2023 Alumni Awards Profiles

Mary Knuth Otto ’63Mary Knuth Otto ’63

Reunion: 60th
Residence: Shelburne, Vermont
Grinnell major: English
Other degrees: MA in English from City University of New York (1967); Ph.D., English Education from New York University (1987)
Profession: Retired teacher

3 ways Mary embodies Grinnell College’s mission of lifetime learning and service

  1. The class agent for 1963, she has been instrumental in building class camaraderie and encouraging attendance and planning events during milestone reunions. 
  2. During her six years on the Alumni Council (2014-2020), Mary contributed in many ways, including writing columns for the Grinnell Magazine.
  3. A dedicated community volunteer, her service includes Board of Trustee member on the Vermont Humanities Council and chair of strategic planning for the Norwich Public Library.

Something you probably didn’t know about Mary

She is the author/editor of Rusticators in Sprucewold, the story of a 100-year-old log cabin colony in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. 

Mary Knuth Otto ’63 leads a Grinnell commencement processional.

Bonus Mary Fun Facts

  • She was the teacher of a national writing project at Pace University.
  • She was English Department Chairperson of The American School in London from 1992 to 1994. 
  • She founded the Donna Jo Briley Glenn ’63 memorial fund, which raised money from classmates to donate a refurbished practice piano to a room in the Bucksbaum Fine Arts Center in memory of Glenn. 

A quote about Mary

“Mary’s role in increasing the visibility of the Alumni Council by creating the Alumni Council column in the Grinnell Magazine was critically important. It’s one of numerous examples of how she has cultivated connections among Grinnellians. Mary values the life-changing role Grinnell played in her life, so it’s fitting her profound dedication to her alma mater during the past 60 years has enhanced the lives of countless other Grinnell alums and students.”

David Jarvis ’04

Read more 2023 Alumni Award Recipient profiles.