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Media Relations

"Can China Save the World?" convocation by modern China historian Karl Gerth '88

Monday, Sep. 19, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA - Modern China historian Karl Gerth will question “Can China Save the World?” at a Scholars’ Convocation on Thurs., Sept. 29 at 11 a.m. in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center on the Grinnell College campus.

Drawing on research in his latest book, “As China Goes, So Goes the World: How Chinese Consumers are Transforming Everything,” Gerth explains how—from brand choice to environmental quality—citizens around the world are affected by the everyday choices made by the Chinese population.

Gerth, a 1988 Grinnell graduate, has conducted research in China and Japan for more than 25 years, with special interests in consumerism, nationalism, environmentalism, and everyday life under communism. His previous book, “China Made: Consumer Culture and the Creation of the Nation,” focused on the role of nationalism in forming a consumer culture in pre-World War II China. He currently teaches at the University of Oxford, where he is a fellow and tutor at Merton College.

Gerth’s Grinnell lecture is part of the college’s ongoing Scholars’ Convocation series. 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 calendar@grinnell.edu.

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Rockjazz pianist ELEW to perform in Herrick Chapel

Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

Rockjazz pianist ELEW will bring his physical playing style to Grinnell College, Thurs., Mar. 1, at 7:30 p.m. in Herrick Chapel on the Grinnell campus. ELEW combines ragtime, rock and pop with “mesmerizing piano theatrics” to create a style that has complemented tours for artists such as Josh Groban, Wynton Marsalis, Elvin Jones, Roy Hargrove, and Cassandra Wilson, among others.

Known as an “imposing, explosive force” at the keyboard, ELEW released his first album in 2010 featuring “blistering piano recreations” of tunes by Coldplay, The Killers, and others in his own rock-jazz tradition. His second CD, “ELEW Rockjazz Vol. 2,” is expected to be released early this year with interpretations of classics from Michael Jackson to Katy Perry to the Doors.

Tickets are required for the Grinnell performance and may be obtained at the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts box office, beginning Mon., Feb. 27, noon-5 p.m. Limited tickets are also available from the Pioneer Bookshop in downtown Grinnell. For ticket questions, call 641-269-3101 or go tohttp://www.grinnell.edu/car/confops/publicevents/.

The ELEW performance at Grinnell is sponsored by the college’s Public Events Committee. Herrick Chapel is located at 1128 Park St. 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 orcalendar@grinnell.edu.

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New dean of admission and financial aid appointed

Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

Grinnell College President Raynard S. Kington has appointed Joseph P. Bagnoli, Jr., of Berea College to lead Grinnell’s strategic recruitment and financial aid programs. Bagnoli will join the Grinnell staff on Feb. 23 as vice president for enrollment and dean of admission and financial aid.

Bagnoli currently serves as dean of enrollment and academic services at Berea, his alma mater, with responsibility for admission, financial aid, athletics, academic services, and student records and accounts. Berea College, located in Berea, Ky., is recognized for its abolitionist founding as the first interracial, coeducational college in the South and its unique student labor program in which all students participate to earn a tuition-free education.

“Joe’s impressive record of service at Berea, both personally and professionally, demonstrates high-level commitment to the goal of strategically enrolling a diverse student body, while balancing challenging demographics and economic times,” Kington said. “He shares Grinnell’s drive for social good and academic excellence, and our desire to extend educational opportunities to disadvantaged college-bound students.”

Bagnoli previously served as director of admissions and financial aid at Concord College in West Virginia and as an admissions counselor at Berea. He holds a master’s degree in student personnel services from Eastern Kentucky University and is completing his Ph.D. in educational policy studies and evaluation at the University of Kentucky.

“Grinnell’s history of social action and its reputation as a leader in access to higher education among elite liberal arts colleges compelled me to pursue this position,” Bagnoli said. “I believe Grinnell can play an increasingly important role in the diversification of higher education nationally by acting upon its own convictions, and I look forward to engaging in that work.” Bagnoli is the second member of his family to join the Grinnell campus; his oldest daughter is currently a first-year student.

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.

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Briefly: Media and Politics

Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA - The Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations and Human Rights will sponsor a Feb. 1 campus visit from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Executive Editor David Shribman. Shribman will discuss “American Politics and the Press in a Period of Transition” at 4:15 p.m. in JRC 101.

Shribman joined the Post-Gazette in 2003 from The Boston Globe where he was assistant managing editor, columnist and Washington bureau chief. His previous experience includes national politics coverage for The Wall St. Journal and The New York Times, as well as reporting for The Washington Star and The Buffalo Evening News. In 1995 he received a Pulitzer Prize for his “My Point” column which is syndicated nationally.

Shribman’s visit to Grinnell will also include meetings with students and the Career Development Office to arrange potential journalism internships.

"Sandow Birk's American Qur'an" open in Faulconer Gallery

Friday, Jan. 20, 2012 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA - “Sandow Birk’s American Qur’an” will open Fri., Jan. 27 at Grinnell College’s Faulconer Gallery. The exhibition, organized by The Andy Warhol Museum of Pittsburgh, will be on view in Grinnell through Mar. 18.

Birk, a California-based artist, has been engaged for the past six years in transcribing and illustrating an English translation of the 114 Suras, or chapters, of the Qur’an, Islam’s sacred text. Based on traditional models of manuscript illumination, Birk’s adaptation combines handwritten text with images drawn from contemporary American life. The Faulconer Gallery exhibition includes 85 painted panels from the ongoing project, which the artist plans to complete in 2014.

Birk was drawn to the Qur’an out of curiosity, seeking to educate himself about a book that many have formed opinions about, but fewer have actually read. “Given the global situation, the Qur’an may be the most important book on Earth, but few Americans know anything about it,” Birk told the New York Times in 2009. “I’m attempting to create visual metaphors that go along with the text and hopefully make it more accessible to Americans, more relevant to American life.”

Six of the panels in the exhibition, representing chapters 36 and 37 from the total 114, are part of Grinnell College’s permanent art collection, purchased in 2010.

“The purpose of the college’s art collection is education, and it is the Faulconer Gallery’s mission to use the collection in provocative ways to foster greater understanding,” said Daniel Strong, associate director of the gallery and curator of exhibitions. “Here is an artist who, when he’s completed the project, will have spent a decade of his life studying and interpreting the Qur’an solely for the purpose of educating himself about it.”

Strong explains that while most of the imagery is relatively benign, the artist found it impossible to avoid controversial events that have recently defined American life, such as devastation by Hurricane Katrina (one of the chapters in the college’s collection) and at the World Trade Center (in a chapter titled “Smoke”). “Art is a perfect means to launch the discussion. The Qur’an can’t be reduced to a few incendiary passages, nor can they or should they be disregarded. This exhibition is a quest for fuller understanding through beautifully executed art,” Strong said.

Educational programming, organized by Tilly Woodward, curator of academic and public outreach, also provides a wide variety of platforms to learn about Islam, including an open invitation for reading of the Qur’an. “Gallery visitors are invited to read aloud from the Qur’an in any language that feels right to them. We believe their experience will be enhanced from listening and reading. All are welcome to come,” Woodward said.

All events sponsored by Faulconer Gallery are free, open to the public, and located in the gallery unless otherwise noted:  

  • Jan. 27, 4:15-6 p.m.: Opening reception.
  • Jan. 30, 4:15 p.m.: Panel discussion on “Islam in Iowa” with Kamal Hammouda, adjunct Muslim prayer leader; Mervat Youssef, assistant professor of French and Arabic; and Imam Taha Tawil of the Mother Mosque of America, who will speak on their experiences as Muslims in the state.
  • Feb. 9, 4:15 p.m.: Student roundtable on “The Qur’an in America,” facilitated by Caleb Elfenbein, assistant professor of religious studies and history.
  • Feb. 11, 1:30-3:30 p.m.: Community Day with a variety of hands-on activities.
  • Feb. 15, 7:30 p.m.: Open mic night, co-sponsored by Grinnell Review and Grinnell College Libraries, featuring original works by Grinnell students and others who wish to share favorite writers or composers.
  • Feb. 16, 4:15 p.m.: “Visualizing Islamophobia” discussion with Max Leung, lecturer in sociology, based on his research on the identities of Arabs and Muslims in America.
  • Feb. 28, 4:15 p.m.: Gallery talk by artist Sandow Birk, discussing his ongoing project.
  • Thursdays, Feb. 9-Mar. 15, 12:15-12:50 p.m.: Yoga with Monica St. Angelo. Co-sponsored by Live Well Grinnell. Mats provided for beginners and experienced practitioners.

More educational events will be offered in March. Faulconer Gallery, located in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, 1108 Park St. on the Grinnell campus, is open Tuesday-Wednesday, noon to 5 p.m., Thursday-Friday, noon to 8 p.m., Saturday-Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.; closed Monday. For more information about the exhibition and related programs, call 641-269-4660 or visit www.grinnell.edu/faulconergallery.

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Events to honor Martin Luther King Jr. as second semester opens

Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

As classes open Jan. 23 for the second semester, Grinnell College has scheduled two events to honor the late Martin Luther King, Jr.: a Jan. 26 lecture by White House director John Silvanus Wilson, Jr., and a Jan. 30 lecture by Civil Rights author Tomiko Brown-Nagin.

Wilson, who is executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), will speak on “Martin Luther King and ‘the Beloved Campus’” at 11 a.m. in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center. Wilson accepted the White House position in 2009 with the challenge from President Barack Obama to ensure that the country’s 105 HBCUs are a significant force in reaching the U.S. goal for the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020. His career includes 16 years as an administrator at M.I.T. and later as executive dean at George Washington University. The Jan. 26 event is co-sponsored by the Grinnell College Office of the President and the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations and Human Rights.

On Jan. 30, Brown-Nagin will speak on “Wealth Inequality as a Civil Rights and a Women’s Rights Issue: What History Teaches” at 7:30 p.m. in Room 101 of the Rosenfield Center. Brown-Nagin is the Justice Thurgood Marshall Distinguished Professor of Law and professor of history at the University of Virginia School of Law. Her book “Courage to Dissent,” about lawyers, courts and community-based activism during the Civil Rights era, was recently published by Oxford University Press. The Jan. 30 event is co-sponsored by the Rosenfield Program and the University of Iowa College of Law. A book-signing will be held at the campus bookstore at 4:15 p.m. on Jan. 30.

For more information about the Rosenfield Program, contact Sarah Purcell, purcelsj@grinnell.edu, 641-269-3091. The Rosenfield Center is located at 1115 8th Ave. on the Grinnell campus. 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 orcalendar@grinnell.edu.

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Community enhancement mini-grants applications due Jan. 27

Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

Grinnell College is now accepting applications for Community Mini-Grants. The Mini-Grant Program provides catalyst funding for small-to mid-scale projects to help Grinnell become a more attractive place to live, work and play. Mini-grants, which range from $1,000 to $7,500, focus on cultural, recreational and educational initiatives including those benefitting the social needs of the community, as well as projects that enhance the safety, beauty and economic vitality of the local area.

Applications for 2012 must be received in the Office of Community Enhancement and Engagement by the January 27 deadline. Additional application information is available at http://www.grinnell.edu/offices/communityenhance/minigrant/.

In 2011, community mini-grants were awarded to 11 local projects: 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.

Mini-grant applications will be reviewed by Monica Chavez-Silva, director of community enhancement and engagement, and an advisory committee of Grinnell College faculty and staff, college students from the local area, and community representatives. Awardees will be notified by March 1.

Requests for support less than the mini-grant minimum of $1,000 are considered throughout the year on a case-by-case basis by the Office of Community Enhancement and Engagement. Additional information about the college’s gifts and grants to the community is available at http://www.grinnell.edu/offices/communityenhance/giftsandgrants.

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Four Grinnell students awarded Gilman Scholarships for study abroad

Friday, Dec. 23, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

Four Grinnell College students have received federally-funded Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships to support study abroad during second semester 2011-2012.

The Gilman Scholarship is a federal grant program that “provides awards for U.S. undergraduate students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding to participate in study abroad programs worldwide.” The program aims to diversify the kinds of students who study abroad and the countries and regions where they go by supporting undergraduates who might otherwise not participate due to financial constraints. The four Grinnell third-year students and their programs are:

• Debbie Cifuentes Ramirez, a Spanish major from Los Angeles, Calif., will study in Argentina. At Grinnell, she is a member of the Student Organization of Latin@s, a Mellon Mays Fellow and aspiring college instructor, a member of the Spanish department’s educational policy committee, and a Posse Foundation Scholar. She hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in Spanish or Latin American Studies following her Grinnell education.

• Zafreen Farishta, a political science major from Morton Grove, Ill., will study in France and Morocco. At Grinnell, she is involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters, the student chapter of NAACP, and on the campus library’s educational policy committee. She plans to pursue a career in public health or law.

• Andrew Lange, an art and German double major from Carroll, Ia., will study public transportation and its relationship to access to green spaces in Freiburg, Germany. He is a student advisor at Grinnell and has contributed artwork to the college’s literary journal. Lange was also awarded the Adelyn Dougherty Leander Urban Issues Scholarship to study in Freiburg and plans to pursue a career in architecture.

• Nancy Repreza, a psychology and sociology double major from Miami, Fla., will study in Denmark. She is a Mellon Mays Fellow and aspiring college instructor, a student advisor in the residence halls, and a recruiting assistant in the Office of Admission. She expects to attend graduate school in psychology or sociology after graduation.

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.

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Slate magazine to record "Political Gabfest" from campus Dec. 7

Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011 12:00 am | Contact: Hosts David Plotz and John Dickerson will also be interviewed on Iowa Public Radio at noon on Mon., Dec. 5.

Grinnell, IA -  

Slate Magazine’s “Political Gabfest” will be recorded from the Grinnell College campus, Wed., Dec. 7. Slate editor David Plotz will be joined in the talk-show style podcast by CBS political director John Dickerson andEmily Bazelon, Slate senior editor.  

An audience participation Q&A will be included in the one-hour live taping, which will begin at 6 p.m. in Harris Center Cinema.  The Gabfest podcast will be posted to the Slate site following the Grinnell recording.

Slate, a daily web magazine owned by the Washington Post, offers analysis and commentary on politics, news, business, technology, and culture. The magazine, founded in 1996, has won awards for its strong editorial voice and sharp take on issues of the day.  During their campus visit, the show hosts will also meet with Grinnell students to discuss careers in journalism. 

Slate’s visit to Grinnell, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the college’s Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs; for additional information, contact Sarah Purcell, director of the Rosenfield Program,purcelsj@grinnell.edu, 641-269-3091. Members of the media who wish to cover the Slate visit should contact Cindy Deppe, deppec@grinnell.edu, 641-269-4834; 641-990-7745 for details.  Harris Center is located at 1114 10th Ave., Grinnell.         

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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-