2018 Alumni Awards

The Grinnell College Alumni Council annually selects ten alumni to receive Alumni Awards at Reunion. These individuals will be honored during the Alumni Assembly at Reunion on Saturday, June 2. The Alumni Award recognizes individuals who embody Grinnell College’s mission of lifetime learning and service. Recipients have distinguished themselves by their service to their careers, their community, and/or the College.

The 2018 recipients are:

Peter Kranz ’63
Deborah Feir ’68
Catherine Gage ’73
Barry Huff ’73
P. Carter Newton ’77
Douglas Spitz ’78
Rachel Bly ’93
Margaret Tandoh ’93
Kirpal Singh ’97
Adrienne Enriquez ’98


Peter Kranz '63Peter Kranz ’63

When Peter Kranz started to research racial confrontation and race relations, it was considered a risky and controversial subject. The year was 1970. For nearly a half century, Kranz has taught, researched, presented, debated, and dissected racial relations. An education psychology professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Kranz initiated the first reunion of Grinnell College psychology graduates in 2012.


Deborah Feir '68Deborah Feir ’68

Deborah Feir embodies the ideal of a liberal education that learning never ends. From becoming certified to teach scuba diving to earning a master’s degree in Applied Linguistics in 2008 after retiring from BellSouth Telecommunications, Feir has fully embraced learning and community service. She has served as a Class Agent since 1983 and has spent countless hours volunteering to the betterment of her class and community.


Catherine Gage '73Catherine Gage ’73

A lawyer, activist, author, organizer, and adviser, Catherine Gage is a fixture in Washington D.C. She directed the Defending Dissent Foundation and founded the National Capital Region Watershed Stewards Academy. She wrote At War With Peace: US Covert Operations and was named the “Legal Worker of the Year” by the National Lawyers Guild.


Barry Huff '73Barry Huff ’73

Barry Huff was a good match for both Grinnell and the National Marrow Donor Program. Known as “Be The Match,” the program has facilitated more than 80,000 marrow and cord blood transplants. Until his retirement, Huff served as its senior vice president for marketing, recruitment, and community engagement. A football and track star at Grinnell, Huff was inducted into the College’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007.


P. Carter Newton '77P. Carter Newton ’77

Carter Newton hails from a long line of Grinnellians. A total of 14 of his family members have attended Grinnell, spanning four generations. As a Class Agent, Alumni Council member and volunteer, Newton has long championed the College as well as the town of Galena, Ill., where he has published the Galena Gazette newspaper since 1985. He is a beloved member of the community as a result of his work and dedication. He also has improved the lives of teachers, firefighters, and young people in Combarbala, Chile, through several Rotary Club projects.


Douglas Spitz '78Douglas Spitz ’78

An internationally recognized leader in the field of oxidative stress in cancer biology and toxicology, Douglas Spitz is on the cutting edge of cancer research. As a professor and director of free radical and radiation biology program at the University of Iowa, he works tirelessly to improve the longevity and quality of life for cancer patients as well as train the next generation of leaders in the field. He has returned to the College to lecture and actively encourages Grinnell students who want to pursue scientific research.


Rachel Bly '93Rachel Bly ’93

While much of her work is behind the scenes, Rachel Bly has a hand in every Grinnell Campus event during the last 13 years. As director of conference operations and events, Bly has arranged visits for everyone from presidential candidates to children attending summer camp. In the community, Rachel is whirlwind of volunteering, serving on the City Council and taking on initiatives that help draw Grinnell College and its home community closer together.


Margaret Tandoh '93Margaret Tandoh ’93

As a trauma surgeon, Margaret Tandoh traveled back to her home country of Liberia in 2014 to help Ebola patients. She was among the Ebola doctors chosen as the Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. Healing people comes naturally to Tandoh who also is diversifying the medical industry. As associate dean of diversity and inclusion at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, she is training more doctors and medical staff from underrepresented backgrounds.


Kirpal Singh '97Kirpal Singh ’97

Kirpal Singh’s professional life has been dedicated to improving the lives of others. The same is true outside of work. As a consumer and environmental advocate, Singh has helped raise Colorado’s minimum wage and successfully fought for job protection legislation. Singh also has supported Grinnell College externs, connected students with internships, and helped alumni find jobs, in addition to serving as a Class Fund Director and an Alumni Council member.


Adrienne Enriquez '98Adrienne Enriquez ’98

With a deep commitment to social justice and a belief that education can open the doors of opportunity, Adrienne Enriquez is a shining example of a leader. In 2016, Enriquez co-founded a nonprofit called Butterfly Boxes to help Oregonians welcome refugees. In just nine months, more than 500 welcome bags full of donated items were delivered to arriving families. A subsequent project to host potluck dinners to welcome those families has been an overwhelming success.


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