2021 Alumni Awards

The Grinnell College Alumni Council has selected five exceptional Grinnellians to receive the 2021 Alumni Awards.

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 recipients are traditionally celebrated during Alumni Assembly at Reunion. Since Reunion will be in a virtual format this year, the Office of Development and Alumni Relations is working on a virtual event that will honor the recipients and pay tribute to their good work. More details about the event will be forthcoming this spring.

The 2021 Alumni Award recipients are:

• Frances Gray ’71
• Sheena Brown Thomas ’71
• Sally Campbell-Galman ’96
• Sabrina Eagan ’96
• Rev. Jake Joseph ’11

Frances Gray ’71Frances Gray ’71

Frances Gray’s early career as a kindergarten teacher instilled in her a patience and kindness that became hallmarks of her work as a pediatrician. Serving as a doctor in an Indianapolis urban clinic for 30 years, Frances provided care to immigrant, refugee, and native Hoosier families facing language, cultural, and financial barriers. She also participated in a national project to coordinate community services to improve care of abused children. Frances regularly mentors girls who are interested in medicine as a career.

Sheena Brown Thomas ’71Sheena Brown Thomas ’71

As an artist and a community organizer, Sheena Brown Thomas is known for her devotion and tenacity. A goldsmith who co-owned Elements, Ltd. in Des Moines for 25 years, Sheena has handmade well over 100 individual medals for Grinnell College students, faculty honored with endowed chairs, and winners of the Grinnell Prize. She also has led numerous civic and social justice initiatives, including helping with efforts during the pandemic to provide transportation to essential workers and organizing Get Out the Vote walks.

Sally Campbell-Galman ’96Sally Campbell-Galman ’96

With profound empathy for those who participate in her research, Sally Campbell-Galman is a scholar and activist. As a professor of child and family studies at the University of Massachusetts, Sally is committed to improving the lives of children and their caregivers and fighting systems that oppress them. She often utilizes the visual arts to shine a light on multiple topics of social importance. As founder of the Gender Moxie Project, Sally focuses on understanding transgender and other gender-diverse children’s experiences through an interdisciplinary and art-informed lens.

Sabrina Eagan ’96Sabrina Eagan ’96

Sabrina Eagan has made remarkable contributions to the field of public health through her work on HIV and tuberculosis projects across the globe. Her 15 years as a public health nurse has taken her to 13 international countries where she has helped develop community health networks and provided technical support. As a senior technical advisor at John Snow Inc., Sabrina works with teams to improve performance on service delivery and management of patients. A champion for equity and access, Sabrina embodies the Grinnell ideal of scholarship and service.

Pioneer Award

The Alumni Council also selected one Pioneer Award recipient. The Pioneer Award is a distinctive Alumni Award, which recognizes noteworthy alumni who have graduated from Grinnell College within the past ten years. Honorees offer inspiration as models for their demonstrated commitment to the values and mission of Grinnell in such a short time.

Rev. Jake Joseph ’11Rev. Jake Joseph ’11

As a minister, affordable housing advocate, and extensive community volunteer, Jake Miles Joseph is creating change through an equity lens. A minister at First Congregational Church of Guilford, Connecticut, Jake is a specialist in leadership, fundraising, teaching, and community organizing. He has helped write a national framework for inclusion within the housing authority world, advocated for Habitat for Humanity initiatives, and helped plan one of the largest LGBTQ conferences in the world. His wide-ranging Grinnell volunteerism includes serving as a regional co-coordinator, and multicultural alumni weekend planning committee member.

— 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.