First year students from the class of 2021 receive their medallion's during a ceremony at Herrick Chapel


What makes a college unique? In part, its traditions, which unite the students of today and yesterday.

Here are a few of ours:

  • Social activism, from our Social Gospel roots through alt break and the Social Entrepreneurs of Grinnell.
  • Dressing up for the waltz.
  • 2 a.m. bakery runs to Danish Maid or ice cream and corn nuggets at Dari Barn.
  • Theme parties like the cross-dressing Mary B. James and the nostalgic Disco and 80s parties.
  • Lighthearted competition at Grinnell Relays.
  • Graffiti in the library bathrooms.
  • Loggias.
  • Self-governance.
  • Pagliai's Pizza.
  • The world's best study breaks.
  • Burling Library's jungle gyms.
  • Dial-a-Johns.
  • Mattress sledding in ARH.
  • Our integrated Young, Gifted, and Black gospel choir. (And yes, any student can join.)

And there's always waiting for the train to pass through campus.

  • Medallion on a printed Grinnell College seal


    With the College preparing to celebrate its quartoseptcentennial (that's 175 years), there's a lot of material to cover. From its abolitionist roots to the incubation of the Social Gospel movement, Grinnell has a deeply meaningful history and a legacy of activism.

  • Two singers and a director

    The Grinnell Songbook

    Songs about Grinnell, written by Grinnellians, evoke the traditions and timeless essence of the college. Except some of them are quite dated and very funny.