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Film Screening: Called to Walls

Dave Loewenstein ’88 is returning to campus — along with co-directors Nick Ward and Amber Hansen — for a panel discussion and film screening of Called to Walls. The free, public event will begin at 7 p.m. Friday, May 6, in ARH Auditorium, Room 302.

Called to Walls is "part road-movie, part inspirational small town drama, and part art documentary" that chronicles the making of giant murals in the city cores of places like Newton and Joplin, Mo.

For Loewenstein, there’s more to creating a mural than just painting the side of a building. He designs political activism prints and specializes in community-based collaborative public art projects. He’s worked on murals all over the United States, including Grinnell, as well as in Korea, Northern Ireland, and Brazil. In his experience, making a piece of public art has encouraged conversations (and offers of help) from passers-by, resulting in what he calls an “improvised gathering space.”

The events are sponsored by Alumni in the Classroom and Artists@Grinnell.

Dave Loewenstein ’88

Dave LoewensteinDave Loewenstein is a muralist, writer, and printmaker based in Lawrence, Kansas. In addition to his more than twenty public works in Kansas, examples of his dynamic and richly colored community-based murals can be found across the United States in Missouri, Oklahoma, Arizona, Arkansas, Texas, South Dakota, Mississippi, Iowa, Chicago, New Orleans, and New York City, and in Northern Ireland and South Korea.

Loewenstein’s prints, which focus on current social and political issues, are exhibited nationally and are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Yale University,  and the Center for the Study of Political Graphics in Los Angeles. He is the co-author of Kansas Murals: A Traveler’s Guide, a 2007 Kansas Notable Book Award Winner, published by the University Press of Kansas; and the co-director of the documentary film Creating Counterparts which won Best Documentary at the 2003 Kansas Filmmakers Jubilee.

Loewenstein has been recognized widely for his work, including the 2001 Lighton Prize for Arts Educator of the Year from Kansas City Young Audiences, the 2004 Tom and Anne Moore Peace and Justice Award given by the Lawrence Coalition for Peace and Justice, a 2006 Phoenix Award from the Lawrence Arts Commission, a 2007 Kansas Press Association 1st Place Columnist Award for his column “Blank Canvas,” and in 2014 he was named one of the founding Cultural Agents for the new U.S. Department of Arts and Culture. His most recent studio project is Give Take Give, funded by the Rocket Grants program.

Racialized State Violence and the Movement for Black Lives

In a free, public event, Damon Williams ’14 will present “Bigger Than the Cops: Racialized State Violence and the Movement for Black Lives” at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 28, in ARH Auditorium, Room 302.

After a brief presentation, Williams will join in a one-on-one conversation with Shanna Benjamin, associate professor of English. Alexandra Odom ’17 will introduce participants and set the stage for the discussion.

At 5 p.m., there will be a break for refreshments. Attendees will return at 5:15 p.m. for a workshop with Williams and Kesho Scott, associate professor of American studies and sociology.

Event sponsors include Alumni in the Classroom Program, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Center for the Humanities, Peace and Conflict Studies, the Departments of Sociology, American Studies, and Economics, and the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. You can request accommodations through Conference Operations and Events.

About Damon Williams ’14

After a brief presentation, Williams will join in a one-on-one conversation with Shanna Benjamin, associate professor of English at Grinnell College. Senior Alexandra Odom will introduce participants and set the stage for the discussion.

At 5 p.m., there will be a break for refreshments. Attendees will return at 5:15 p.m. for a workshop with Williams and Kesho Scott, associate professor of American studies and sociology at Grinnell.

Williams is a community producer, organizer, radio host, hip-hop performance artist, actor, teacher and public speaker from the south side of Chicago. He has performed across the country with his sister, Kristiana Colón, as the poetic duo April Fools. He also co-hosts "AirGo Radio," a weekly show on WHPK, Chicago Community Radio.

In addition, Williams co-chairs the Chicago chapter of Black Youth Project 100, a national political organization comprised of black youth ages 18-35. He co-edits the #LetUsBreathe Collective, an artistic activist organization that serves underprivileged people and creatively disrupts the anti-black racist status quo.

Committed to addressing economic inequality, Williams also serves as the co-director of the Ujamaa Jr. Investment Club, which promotes financial literacy and investment strategies.

Scarlet & Give Back Day - Success!

Scarlet & Give Back Day, April 7, 2016, was an opportunity for alumni, parents, students, faculty, staff, and friends of Grinnell to show pride in the College as a leader in providing a world-class liberal arts education.

As a bonus, an anonymous donor issued a philanthropic challenge: if 2,000 people gave to Grinnell before 11:59 p.m., CDT, the donor would give the College $1 million!

By 5:08 p.m. 2,000 donors had made gifts, and the $1 million challenge gift was unlocked.

But our anonymous donor was so impressed with the generosity of the Grinnell community, they offered a new challenge to continue this exciting event through the evening. For the "bonus" challenge, if 500 additional donors who had not given yet to Grinnell, gave by 11:59 p.m. CDT, the College would receive an additional $100,000.

Both Donor Challenges Met

At 10:15 p.m., the College announced that 500 additional donors had made gifts to unlock the $100,000 bonus challenge. By the end of the day, more than 3,000 donors made gifts unlocking the challenge matches totaling $1,100,000. 

Total donors: 3,376

Donor gifts: $ 284,533.48

Matching gift: $1,100,000

Scarlet & Give Back Day TOTAL: $1,384,553.48

Thanks-a-Million

Thank you to the alumni, parents, students, faculty, staff, and friends who made a gift in support of Scarlet & Give Back Day. We are proud of the extraordinary generosity displayed by Grinnellians worldwide. The event’s donor total set a new one-day record for donors to the College.

Because of the tremendous number of donors, we successfully met two donor challenges and unlocked $1.1 million in matching gifts.  

While this was structured as a participation challenge, please join us in taking a moment to recognize how important this day was for campus. Every day, we are grateful for donors who, through their gifts, invest in the future of the people and programs that make Grinnell such a distinctive and wonderful place.

Make a Gift

 

With Photosphere, You are (Almost) There

Have cellphone, will travel: that’s the mantra in today’s device-driven world. Now, with a smartphone camera and a special app, a new project is providing virtual tours of archaeological sites in northern Arizona.

The Kaibab National Forest’s website now displays amazing 360-degree views of actual pueblos and rock art sites, old cabins and fire lookouts, and historic railroads, trails, and roads.

Using Google Camera on a phone, archaeologist Neil Weintraub [’86] snaps a picture at a site — or actually 41 images stitched together, to form a collage called a “photosphere.” On screen, users can rotate the view and gain a sense of the entire surrounding landscape. When that image is downloaded into the Tiny Planets app, a compressed and more artistic rendering can be created.

Neil feels this technique will provide an unusual perception on archaeological and historical sites.  It provides for him additional clues as to why people built pueblos where they did many years ago.  Also the near three-dimensional pictures show how significant the sky and landscape was to people who resided in the region many years ago.

While it is not the same as being there in person, Weintraub is confident that this method will provide people a preview, so that when or if they do visit it in person, they will see it from a new perspective.

Originally appeared in KNAU Earth Notes. Republished with permission.

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.

Performing Locally, Thinking Globally

For many, theatrical performances are a way to explore the unfamiliar, to experience things that are different from the place and people they call home. For Leda Hoffmann ’09, however, theatre has been a tool for making a strange new place feel like home.

The daughter of a foreign service officer, Hoffmann’s life before Grinnell was spread across multiple continents. While some might see moving around between Malaysia, Indonesia, Nepal, Canada, and the United States as an obstacle to getting involved in a community, Hoffman dove headfirst into local theatre to make friends in each new city.  

So why did this internationally-inclined student choose to come to the middle of Iowa? The answer is simple: To get the benefits of international ideas without the distractions of a big city.

“I had never lived anywhere that wasn’t a big city, but going to Grinnell was easy for me,” she says. “Grinnell felt cosmopolitan enough that I knew if I went, there would be people from big cities, smaller towns, and all over the world.”

A theatre and dance major, Hoffmann directed numerous student-run plays during her time at Grinnell, working closely with theatre faculty. “Grinnell professors push you to do better,” she says. “To have professors and other students push you and go, ‘That’s not good enough, push harder. Ask more questions.’ That’s the whole point of going to Grinnell for me.”

This willingness to engage and challenge each other is part of what attracted Hoffman to Grinnell in the first place. “The people I talked to at Grinnell felt really honest and connected to what was going on there,” Hoffmann says. “It felt like a really strong community and one that felt true to whatever it wanted to be.”

After graduating, Hoffmann began her theatre career as an assistant lighting designer for Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C. and later as an education apprentice at Hartford Stage in Connecticut. More recently, she has worked her way from education coordinator to literary coordinator and director at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater.

“When I started as an intern at the Repertory Theater, I did a lot of teaching literacy through theatre. After two years, I had enough connections in town to become a director,” says Hoffmann. “As director of community engagement, I create and execute the programs that ignite positive change in our community. It’s a job that combines my love of theater with the social justice mindset Grinnell instilled in me.”

Pioneer Weekend 2.0: A Three Day Innovation Competition

What the heck is it?

Pioneer Weekend 2.0 is the second iteration of a three day innovation competition, sponsored by the Wilson Program.

Student innovators from different backgrounds work together in teams of 3­–6 people and complete a prototype of an idea that they come up with at the event.

Pioneer Weekend encourages hands-on experiences, innovation and leadership skills, and aspiring student entrepreneurs can find out if their startup ideas might be viable.

When is it?

Friday though Sunday, April 8–­10, 2016.

Register by Wednesday, April 6. Space is limited and spots are filling fast!

Why Should I attend?

Cash Prizes! $500 1st team; $300 2nd team; $100 3rd team.

Education: With a whole weekend dedicated to letting your creative juices flow, Pioneer Weekend is a perfect opportunity to work on a new platform, learn a new programming language, or just experiment. Step outside of your comfort zone! Pioneer Weekend is all about learning through the act of creating.

Networking: We all know it's not just about the idea — it's about the team. Pioneer Weekend attracts the community's best makers and doers and is a great way to find someone you can actually launch a startup with. Walk away with a cool story that could lead to a job or a potential company.

Fun and Friendship: This isn't just a happy hour. It’s a happy weekend! By spending a weekend working on solving real-world problems, you will build long-lasting relationships.

What to Expect

Beginning with open mic pitches on Friday, students will bring in their best ideas and inspire others to join their team.

Saturday, teams focus on customer development, validating their ideas, practicing Lean Startup methodologies, and building a minimal viable product. Mentoring sessions are provided by distinguished professionals.

On Sunday afternoon, teams present their prototypes and receive valuable feedback from a panel of experts. Prizes are awarded.

Mentoring

Student teams will be mentored and judged by distinguished alumni that are part of the Wilson Program Leadership Council.

Tribute to Ragnar Thorisson ’11

Ragnar Thorisson ’11 passed away Feb. 12, 2016, in his home in Seattle. In 2003, Ragnar was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a rare form of blood cancer. After several years in remission, the cancer returned in 2014. Throughout his illness, Ragnar maintained an outstanding sense of humor and compassion and inspired many people with an online journal of his experiences and insights. He is survived by his partner, Alyssa Penner ’10.

While on campus, Ragnar was an active, thoughtful, and respectful leader in the Grinnell community. He exemplified Grinnell’s ideals of passionate activism and respectful dialogue, demonstrating a deep commitment to building a just and equitable society free from hate and bigotry. In addition to completing an internship with the Gay-Straight Alliance, Ragnar served as the programming coordinator for the Stonewall Resource Center and was a student leader in campus organizations such as A Just Grinnell and the Stonewall Coalition. He was instrumental in the writing and passing of the Hate Crimes and Bias Motivated Incidents Response and Protocols.

Ragnar was also actively committed to serving the larger Grinnell community, undertaking two internships with Mid-Iowa Community Action for which he received their Outstanding Volunteer Award. He traveled to New Orleans over spring break three years in a row through ReNew Orleans to rebuild houses devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Ragnar was the recipient of the Judith Louise McKim Sociology Award and the President’s Medal.

Ragnar is remembered as a brilliant, caring, and sophisticated scholar and as an inspiring activist. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions, which can be made in Ragnar’s name, to support the Department of Sociology at Grinnell College or the Social Justice Fund Northwest. 

Read more about Ragnar’s story and his memorial services.

Make donations to Grinnell College Sociology Department
c/o Office of Development & Alumni Relations
733 Broad Street, Grinnell, Iowa 50112
Or donate online.

Peace and Conflict Studies Student Conference

A keynote address by a genocide studies scholar, an invited alumni address, and presentations of student papers and faculty-led discussions will highlight Grinnell College's fourth biennial Peace and Conflict Studies Student Conference on March 11-12.

All events are free and open to the public, and will take place in the Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, 1115 Eighth Ave., Grinnell.

The conference is sponsored by Grinnell College's Peace and Conflict Studies Program.

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

Conference Speakers

Ernesto Verdeja

Keynote address: "Can We Predict Genocide and Mass Killings"

7:30 p.m. Friday, March 11, Rosenfield Center, Room 101

Verdeja is assistant professor of political science and peace studies at the University of Notre Dame and executive director of the Institute for the Study of Genocide.

Verdeja, who received his doctorate from the New School for Social Research in New York City and directs undergraduate peace studies at Notre Dame. His research focuses on large-scale political violence, transitional justice, political reconciliation, war crimes trials, truth commissions, and reparations.

Leonard Merrill Kurz ’75

Alumni address: "A Grinnellian's Journey for Peace"

11:45 a.m. Saturday, March 12, Rosenfield Center, Room 101

Leonard Merrill Kurz ’75 is president of Forest Creatures Entertainment, a motion picture, television, and new media production. Kurz holds a master's degree in film and television production from Stanford University. He has written, produced, and directed several documentaries, including Free the Children.

Lunch will be provided.

Student Panels

This year, 19 students from Grinnell, Macalester, Skidmore, and Antioch colleges will present papers during the conference. The papers address a range of topics about peace and conflict from the social sciences, humanities, and sciences, reflecting the vibrant interdisciplinary variety of the field.

Papers are organized into themed panels, each moderated by a faculty member who has reviewed panel papers. After the 15-minute student presentations, faculty moderators will respond and facilitate a discussion session.

The following panels will occur throughout the two-day conference.

"The Body, Objectification, and Social Suffering"
4:15 p.m. March 11, Rosenfield Center, Room 225
Papers by: Vincent Benlloch ’18, Grinnell; Clara Moser, Skidmore College; and Jesus Villalobos ’17, Grinnell.
Faculty moderator: Abram Lewis, assistant professor of gender, women’s, and sexuality studies at Grinnell.
"Leaders, Parties and Their Alternatives: Political Violence and Social Transformation"
8:30 a.m. March 12, Rosenfield Center, Room 225
Papers by: Suha Gillani ’16, Michael Cummings ’18, Max Pilcher ’18 and Maxwell Fenton ’19, Grinnell.
Faculty moderator: Keynote speaker Verdeja.
"Communities, Identities and Conflicts"
10:15 a.m., March 12, Rosenfield Center, Room 225
Papers by: Keegan Smith-Nichols, Antioch College; and Stuart Hoegh ’17 and Karol Sadkowski ’16, Grinnell.
Faculty moderator: Todd Armstrong, professor of Russian at Grinnell.
"Troubling Childhood: Violence and Rights"
10:15 a.m. March 12, Rosenfield Center, Room 226
Papers by: Betty Varland ’18 and Mari Holmes ’17, Grinnell; and Jolena Zabel, Macalester College.
Faculty moderator: Tess Kulstad, assistant professor of anthropology at Grinnell.
"Sexual Violence in War and Peace"
1:30 p.m. March 12, Rosenfield Center, Room 225
Papers by: Emily Ricker ’18 and Hannah Boggess ’18, Grinnell; and Will Stolarski, Macalester College.
Faculty moderator: Patrick Inglis, assistant professor of sociology at Grinnell.
"National Politics of Exclusion and Their Consequences"
1:30 p.m. March 12, Rosenfield Center, Room 226
Papers by Nirabh Koirala ’17 and Lucia Tonachel ’18, Grinnell; Zoe Bowman, Macalester College.
Faculty moderator: Gemma Sala, assistant professor of political science at Grinnell.
 

Changing State, Federal Roles in U.S. Electric Power Sector

David Kathan ’78, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), will present “Changing State and Federal Roles in the U.S. Electric Power Sector” a noon Friday, March 11, in Robert N. Noyce ’49 Science Center, Room 2024. David Kathan holds a doctorate in public policy and management from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is an economist in the Office of Energy Policy and Innovation at FERC.

Recent developments in environmental and energy sustainability policy, along with the creation of a modern grid, are changing the relative roles and jurisdictional responsibilities of states and the federal government.

Kathan will provide examples of shifts in state and federal governance of these issues. He will focus on several recent Supreme Court cases and decisions that have the potential of further blurring the lines between state and federal jurisdiction, such as the recent FERC v. EPSA demand response decision. Kathan will discuss the implications of these blurred lines and shared responsibility for future environmental and energy policy.

Kathan joined FERC in 2002 after more than 20 years in energy consulting. At FERC, he works on market design issues, including demand response, smart grid, scarcity pricing, and resource adequacy.

Kathan has been the project lead for the commission’s annual demand response reports required by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and was the FERC staff lead on the National Action Plan on Demand Response. During 2013, he was on temporary assignment to the White House Council on Environmental Quality, where he focused on federal agency demand management issues, and was responsible for the issuance of a Presidential Memorandum on federal agency energy management in December 2013.

Prior to joining FERC, Kathan was a principal at ICF Consulting, where he consulted on economic, environmental, and quantitative issues related to the electric power industry, with a focus on demand response and electric system modeling.  He has also held posts at National Economic Research Associates, Synergic Resources Corporation, and the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment.

The Department of Chemistry is hosting the free, public event.

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