletic Director

Andy HamiltonAfter completing a national search, Grinnell College today announced that Andy Hamilton ’85, who currently serves as interim athletic director, will become the College's next director of athletics and recreation, effective July 1.

Hamilton, who also serves as an associate professor physical education and head coach of both the men's and women's tennis teams, will succeed Greg Wallace, an associate professor of physical education who is on sabbatical this year. At the end of the 2015-16 academic year, Wallace will transition to senior faculty status and begin working with the admission office to assist in recruiting student-athletes.

"Andy Hamilton brings an outstanding combination of experience in coaching, teaching, mentoring and administrative management to this position," said Mike Latham, vice president for academic affairs and dean of Grinnell College. "His deep understanding of Division III athletics, record as a coach, excellence in the classroom, and commitment to the student-athlete ideal make him particularly well suited to this role. I am very confident he will provide excellent leadership for Grinnell athletics and the department of physical education."

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate, Hamilton has served as head men's tennis coach since 1995 and head women's tennis coach since 2007, leading both teams to multiple Midwest Conference championships.

During his career Hamilton also coached women's basketball, was a men's basketball assistant coach, and assisted with football. His tutorial course and offerings in sport sociology, sport journalism, and organization and administration of athletics have made valuable contributions to the curriculum. He will begin his new position following terms as assistant athletic director and interim athletic director.

Greg WallaceIn announcing Hamilton's appointment, Latham also recognized the accomplishments of Wallace and thanked him for his dedicated and outstanding service.

"In addition to his leadership as director of athletics and recreation since 2007, Greg served as head men's golf coach for 15 years and head football coach for 20 years," Latham said. "During that span, the football team compiled a remarkable 68 victories and Greg was voted Midwest Conference coach of the year three times, in 1994, 1997 and 1998. The 1998 team is recognized as the best squad in program history, winning the league title outright while posting a perfect 10-0 mark "

In 2011, Latham added, Wallace was honored with a 35-year membership plaque from the American Football Coaches. He also earned the 1990 Grinnell Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Educator Award in recognition of his devoted service to the College and the community.

Temporary Location for College Bookstore

Grinnell College recently purchased the former Gosselink's Hallmark Store at 933 Main St. to serve as the temporary location for the College Bookstore.

Although this location is walkable from campus, the College is exploring options to make it easier for students to visit this off-campus site, as well as campus delivery services for items ordered through the bookstore.

The bookstore — now housed in an addition to the east side of Carnegie Hall at 1210 Park St. — needs to move before the addition is torn down early in the construction of the new Humanities and Social Studies Complex. The complex will consist of new space constructed as an addition to the existing Alumni Recitation Hall and Carnegie Hall buildings, which will be renovated as part of the project.

This summer the bookstore will move into the former Gosselink's Hallmark Store. Although the building is in very good condition, the College plans to make several upgrades, such as constructing accessible restrooms and installing new exterior signage.

"We believe we have secured the best possible temporary location for the bookstore to move to this summer," said John Kalkbrenner, assistant vice president for auxiliary services and economic development.

Also during the summer, the College will combine its downtown Pioneer Bookshop at 823 Fourth Ave. with the bookstore in its new temporary site.

"Consolidating the operations of the College Bookstore and the Pioneer Bookshop," Kalkbrenner added, "will reduce costs because we will be operating one store rather than two at a downtown location that will be as convenient for local residents as the current Pioneer Bookshop."

Eventually, a permanent bookstore will be located in the neighborhood between downtown and campus referred to as the Zone of Confluence.

Before that can happen, however, Grinnell College will need to create an overall plan for the zone, including a new bookstore. At this time, the College is in the early stages of developing plans for the zone.

"As we move forward with developing a comprehensive plan for the Zone of Confluence," Kalkbrenner said, "one of our primary goals will be to identify a prime site for the permanent bookstore."

Madam Butterfly, Live in HD

Grinnell College will stream the Metropolitan Opera's production of Puccini’s Madam Butterfly at noon on Saturday, April 2, at the Harris Center Cinema.

Madam Butterfly is set in the Japanese port city of Nagasaki, one of the country’s only ports open to foreign ships. Soprano Kristine Opolais stars in the title role and has her heart broken by naval officer Pinkerton, portrayed by tenor Roberto Alagna.

Mariko Schimmel, associate professor of Japanese, will present the opera talk at 11:30 a.m. at Harris Center.

This will be the fourth opera of the spring season in which the Met is celebrating its 10th anniversary of “Live-in-HD” movie theater transmissions.

The two upcoming spring semester operas are:

  • Gaetano Donizetti’s “Roberto Devereux” at noon Saturday, April 16. Set in Westminster Palace in London between 1599 and 1601, the opera follows Queen Elizabeth I as she is compelled to sign the death warrant of the nobleman she loves, Robert Devereux. Soprano Sandra Radvanovsky plays Queen Elizabeth I, and tenor Matthew Polenzani portrays Devereux. There will be no opera talk before this broadcast.  
  • Richard Strauss’s “Elektra” on Saturday, April 30. Originally set in Greece after the Trojan War, this production is modernized to an unspecified contemporary setting. Soprano Nina Stemme, a maven of Strauss and Wagner’s heroines, stars as Elektra as she works to avenge her the murder of her father, Agamemnon. Angelo Mercado, assistant professor of classics, will present the opera talk.

Refreshments will be available for sale in the lobby of the cinema before each opera and during intermission.

Opera tickets are available at the Pioneer Bookshop, the Grinnell College Bookstore and at the door on the day of the show. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students, children, and Met Opera members.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Visitor and accessible parking is available in the lot to the east of the Harris Center. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations and Events.

Celebrate Humanities Day

Grinnell College will mark Celebrate Humanities Day, a daylong series of free, public events to honor the study of the humanities, on Monday, March 14.

U.S. Rep. Jim Leach will present the keynote, "Where Politics and Morality Conjoin and Disconnect," at 7:30 p.m. in Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101.

Leach represented Iowa’s second district in the House of Representatives for 30 years and later served as chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Under his leadership, the NEH created a Bridging Cultures program designed to promote understanding and mutual respect for diverse groups within the United States and abroad. Leach is now chair in public affairs and visiting professor of law in the College of Law at the University of Iowa.

Students will perform at 4 p.m. in Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, Sebring-Lewis Hall.

Student performances include:

  • "Choreography as Research" by Rosie Fuqua ’17, Ivy Kuhn ’17,  and Taylor Watts.
  • "Indo-Jazz Fusion from Banaras to New York," by Vincent Kelley ’17 and his band.

Kelley, drums and tabla, will be joined by Omri Benami ’17, piano; Tom Earnest ’17, bass; and Jacob Ziontz ’17, viola; and Assistant Professor of Music Mark Laver, saxophone.

The daylong celebration will culminate in a Pub Quiz trivia night at 9 p.m. in Lyle's Pub, in the basement of the Rosenfield Center.

This will be Grinnell College’s first Celebrate Humanities Day, which is organized by the College’s Center for the Humanities.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Rosenfield Center has accessible parking in the lot to the east. Room 101 is equipped with an induction hearing loop system. The Bucksbaum Center has accessible parking at the south entrance.  You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations and Events.

Manon Lescaut, Live in HD

Grinnell College will stream the Metropolitan Opera's production of Giacomo Puccini's Manon Lescaut at noon on Saturday, March 5, at the Harris Center Cinema.

A scene from Giacomo Puccini's Manon Lescaut at the Met. Jennifer Brown, associate professor of music, will present the opera talk at 11:30 a.m. at Harris Center.

This will be the third opera of the spring season in which the Met is celebrating its 10th anniversary of "Live-in-HD" movie theater transmissions. 

Manon Lescaut tells the story of desperate love, starring soprano Kristine Opolais as a country girl who transforms herself into a Parisian seductress, and tenor Roberto Alagna as the student who tries to win her love. Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi conducts this production, which is set in Nazi-occupied France.

The three upcoming spring semester operas are:

  • Puccini's Madam Butterfly at noon Saturday, April 2. Mariko Schimmel, associate professor of Japanese, will present the opera talk at 11:30 a.m.
  • Gaetano Donizetti's Roberto Devereux at noon Saturday, April 16. There will be no opera talk before this HD broadcast.
  • Richard Strauss's Elektra at noon Saturday, April 30. Angelo Mercado, assistant professor of classics, will present the opera talk.

Refreshments will be available for sale in the lobby of the cinema before each opera and during intermission.

Opera tickets are available at the Pioneer Bookshop, the Grinnell College Bookstore and at the door on the day of the show. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students, children, and Met Opera members.

The Office of the President has generously funded tickets for Grinnell College faculty, staff and students, and tickets are available for free at all locations. Family members not employed by the college are required to purchase tickets.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Visitor and accessible parking is available in the lot to the east of the Harris Center. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations and Events.

The Literary Prehistory of Virtual Reality

Michael Saler headshotMichael Saler, professor of history at the University of California, Davis, will discuss the prehistory of imaginary worlds in fantasy and science fiction as a source of modern enchantment when he speaks at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 2, in Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 101.

Saler's free, public lecture is titled "The Literary Prehistory of Virtual Reality: Modern Imaginary Worlds as Sites of Creativity."

"Professor Saler will speak about imaginary worlds as sites of creativity that encourage both escapism and social engagement. His talk will be of broad interest to historians and students of culture, fantasy and modernity," said Shuchi Kapila, professor of English and director of the Center for the Humanities.

"In our contemporary world," she added, "millions of people of all ages inhabit imaginary worlds, as we can see from the popularity of books and movies about Harry Potter and Sherlock Holmes, as well as The Lord of the Rings fantasy novel and film trilogy. Prof. Saler will discuss why this interest in fantasy is more than mere escape."

The College’s Center for the Humanities — which is engaged in a year-long exploration of the theme of Sites of Creativity: Streets, Salons, Studios, and Schools — is sponsoring Saler’s talk.

Saler is an accomplished scholar of modern European intellectual history and the author of The Avant-Garde in Interwar England: 'Medieval Modernism' and the London Underground and As If: Modern Enchantment and the Literary Prehistory of Virtual Reality. He also writes for The Times Literary Supplement, The Nation, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Rosenfield Center has accessible parking in the lot to the east. Room 101 is equipped with an induction hearing loop system.  You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations and Events.

So You Think You Can Write

Grinnell alumni return to campus for a two-day symposium on written communication Friday and Saturday, Feb. 19 and 20, 2016.

The free, public symposium features informational panels, writing challenges, an internship and information fair, and plenty of opportunities to talk directly with successful alumni in the field.

Schedule

Friday, Feb. 19

4 p.m. Freelance Writing Panel
Tequia Burt ’98, Courtney Sherwood ’00, and Molly McArdle ’09
Alumni Recitation Hall, Room 302
5:30 p.m. Dinner (Open only to those who preregistered by Feb. 12)
Rosenfield Center, Room 101

Saturday, Feb. 20

10 a.m. Writing Challenge Events
Students can take part in writing challenges judged by
Christa Desir ’96 and Katie In ’13.
Rosenfield Center, Room 101
12:30 p.m. Lunch With Alumni
Rosenfield Center Marketplace,
Rooms 224 A and B
2 p.m. Writing Careers: Years in the Making Panel
Dan Weeks ’80, Jeanne Pinder ’75, Jim Bickal ’82, and Molly Backes ’02
Rosenfield Center, Room 101
3:30 p.m. Internship and Information Fair
Speak one-on-one with our guest alumni.
Bucksbaum Center for the Arts rotunda
5 p.m. Networking Hour with Alumni
Refreshments will be served.
Rosenfield Center, second floor lobby
6 p.m. Dinner (Open only to those who preregistered by Feb. 12)
Rosenfield Center, Room 101

Guest Alumni Panelists

M. Molly Backes ’02

M. Molly Backes ’02 is the author of the young adult novel The Princesses of Iowa (Candlewick Press, 2012), which was named Chicago Public Library’s Best of the Best Fiction for Teens (2013) and Forever Young Adult’s Best YA Books of 2012 and was a finalist on NPR.org’s Best-Ever Teen Novels list in 2012. She has performed her personal essays at reading series including Essay Fiesta, Funny Ha-Ha, Is This a Thing?, and Sunday Salon and is a frequent guest at writing conferences and festivals across the country. Since graduating from Grinnell, Backes has had a number of careers, including middle school English teacher, wildlife conservation educator, arts administrator, marketing department copy writer/editor, and writing coach. She is currently an M.F.A. candidate at Iowa State University, where she teaches composition and creative writing.

Jim Bickal ’82

Jim Bickal ’82 began his career in 1984 as an unpaid intern for Minnesota Public Radio News. He has worked as a reporter and producer for MPR and Twin Cities Public Television. Some of the stories he has covered include the Minnesota Twins’ improbable 1987 World Series championship, the election of Jesse Ventura as governor of Minnesota in 1998, the 2002 Minnesota Senate campaign after the death of Paul Wellstone, and the I-35W bridge collapse in 2007. He has produced two hour-long radio documentaries. One traces a song (“The Rock Island Line” by Little Richard) to its origins, and the other looks at how growing up in Minnesota shaped Bob Dylan’s music. He is currently developing a podcast centered around the events of May 10, 2013. That’s when an unarmed man fleeing arrest broke into Bickal’s home in Minneapolis and was killed by police officers in his basement.

Tequia Burt ’98

Tequia Burt ’98 is a veteran editor and writer with more than 10 years of experience covering marketing, business, media and government. Before becoming a freelancer last year, she was editor in chief of FierceCMO. Burt earned her M.S.J. from Medill in 2005.

Christa Soule Desir ’96

Christa Soule Desir ’96 writes contemporary fiction for young adults. Her novels include Fault Line, Bleed Like Me, and Other Broken Things. She lives with her husband, three children, and overly enthusiastic dog outside Chicago. She is a founding member of the Voices and Faces Project, a nonprofit organization for rape survivors that conducts an international survivor-based testimonial writing workshop, including working with incarcerated teens. She also works as a romance editor at Samhain Publishing and once a week can be found working the stacks at Anderson’s Bookshop.

Katie In ’13

Katie In ’13 is an interdisciplinary media artist and musician based in Grinnell. She graduated from Grinnell College in 2013 with a B.A. in sociology and was a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow and recipient of the Ladies Education Society Award. A socially-minded observer of the world and creator of things, In uses video, music, and performance to tell stories and communicate ideas. She is part of the collaborative group Tiny Circus as well as the Midwest-based collective and band called The Plain Mosaic.

Molly McArdle ’09

Molly McArdle ’09 is Brooklyn Magazine’s books editor and a regular contributor to Travel + Leisure. She’s also founding editor of The Rumpus’ Tumblr (The Rumblr) and the creator of The Daily GIF. Her essays, criticism, and reporting have appeared in The Believer, the Los Angeles Review of Books, BuzzFeed, The Rumpus, Atlas Obscura, Bitch Magazine, Pacific Standard, Audubon Magazine, The Oyster Review, Fusion, and Library Journal, where she was an editor on the book review. She was a member of Grinnell’s first D.C. Posse and is working on a novel.

Jeanne Pinder ’75

Jeanne Pinder ’75 is founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts.com, a New York City journalism startup bringing transparency to the health care marketplace by telling people what stuff costs. She founded ClearHealthCosts after volunteering for a buyout in 2009 from The New York Times, where she worked for almost 25 years as an editor, reporter and human resources executive. Pinder is a fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University. She was born and raised in Grinnell. She started working as a journalist in middle school at The Grinnell Herald-Register, her family’s twice-weekly independent paper. Before The Times, she also worked at The Des Moines Register and The Associated Press. She is a graduate of Grinnell College with a bachelor’s in Russian and studied Slavic linguistics in graduate school at Indiana University. She used to teach Russian, and she lived for a time in what was then the Soviet Union.

Courtney Sherwood ’00

Courtney Sherwood ’00 worked in newspapers for 12 years, first as a reporter then as an editor, before frustrations with the shrinking print industry prompted her to quit her day job to freelance in 2012. She continues to cover hard news from Portland, Ore., with pieces appearing in a wide range of outlets, including Science magazine online, Vice, The Irish Times, the Canadian Broadcast Corp., and many others. Most of her time is divided between NPR-affiliate Oregon Public Broadcasting, where she is a radio editor and web producer; Thompson Reuters, a news service for which she is one of two Oregon correspondents; and The Lund Report, which publishes her wonky analyses of how money moves the health care industry.

Dan Weeks ’80

Dan Weeks ’80 majored in American Studies at Grinnell and earned an M.A. in nonfiction writing from the University of Iowa Graduate Writing Program. He has spent the past  30-plus years as a magazine and book writer, photographer, editor, ghostwriter, editorial manager, publishing consultant, and freelancer. His magazine profiles, features, essays, and photographs on subjects ranging from adventure travel to zinnias have appeared in dozens of national, international, and regional magazines. His book Deadliest Catch: Desperate Hours, a companion to the Emmy-nominated reality show about Bering Sea crab fishermen, was a Discovery Channel best seller. He edited The Grinnell Magazine from 2010–2013 and currently edits The Iowan magazine.

College to Buy Grinnell Golf and Country Club

Grinnell Golf and Country Club membership voted in a special meeting Tuesday, Feb. 9, in favor of the College's purchase of the Club. The vote was 107-1. The Club's Board also unanimously approved the sale.

Club representatives approached the College about a possible sale late last summer. Under the terms of the College's 2001 investment in the Club, it has first right of refusal on any proposed sale. After meeting with the Club representatives, the College began exploring its options and conducting preliminary due diligence. A purchase agreement was completed in January, and agreement on terms was reached shortly thereafter.

The purchase includes the grounds, buildings, and equipment. The College intends to operate the Club as a public golf course. The swimming pool is also planned as a public facility, pending assessment of its condition and necessary repairs. All existing contracts for use of the facilities will be honored. The College will pay taxes on the property to the City of Grinnell.

As transition plans take shape, the College will update Club membership accordingly.

According to Kate Walker, vice president for finance and treasurer for the College, the purchase of 56 acres directly adjacent to campus is a win-win for the College and the community.

“It preserves a treasured community resource whose history is deeply tied to the College's,” Walker says. “Founded by College faculty in 1899, the Club's sale in some ways brings things full circle. The College sees this sale as an opportunity to continue to operate the Club as a value-add for the community. Furthermore, acquiring the Club protects the College and the community against the risk of purchase and loss of this prime property to another party.”

The goal, Walker adds, is to complete the transaction in time to open the course for the 2016 season.

Volunteer Opportunity at CERA

Savanna Restoration and Greenhouse Work Day​

Join Grinnellians and other volunteers on Saturday, February 20, 2016, for a volunteer work day at  Conard Environmental Research Area (CERA). 

The group will be working on two projects:

  • savanna restoration mop-up (making piles and salvaging firewood), and
  • transplanting prairie and savanna seedlings in the greenhouse.

Work gloves and light refreshments will be provided; please bring your own water bottle.

Wear clothes and boots appropriate for work outside in the snow unless you’d like to stay in the greenhouse. 

Travel

If you plan to drive out to CERA, please park by the Environmental Education Center and meet the group at the Maintenance Shed at 10 a.m.

Need a ride? Please contact Nick Koster to reserve one. Riders will meet at the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center drop-off area at 9:30 a.m. 

Antonio Sanchez, Anat Cohen with The Gabriel Espinosa Latin Jazz Sextet

Grammy-winning drummer Antonio Sanchez — who composed the score for the 2014 film Birdman — and renowned clarinetist-saxophonist Anat Cohen will join  The Gabriel Espinosa Latin Jazz Sextet for a free, public concert with at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19, in Sebring-Lewis Hall, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts.

Tickets, which are free, are required for admission. They will be available beginning Tuesday, Feb. 16, at the Bucksbaum Center Box Office.

A bassist from Merida, Mexico, Espinosa has been performing since he was 14. He received his bachelor's degree in music from Central College in Pella, Iowa, and went on to earn a diploma in arranging from Berklee College of Music in Boston and a master's degree in music from the University of North Texas. In his last year at Berklee, Espinosa formed the group Ashanti with his friend and classmate George Robert.

Espinosa returned to Central College to become director of jazz studies but continued to perform with Ashanti, recording three albums with the group.

He also recorded three more albums after Ashanti: From Yucatan to Rio as a solo artist, and Celebrando and Samba Little Samba with virtuoso jazz harmonica player Hendrik Meurkens of Germany.

Cohen and Sanchez played a few tracks as guest artists on all three of these albums. The concert at Grinnell primarily will feature music from the three albums.

In 2014 the Greater Des Moines Community Jazz Center honored Espinosa with the Iowa Jazz Hall of Fame award for his years of leadership in jazz music. 

Cohen has been honored as Clarinetist of the Year eight years in a row by the Jazz Journalists Association. She also received the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publisher's Wall of Fame prize for composition and musicianship in 2009. She has toured worldwide with her quartet, headlining at jazz festivals and performing at top jazz clubs.

Sanchez, a five-time Grammy-winning drummer born in Mexico City, has been playing the drums since age 5. After moving to New York City, he became famous on the international jazz scene, playing drums on more than 100 albums and performing with some of the biggest names in jazz, including Chick Corea, Toots Thielemans and the late Michael Brecker. Sanchez  won the Sound Stars Award for Best Film Score at the 2014 Venice Film Festival for his work on Birdman.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations and Events.