Dr. Raynard S. Kington was appointed President of Grinnell College in August, 2010. Prior to coming to Grinnell, he served in a range of positions at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) including NIH Principal Deputy Director and NIH Acting Director, NIH Associate Director for Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, and Acting Director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Before joining NIH, he was a division director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where he led the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, one of the nation’s largest studies assessing the health of the American people. He has been a Senior Scientist at the RAND Corporation and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at UCLA. Additionally, he was elected to the Institute of Medicine (now, the National Academy of Medicine — NAM) of the National Academies of Science in 2006. He currently serves on the Governing Council of the NAM and on the Boards of Directors of the American Council on Education, the Des Moines Art Center, the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, and the Associated Colleges of the Midwest.

Education and Research

Dr. Kington attended the University of Michigan, where he received his B.S. with distinction at age 19 and his M.D. at age 21. He subsequently completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Michael Reese Medical Center in Chicago. He was then appointed as a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania. While at the University of Pennsylvania, he completed his M.B.A. with distinction and his Ph.D. with a concentration in Health Policy and Economics at the Wharton School, and was awarded a Fontaine Fellowship. He received board certifications in Internal Medicine, Public Health and Preventive Medicine, and Geriatric Medicine. His research has focused on the social determinants of health and more recently on diversity in the scientific workforce.

Grinnell Leadership

Dr. Kington values a commitment to strategic and inclusive leadership and clear, thoughtful, and fair decision-making processes. His personal and professional lives are rooted in a deep commitment to social responsibility. A priority for his tenure as president is strengthening the connection between academic excellence in the arts, humanities, sciences, and social studies, as well as graduates’ ability to go into the world and transform it. His dedication to providing opportunities for students to connect their classroom and co-curricular learning has helped students integrate their academic goals with their post-graduate aspirations by participating in the expanded programs offered by the Center for Careers, Life, and Service, and the Donald and Winifred Wilson Center for Innovation and Leadership.

He has promoted innovation and entrepreneurship on campus, for example, creating the Grinnell Prize and the Innovation Fund. The annual $100,000 Grinnell Prize honors individuals who have demonstrated leadership in their fields and who show creativity, commitment, and extraordinary accomplishment in effecting positive social change. Prizewinners spend a week on campus, showing students how they can navigate the world’s complexities and responsibly contribute to the common good. Each year the Innovation Fund supports experimentation and imagination by providing up to three years of support of up to $50,000 per year for projects designed to develop the College’s core mission of teaching and learning. All of these opportunities enable students to explore issues of purpose and justice, on campus and off, further empowering them to make informed choices in their lives and careers.

Campus Renewal

Under Dr. Kington's leadership, the College is investing nearly $140 million in campus renewal that will provide Grinnell students with the best of 21st century teaching and learning opportunities. A $112 million complex will house and connect the teaching and scholarship of the humanities and social sciences, complementing the College's existing center for the sciences. Innovative teaching and learning opportunities across all disciplines make it possible for Grinnell to graduate students who can confidently pursue ideas and knowledge and contribute to the common good. Campus renewal also encompasses a new $14 million Admission and Financial Aid Center and a $13 million landscaping project.

Finances and Philanthropy

The College’s overall financial strength has increased significantly during Dr. Kington’s tenure. Moody’s Investors Service and S&P Global Ratings have each affirmed a AAA bond rating with a stable outlook for the college in their most recent reviews — Moody’s as of December 2016, and S&P as of April 2018.

The College’s philanthropic growth continued in fiscal 2017, with commitments of $32.8 million, up more than $5.8 million, or 21.7 percent, over the previous year. This makes fiscal 2017 the best year for philanthropy since 2003, providing a strong foundation for Dr. Kington as he prepares the College for its first capital campaign in 20 years.

Thought Leadership

Dr. Kington contributes to the national conversation about major educational issues by giving interviews to and writing opinion pieces for outlets such as National Public Radio, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Salon, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed and The Hechinger Report.

He continues to advocate for immigration reform as a member of the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, which supports immigrant, undocumented, and international students on U.S. campuses. He has contacted President Trump and Iowa’s congressional delegation, urging them to renew the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy and establish a path to citizenship for undocumented youth who are and have been engaged in the pursuit of learning and civic participation.

Dr. Kington promotes increasing access to education, which Grinnell continues to do through its need-blind admission process and commitment to meeting 100 percent of students’ demonstrated financial need. Grinnell’s diverse student body — 31 percent are domestic students of color and 19 percent are international students — reflects Dr. Kington’s commitment to bringing together and celebrating diverse perspectives and global understanding.


Dr. Kington is married to Dr. Peter Daniolos, a professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Iowa School of Medicine. They have two sons, ages 12 and 9.

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