2023 Alumni Awards Profiles

Susie Kaeser ’69Susie Kaeser ’69

Reunion: 55th
Residence: Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Grinnell major: Anthropology
Other degrees: MA in anthropology from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (1972); Master of Urban Planning from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (1976)
Profession: Most of Susie’s volunteer and career activities have focused on public education

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

  1. Susie spent nine years on the staff of the Citizens Council for Ohio schools where she conducted research and advocated for marginalized students.
  2. She founded Reaching Heights, a community-based support organization for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District, and served as its executive director from 1991 to 2008. Under her leadership, Reaching Heights developed teacher grants, tutoring programs, teacher book discussions, and music-lesson scholarships for children, among other accomplishments. 
  3. In Susie’s 2020 book, Resisting Segregation: Cleveland Heights Activists Shape Their Community, 1964-1976, she profiles dozens of community leaders who waged a fight to transform Cleveland Heights from an exclusive, all-white suburb into an inclusive, diverse community.

Something you probably didn’t know about Susie

Susie is an education specialist for the League of Women Voters of Ohio. She regularly prepares background resources for advocacy and presents legislative testimony in Columbus.

Susie Kaeser ’69 poses with her dog.

Bonus Susie Fun Facts

  • She became a classroom volunteer at her neighborhood elementary school when Susie’s daughter entered kindergarten in 1988 and has continued in that role ever since.
  • Susie served as vice president of the Board of Home Repair Resource Center, a nonprofit organization that strives to empower Cleveland Heights residents with the skills they need to maintain their homes.
  • Since 2005, Susie has managed an annual one-week music camp in June to bring middle school students together with Heights High School musicians. 

A quote about Susie

“Susie deeply values racial diversity in community life. It is why she and husband Jerry chose to move to Cleveland Heights, and it is at the core of her involvements ever since – all targeted to advance her community’s goal of remaining a strong, vibrant, and diverse city. Susie has always understood that excellent public schools and well-maintained housing would be key to accomplishing this goal.”

– Diana Woodbridge (community activist and chair of the Greater Cleveland Community Cleveland Heights Housing Team)

Read more 2023 Alumni Award Recipient profiles.