Meet Our New Grinnell College Librarians
Mark Christel, Librarian of the College. Prior to coming to Grinnell, Mark worked as Humanities Librarian at Hope College, as Associate Director for Reader Services and Collections at Vassar College, and, for the past 8 years, as Library Director at the College of Wooster in Ohio. Mark holds Master’s degrees in library science from the University of Michigan and in English from Rutgers and a B.A in English with honors from the University of Wisconsin--Madison.
Liz Rodrigues, Digital Scholarship Librarian. Liz returns to Grinnell as a library faculty member. During the 2008-2009 academic year she held a term appointment here as a reference and instruction librarian. Most recently, Liz served as a postdoctoral fellow in digital scholarship at Temple University. She holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Michigan, with a Certificate in African American & Diaspora Studies; an M.A. in Library & Information Science, University of South Florida; an M.F.A. in Poetry from Florida Atlantic University; and a B.A. in English from Kenyon College.
Rebecca Ciota is Grinnell’s new Systems Librarian. Rebecca holds an M.S. from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Graduate School of Library and Information Science and a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Oberlin College.
Writers@Grinnell: Hai-Dang Phan '03 & Rick Barot
Award-winning poet, translator, and scholar, Hai-Dang Phan ’03, along with award-winning poet Rick Barot, will read from their work and discuss writing on Thursday, Sept. 1 as part of the Writers@Grinnell series at Grinnell College. The event, which is free and open to the public, will start at 8 p.m in the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101.
In addition, they will lead a roundtable discussion, which is free and open to the public, at 4:15 p.m. Sept. 1 in Rosenfield Center, Room 209.
Hai-Dang Phan, born in Vietnam and raised in Wisconsin, is a poet, translator, and scholar who teaches courses in Ethnic American Literature and Creative Writing at Grinnell. His research interests include modern and contemporary American literature, race in American literature, war literature, reconciliation, modern and contemporary poetry in English, and translation studies. A former Thomas J. Watson Fellow, he received his bachelor’s in English from Grinnell College and his doctorate in literary studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is completing his master of fine arts in creative writing (poetry) from the University of Florida.
His poems and translations appear or are forthcoming in literary journals such as Anomalous, Asymptote, Barrow Street, The Brooklyn Rail, Cerise Press, Drunken Boat, Kartika Review, Lana Turner, NOÖ Journal, and RHINO. He has interned at Harper’s Magazine, and for five years co-curated FELIX, a quarterly series of new writing based in Madison. He is currently working on a number of critical and creative projects: a book manuscript entitled A Rumor of Redress: Literature, the Vietnam War, and the Politics of Reconciliation, a book-length translation of new and selected poems by the contemporary Vietnamese poet Phan Nhien Hao, and a collection of poetry tentatively entitled Small Wars.
Rick Barot has published three books of poetry with Sarabande Books: The Darker Fall (2002), Want (2008), which was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and won the 2009 Grub Street Book Prize, and Chord (2015). Chord received the UNT Rilke Prize, the PEN Open Book Award, and the Publishing Triangle’s Thom Gunn Award. It was also a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize. His poems and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including Poetry, The Paris Review, The New Republic, The New York Times Magazine, Tin House, The Kenyon Review, and Virginia Quarterly Review.
He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Artist Trust of Washington, the Civitella Ranieri, and Stanford University, where he was a Wallace E. Stegner Fellow and a Jones Lecturer. He lives in Tacoma, Washington and directs The Rainier Writing Workshop, the low-residency master of fine arts program in creative writing at Pacific Lutheran University. He is also the poetry editor for New England Review. In 2016 he received a poetry fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation.
It’s been a beautiful day for the 170th Commencement of Grinnell College, celebrating the class of 2016.
Commencement exercises began at 10 a.m. at the amphitheater on Central Campus, and are now complete.
The ceremony featured an address by internationally renowned novelist Zadie Smith and the awarding of honorary degrees.
Join us as we celebrate our newest graduates. You can:
- See a copy of the live stream on YouTube. (Higher quality video will be available later.)
- Follow and join the conversation on Twitter: @GrinnellCollege #Grinnell2016
- Share your photos on Instagram: #GrinnellCollege or #Grinnell2016
- Follow us on Facebook and YouTube for highlights from the day.
- Check out the story on Snapchat: username grinnellcollege
About Zadie Smith
Novelist Zadie Smith was born in North London in 1975 to an English father and a Jamaican mother. She read English at Cambridge, graduating in 1997. Her acclaimed first novel, White Teeth, is a vibrant portrait of contemporary multicultural London. The book won many honors, including the Guardian First Book Award, the Whitbread First Novel Award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Overall Winner, Best First Book), and two BT Ethnic and Multicultural Media Awards (Best Book/Novel and Best Female Media Newcomer). Smith’s The Autograph Man, a story of loss, obsession, and the nature of celebrity, received the 2003 Jewish Quarterly Wingate Literary Prize for Fiction.
In 2003 and 2013 Smith was named by Granta magazine as one of 20 “Best of Young British Novelists.” Smith’s On Beauty won the 2006 Orange Prize for Fiction. Her most recent novel, NW, was named as one of the “10 Best Books of 2012” by The New York Times. A tenured professor of creative writing at New York University, Smith writes regularly for The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books. She published one collection of essays, Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays, and is working on a book of essays titled Feel Free.
About Honorary Degree Recipients
Zadie Smith will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at Grinnell’s Commencement exercises.
Grinnell also will confer honorary degrees upon two alumni and a renowned educator.
Thomas Cole ’71 will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws. He is U.S. Representative for Oklahoma’s 4th Congressional District, serving since 2002. Cole, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, is the fourth-ranking Republican leader in the House. He is currently one of only two Native American serving in Congress and was inducted into the Chickasaw Hall of Fame in 2004.
Fred Hersch ’77 will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. A pianist, composer, and one of the world’s foremost jazz artists, Hersch was described as “one of the small handful of brilliant musicians of his generation” by Downbeat magazine. His accomplishments include a 2003 Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship for composition and numerous Grammy nominations. He is a member of the Jazz Studies faculty at the New England Conservatory.
Claudia Swisher will receive an honorary Doctor of Social Studies. She was an English teacher for several decades at Norman North High School in Norman, Okla., where she was admired for going above and beyond in her efforts to connect with students. She saw education as something that should be formed around the children, and not that the children and their interests should be manipulated to conform to education.
Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Information on commencement ceremonies is available at Grinnell’s Commencement Web page. For any further information on commencement, please call 641-269-3178.
Photo of Zadie Smith by Dominique Nabokov
Another Banner Year for Grinnell Philanthropy
Fiscal year 2016 (FY16) continued Grinnell College’s philanthropic growth after the exceptional year of fiscal year 2015 (FY15). Total commitments in FY16 reached $26,973,773, an increase of more than $3.6 million, or 15.5%, in new gifts, new pledges, and new bequests over the previous year.
In all, 11,375 individuals — including alumni, friends of the College, parents of current and former students, faculty, students, and staff — were donors to the College in fiscal year 2016. Among these, the largest number of donors (7,711) made unrestricted contributions. This year 7,098 alumni made gifts to the College, an increase of 3.9% over last year. Of FY16’s alumni donors, 245 made their first-ever gifts to the College. Overall, Grinnell welcomed 1,407 first-time donors in FY16.
Total receipts for fiscal year 2016 — one-time gifts, payments on pledges, and realized bequests — reached $10.9 million.
“Grinnell’s culture of philanthropy supports our aspirations to provide students a world-class education that prepares them to successfully navigate their careers, life, and service,” says President Raynard S. Kington. “I am grateful for our many donors who so generously play a key partnership role in our future.”
Grinnell achieved a major milestone in FY16 when Carolyn “Kay” Bucksbaum ‘51 pledged $5 million toward the creation of a position to lead the College’s Global Grinnell initiatives and a programmatic fund focused on uplifting students and program development.
Additionally, the College set a record for one-day giving this fiscal year. Our second annual Scarlet & Give Back Day saw gifts from 3,376 donors on April 7, an increase of more than 75% over last year’s 1,922 donors.
Alumni and donor engagement take many forms at Grinnell. Here are some highlights from fiscal year 2016:
- The second annual Global Day of Service, co-sponsored by the Alumni Council, engaged over 450 alumni, family, and friends who volunteered in 55 locations around the world to celebrate Founder's Day, Grinnell College, and our strong commitment to social justice.
- GRASP volunteers conducted nearly 400 interviews with prospective students.
- The alumni relations team, in partnership with more than 200 regional network volunteers, hosted more than 75 regional events to which we welcomed 3,652 alumni, parents, and friends.
- More than 400 students participated in National Philanthropy Week.
- The outgoing Class of 2016 achieved 54% in total gift participation toward the senior class gift.
- With the partnership of over 150 class volunteers, the College welcomed 1,177 alumni and family members back for Reunion 2016 from 47 states, the District of Columbia, and 11 foreign nations.
- The Class of 1966 raised over $4 million and had 67% participation, both of which are records for a 50th Reunion class.
- Through the 2016 Grinnell externship program, 97 alumni volunteers provided experiences to 99 students, a 36% increase from last year.
- More than 150 alumni returned to campus to share their time and talent with current students and fellow alumni. As alumni mentors and speakers in a variety of platforms, Grinnellians are consistently creating opportunities to give back through their professional expertise and talent.
- The Council for Advancement and Support of Education honored the donor relations team with a Circle of Excellence Award for its fall 2015 Endowed Scholarship Fund Activity Reports. The annual giving team received awards from CASE for Best Practices in Fundraising (Scarlet & Give Back Day FY15) and Best Student Alumni Programming (Class Ambassadors).
“This marked the fourth consecutive year for increased fundraising at Grinnell,” says Shane Jacobson, vice president for development and alumni relations. “We thank each and every donor who helped make fiscal year 2016 an incredible year in philanthropy. Their generosity, alongside the many other ways the Grinnell community gives back, flows through the College to positively influence the lives of our students, faculty, and staff.”
For more information about giving to Grinnell College, please contact the Office of Development and Alumni Relations toll-free at 866-850-1846 or local at 641-269-1846 or send an email to alumni[at]grinnell[dot]edu.
David Cook-Martín Named Assistant Vice President for Global Education
David Cook-Martín, professor of sociology, has accepted the position of assistant vice president for Global Education and senior international officer. In this role, he will lead Grinnell's new Institute for Global Engagement and take on the responsibility to promote strategic planning for international education and external partnerships across the College. He will also join President Raynard Kington's senior staff.
This step flows from one of the foremost recommendations of the Global Grinnell Task Force: to create a stronger, more integrative structure to lead the College's international initiatives. Grinnell's high rates of participation in study abroad, large and diverse international student population, and outstanding curricular offerings are compelling strengths. Further collaboration across academic areas, engagement with the Center for Careers, Life, and Service, and the offices of Development and Alumni Relations, Admission, Student Affairs, and Off-Campus Study now promise to give Grinnell a distinctive position of leadership in global education as referenced in the Global Grinnell Task Force Report.
This initiative was also made possible by the great generosity of Carolyn "Kay" Bucksbaum '51, former board chair and now Life Trustee of the College. Her recent $5 million gift created two endowments, one to fund the creation of the senior international officer position and another to create a Global Distinctiveness Fund to support students and faculty through scholarships for global courses and language study, research initiatives, internships abroad, and international projects exploring global problems and challenges.
David brings outstanding qualifications to his new role. An expert in the sociology, history, and politics of human migration, his teaching and research deeply engage with the transnational forces shaping the contemporary world. Most recently, he co-authored Culling the Masses: The Democratic Origins of Racist Immigration Policy in the Americas (Harvard University Press, 2014), a book that won major national awards from both the American Sociological Association and the American Political Science Association. He is also the author of The Scramble for Citizens: Dual Nationality and State Competition for Immigrants (Stanford University Press, 2013)—another award-winning book—and numerous scholarly articles and public commentaries. David's engagement with the American Council on Education, his role as director of Grinnell's Center for International Studies over the last three years, and his service as chair of the sociology department have given him valuable administrative experience as well.
The Institute for Global Engagement will provide Grinnell with a vital point for ongoing collaboration among departments and programs and across the divisions of the College. As the new institute takes up the responsibilities formerly held by the Center for International Studies, I am confident that under David's leadership it will make the most of the opportunities provided by Kay's generous gift, as well as the new Global Learning Program courses, which are a direct result of a $4 million gift provided by Trustee Susie McCurry '71 and the Roland and Ruby Holden Family Foundation. The new Humanities and Social Studies Complex will provide an ideal home for the institute alongside Off-Campus Study, the Office of International Student Affairs, and a new Language Resource Center.
In the coming weeks, David and Michael Latham, Vice President for Academic Affairs, will plan for a new faculty and staff steering committee to provide direction for the institute. They will also work with the Office of Development and Alumni Relations to engage trustees, alumni, and friends of the College in its continuing work.