2019 Alumni Awards

The Grinnell College Alumni Council selected 14 exceptional graduates who received the 2019 Alumni Awards at Reunion 2019.

The Alumni Award recognizes individuals who embody Grinnell College’s mission of lifetime learning and service. Nominated by their classmates and peers, recipients have distinguished themselves by their service to their careers, their community, and/or the College.

The 2019 Alumni Award recipients are:

Bruce Pauley ’59 Bruce Pauley ’59

Recognized as a top scholar of Austrian history, Bruce Pauley has provided a deeper understanding of Austrian fascism. His books on Austrian national socialism (nazism) and antisemitism contributed substantially to Austria coming to terms with its own past. He has taught history since 1961, including serving as a professor at the University of Central Florida for 35 years. In 2010, Austria’s Ambassador to the United States presented Pauley with the Austrian government’s highest award for scholarship and art.

L.R. “Bud” Roegge ’59L.R. “Bud” Roegge ’59

After majoring in chemistry at Grinnell, Bud Roegge decided to put his test tubes away and go to law school. Both subjects would go on to shape his career. As an attorney and longtime president of Smith Haughey, Rice & Roegge in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Roegge litigated numerous environmental cases, such as representing Michigan Chemical Company in statewide contamination that affected the dairy industry. In 2012, the State Bar of Michigan presented Roegge with the Champion of Justice Award for adhering to the highest principal of the legal profession.

Janice Williams Resseger ’69Janice Williams Resseger ’69

Janice Williams Resseger has been a tireless advocate for public education as a teacher, parent, community organizer, and staff member for a national religious social service political action group. In short, Resseger stands up for what she believes in. Working at the United Church of Christ, she developed programming around justice in public school policy for UCC churches around the country and ensured attention to vast opportunity gaps. She now authors a well-regarded public education policy blog.

Henry Wingate ’69Henry Wingate ’69

Henry Wingate has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to the values of social justice and social service throughout his life and career. Wingate was the first African American federal judge for the Southern District of Mississippi, appointed in 1985 by President Ronald Reagan. He also served as a Grinnell College Trustee for 18 years and was deeply involved in recruitment and support of Grinnell’s African American students and faculty. His numerous community service initiatives include providing educational opportunities for juveniles interested in careers in law and law enforcement.

Moses Lee ’79Moses Lee ’79

As a physician, Moses Lee displays the utmost kindness and consideration for the patients and his fellow medical colleagues. Lee was an attending physician in the emergency departments of Cook County Hospital and John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital in Chicago for 28 years. He continues to volunteer in emergency medicine. Last June, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Illinois Department of Public Health for founding the Illinois Medical Emergency Response Team, a nonprofit group that assembles when there are emergencies inside and outside Illinois.

Jeffrey Greenberg ’80Jeffrey Greenberg ’80

Jeffrey Greenberg has commendably served his community, his profession, and Grinnell College for the last four decades. A surgeon and staff physician at The Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center, Jeffrey is known as compassionate caregiver, brilliant researcher, and first-rate teacher. Since his graduation in 1980, he has kept his class connected as a Class Agent. Additionally, he has served on the Alumni Council, including two years as president. In recent years, he has participated in several medical missions, providing hand surgery care to underserved populations around the world.

Susan Henken-Thielen ’80Susan Henken-Thielen ’80

A highly-effective marketing executive, Susan Henken-Thielen has a passion for growing entrepreneurial organizations that help people. As director of product management for Collegis Education, she is leading the effort to develop new higher education strategic data analytics. Previously as a director for Pearson VUE, Susan established the global UExcel education program, where domestic and international students earn college credits by taking and passing online exams. For her alma mater, Susan served on the Alumni Council for seven years (including as President in 2014-15) and helped recruit
Minneapolis area students to Grinnell as a GRASP volunteer.

Paula Nixon ’84Paula Nixon ’84

Paula Nixon’s enthusiasm can be contagious. It’s especially evident during Reunion, which Paula has attended for the past 10 years as a pioneering force behind GRA/EY (Grinnell Reunion Any/Every Year). Rather than wait for their respective Reunion years, Paula encourages alumni to attend whatever year possible, adding another fun dynamic to the weekend. Paula’s enthusiasm also shines through in the Grinnell social media sphere, where her notes of encouragement are widely appreciated. She also is an active volunteer and a fitness instructor, putting the two together by teaching yoga to elementary school teachers.

Noel Green ’94Noel Green ’94

As an educator, Noel Green has brought with him the same spirit of inclusion, community building, and acute awareness of individual needs that he brought to Grinnell College as a student 25 years ago. Noel is the principal of Burlington High School in Vermont. His kind, caring and approachable nature had made him ideal to work with students who come from all over the world. An advocate of restorative justice, the school district now puts emphasis on the relationships and people who have been harmed rather than doling out traditional punishments.

Dorje Gurung ’94Dorje Gurung ’94

After being imprisoned under false accusations while teaching science in Qatar, Dorje Gurung met several Nepalese people that were working there as migrant workers. Those interactions helped persuade him to return to his native Nepal to educate the next generation of Nepalese students from low socioeconomic backgrounds. He established the Social Business for Education, which are income-generating projects that benefit the community by providing jobs and training. For his vast commitment to education and humanity, Dorje received an honorary Doctor of Science degree at Grinnell's 2014 Commencement.

Jason M. Kimelman-Block ’94Jason M. Kimelman-Block ’94

As Washington Director of Bend the Arc Jewish Action, Rabbi Jason Kimelman-Brock has traveled the country seeking to promote nonviolent activism on behalf of those at risk. Jason also serves as director of national government affairs and Rabbi-in-Residence at A Jewish Partnership for Justice. He directed the first-ever leadership cohort focused on training Jewish leaders of color and is a frequent speaker on social justice in the interfaith activist movement. Particularly notable is Jason’s ability to support and relate to people who have had very different life experiences from his own.

Kent Messer ’94Kent Messer ’94

Kent Messer has an exceptional record of scholarship, teaching, and service as a natural resource and environmental economist. Messer teaches students at the University of Delaware as the S. Hallock DuPont Professor. Additionally, he is the director of the Center for Experimental & Applied Economics, and co-director of the Center for Behavioral and Experimental Agri-Environmental Research. Kent has written two textbooks on how to apply economics to better protect environmental areas. His expertise was valuable recently as a member of the Grinnell College Fossil Fuels and Climate Task Force Advisory Board.

Lu “Maggie” Bian ’09Lu “Maggie” Bian ’09

Maggie Bian made a lasting impact on the future of many Chinese students even before she received her Grinnell degree. As a senior at Grinnell, she founded the China Liberal Arts Tour, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bridging the gap between liberal arts colleges and prospective students in China. Now in its 10th year, the tour invites liberal arts colleges to travel throughout China and interact with Chinese students. Maggie oversees the tour’s development while working in Hong Kong as head of talent executive director for Hillhouse Capital Management, a global financial services company.

Latona Giwa ’09Latona Giwa ’09

Combining her passion for social justice, a dedication to community organizing, an intense focus on helping mothers and newborns, and an entrepreneurial spirit, Latona Giwa co-founded the Birthmark Doulas Collective in 2011. The New Orleans organization provides informational, emotional, and physical support to pregnant women and their families before, during, and after birth. Grinnell recognized Latona’s work by presenting her with the Joseph P. Wall ’41 Service Award in 2013, and she was featured in a 2018 New York Times magazine story. Latona also works as a Registered Nurse, and an infant feeding and lactation counselor.

— by Jeremy Shapiro

For your information:

Nominations for future Alumni Awards are accepted at any time. To nominate a fellow Grinnellian, visit the Alumni Awards page and complete the nomination form.

To read more alumni news, check out our news archive.