J.B. Grinnell is a towering figure in the history of Grinnell, Iowa. Josiah Bushnell Grinnell -- better known as J.B. -- was born in Vermont in 1821. He grew up a farm boy, working in the fields in the spring and summer and attending school only in the winter. He learned quickly and began teaching in a one-room schoolhouse by the age of 16. After spending a few years teaching, he left Vermont to attend Oneida Institute in New York, a radical institution that opposed slavery. It was there that Grinnell became a staunch abolitionist.
When Grinnell's English department brought Ralph Savarese to Iowa six years ago from Florida, he saw it as a chance to nourish a range of interests that -- to an outsider, at least -- looks not only exhaustive, but downright exhausting.
Carmen Valentin, newly tenured in Grinnell's Spanish department, also has scholarly and personal interests on two continents -- in her case, Europe and North America. A native of Spain, she received B.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Hispanic philology at the University of Valladolid, and cut her teeth as an instructor by teaching the university's courses in Spanish for foreign students.
Everyone has a different reason for pulling out the checkbook and writing a check to Grinnell. We asked several Grinnellians for their thoughts on philanthropy and the College.
Joel Spiegel '78
Why give to Grinnell? Trustee Joel Spiegel says the College needs to stress how giving throughGrinnell can make a difference in the world.
Shuchi Kapila believes that English is an academic discipline that is anything but merely academic.
"By the time I got to university, the study of English had become a cutting-edge discipline," she says. "I felt that in studying English I would be doing something to change the world of ideas."
Kapila, who grew up in Chandrigarh and New Delhi, came of age intellectually and academically during a time of foment in Indian society, when the roles of women and questions of class were being re-examined from bottom to top.
For Erik Simpson, English is more than a discipline; it's the family business.
He grew up in Olean, N.Y., the son of an English professor at St. Bonaventure University. His mother, too, is in academe, running the learning center at the local community college. His parents met -- as did he and his wife, Carolyn -- in an English graduate program. Simpson's father teaches the British Romantics; so does he.
That said, Simpson stresses that he never felt any pressure to walk the same path his parents walked. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Grinnell, IA - Grinnell College has announced the winners of the second annual Grinnell Prize honoring young innovators for social change: Cristi Hegranes, executive director and founder, Global Press Institute; Jacob A. Wood, president of Team Rubicon, and William B. McNulty III vice president of Team Rubicon (shared award); and Jane Chen, CEO of Embrace Innovations and co-founder, Embrace, and Linus Liang, Embrace co-founder and COO (shared award).
The Grinnell Prize, which received nominations from 45 countries, honors individuals under the age of 40 who have demonstrated leadership in their fields and who show creativity, commitment and extraordinary accomplishment in effecting positive social change. Each winning entry receives $100,000, half to the individual(s) and half to an organization the winner(s) designates, for a total of $300,000 awarded this year in prize monies.
The pool of nominees for the Grinnell Prize spanned a diverse array of social issues, including hunger relief, disaster relief, childhood education, economic development, the environment, literacy, community-produced news, youth arts, fair housing, violence prevention, immigration, GLBTQ, restorative justice, public access to healthcare delivery, children’s mental health, urban agriculture, and global peace, among others.
“I’m delighted to announce these truly inspiring individuals as the winners of the 2012 Grinnell Prize. These young men and women embody Grinnell’s long-standing mission to prepare students to go out into the world and use their education for the benefit of the common good,” said Grinnell College President Raynard S. Kington, M.D., Ph.D. “Since we launched the Grinnell Prize two years ago, we have learned about a remarkable number of young people who are striving to make the world a better place. Our 2012 winners represent the ideals of the prize program in every way possible.”
Details for the second annual Grinnell Prize winners are as follows:
- Cristi Hegranes, age 31, executive director and founder, Global Press Institute
After observing numerous problems within her profession while working as a foreign correspondent in Nepal, Hegranes founded the Global Press Institute (GPI) to confront two specific challenges she observed: “the decline of quality international journalism and the need for more women’s economic empowerment.” Through GPI, Hegranes uses journalism as a development tool to educate, employ and empower women to produce high-quality local news coverage that elevates global awareness and ignites social change.
Hegranes has built a network of professional women journalists throughout the developing world – all of whom earn a fair wage for reporting about their communities. Their unique coverage of issues, specifically those often overlooked by the mainstream media, contributes directly to community development and empowerment and also brings greater transparency and change to the way the world views their people and cultures.
- Jacob A. Wood, age 29, president and co-founder, Team Rubicon, and William B. McNulty III, age 35, vice president and co-founder
To help combat reintegration problems faced by many U.S. veterans, Wood and McNulty founded Team Rubicon to unite the skills and experiences of military veterans with medical professionals who deploy first-response teams to disaster areas. Since its founding in January 2010, Team Rubicon has successfully affected thousands of lives, including victims of global and national disasters and returning U.S. military veterans. While providing aid on the streets of Port-au-Prince in the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake, Team Rubicon veterans realized that natural disasters present many of the same problems that confront troops in Iraq and Afghanistan: unstable populations, limited resources and horrific conditions. The skills cultivated by those on the battlefields – emergency medicine, risk assessment and mitigation, teamwork and leadership –are invaluable in disaster zones. By helping veterans transfer these critical skills, Team Rubicon has given hundreds of military men and women a renewed sense of purpose and has pioneered a new paradigm in disaster response that helps fringe victims outside the scope of where traditional aid organizations venture.
- Jane Chen, age 33, CEO of Embrace Innovations and co-founder, Embrace, and Linus Liang, age 31, Embrace co-founder and COO
In 2007, Chen and Liang created a $200 infant warmer in response to a challenge posed during a Stanford University course and following a trip to Nepal where they witnessed firsthand the high infant death rates in developing countries due to hypothermia. Reduced from the normal $20,000 cost of an incubator, the infant warmer can be used in remote regions of the world without a continuous supply of electricity. Realizing that their innovation solved a small part of a large problem – specifically poor maternal and child health outcomes in developing countries – Chen and Liang are also working on preventive measures including education in remote areas such as Jhagadia, India and Banadir, Somalia, where their infant warmers are provided.
Embrace is also investing in research and development to create additional, low-cost health innovations to improve both women’s and children’s well-being. Early this year, Chen and Liang created the for-profit venture Embrace Innovations, which will license the technology from Embrace and work on manufacturing, distribution and research for new products.
The winners will visit the Grinnell College campus the week of November 12 to participate in the Grinnell Prize Symposium and awards ceremony. Through public lectures and interactions with students and the campus community, the winners will share their experiences and perspectives of how they were able to create innovative programs to effect positive social change.
Jerry Greenfield, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, will be the keynote speaker on Nov. 14. Before age 30, Greenfield and business partner Ben Cohen opened an ice cream shop in Burlington, Vt., that has since spawned a global brand. Though known for its ice cream, Ben & Jerry’s also has a strong commitment to “a sustainable corporate concept of linked prosperity.” Greenfield and Cohen are devoted not only to product and economic missions, but also to a progressive, nonpartisan social mission that “seeks to meet human needs and eliminate injustices” in their local, national and international communities by integrating the social concerns of their mission into day-to-day business activities.
Nominations for the 2013 Grinnell Prize are open through Nov. 5.
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.
Grinnell, IA - Amy Fraenkel, North American regional director of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), will deliver the Grinnell College Phi Beta Kappa Scholars’ Convocation lecture, Thurs., Apr. 26 at 11 a.m. in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center on the Grinnell campus.
Fraenkel, who is a 1985 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Grinnell, will discuss her 25-year career in environmental law and policy in the government and private sectors and the impact her liberal arts education has had on international environmental policy.
Prior to joining UNEP, Fraenkel served as senior counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and as a senior policy advisor for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She has served on U.S. delegations within UNEP and for the International Maritime Organization, World Trade Organization, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. A Harvard law graduate, Fraenkel also worked in private practice on international and environmental issues for law firms in New York and San Francisco.
Phi Beta Kappa is an academic honor society with more than a half million members in chapters at nearly 300 American colleges and universities. Newly elected members of Grinnell's Phi Beta Kappa chapter, Beta of Iowa, will be recognized at the lecture, as well as the winners of the annual Joseph F. Wall '41 Phi Beta Kappa Scholar's Award and Neal Klausner Sophomore Book Awards.
The Rosenfield Center is located at 1115 8th Ave. Grinnell welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. If accommodations are needed, please call 641-269-3235 as soon as possible to make a request.
Grinnell, IA -
Grinnell College senior Wadzanai Motsi has been awarded a prestigious Watson Fellowship for one year of independent study and travel abroad. Motsi, an independent major in international relations from Zimbabwe, is one of only 40 students nationwide to receive the $25,000 fellowship from the Thomas J. Watson Foundation.
Motsi plans to use the Watson Fellowship to learn about the motivation for political activism among students and youth in Tunisia, Ghana, the Czech Republic, and Cambodia.
“My objective is to attend student union meetings and work with youth organizations as these countries gear up for national elections,” Motsi said. “I plan to examine why young people are politically active and why they choose specific avenues to express their views.”
At Grinnell, Motsi has served as vice-president of the student government association, a member of the women’s varsity tennis team, and led a service trip to Nashville, Tenn. She hopes to return to Africa following her Watson year.
The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship Program offers college graduates of unusual promise a year of independent exploration and travel outside of the U.S. to foster effective participation in the world community. Within the past 10 years, 18 Grinnell students have won Watson Fellowships.
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.