Text: The Grinnellian. The official Alumni and Friends Newsletter. Text is set on a red background.

The Grinnellian

The Grinnellian is a monthly e-newsletter launched July 2019 to broadly share Grinnell College stories, events, and activities. Besides being informational, a key goal of the newsletter is demonstrate the differences donors and volunteers are making in the lives of current and future Grinnell students.

The Archive

Please note, the archived issues of The Grinnellian are exact versions of the e-newsletter sent out. As such, some of the events, contests, and links may have expired. If you have any questions, please contact us at alumni@grinnell.edu.

The Grinnellian Trivia

In each issue of The Grinnellian, we include a Grinnell trivia question. The first five who reply each month with the correct answer wins a prize. Please see the archived questions, answers, and a list of winners.

August 2022

What year did Conard Environmental Research Area open?

Answer: 1968

Winners: Ron Berry ’71, Jon Krieg ’84, Jody Seigel ’93, Mario Manalu ’22, and Stephanie Roush.

July 2022

What Grinnell College Hall of Fame inductee is Grinnell baseball’s all-time hits and homers leader?

Answer: Mike Nodzenski ’12

Winners: Jon Krieg ’84, Wade Beltramo ’93, Rania Robb ’03, Rex Chien ’09, and Aaron Levin ’14.

June 2022

How old was Grinnell College when the town of Grinnell was founded?

Answer: 8 years old

Winners: Jan Tait ’58, Jeff Scheckter ’71, Jim Strickler ’78, Neva Specht ’89, and David Orman.

May 2022

What former Congressman came back to Grinnell to give the Commencement speech in 1995? 

Answer: Alan D. Wheat ’72

Winners: Carol Cupples ’67, David Wagner ’76, Anna Davis ’95, Gustavo Arambula ’10, and Mark Duncan ’19.

April 2022

Loose Hall on South Campus is named after what two Iowans?

Answer: Francelia Spitzer Loose and Dr. David Loose

Winners: Claudia Bogard ’77, Jon Krieg ’84, Natalie Rehm ’96, Rich Lehning, and Todd Schmidt.

March 2022

What role did Walter Koenig ’58 play in Star Trek?

Answer: Pavel Chekov

Winners: Christine Gilson ’68, Judy Packer-Tursman ’78, Mary Niehaus ’85, Ethan Struby ’10, and Jaime Bleess.

February 2022

The name for Grinnell’s Young, Gifted, and Black Gospel Choir originated from what writer?

Answer: Lorraine Hansberry

Winners: Byron Bangert ’69, Martha Musgrove ’69, Katherine Willhoite ’81, Carin Bringelson ’91, and Jack Isaac

January 2022

What was the name of the residence hall singing contest usually held on Mother’s Day in the 1940s-1960s?

Answer: Fetzer Sing

Winners: Errett Schmid ’60, Martin Gibbs ’62, Ruthena Fink ’68, John Holbert ’68, and Suzanne Lueck ’69.

New Year's 2022 Edition

Who was Grinnell College’s first female graduate? 

Answer: Joanna Harris Haines 1865

Winners: Betsy Wolcott ’75, Monique Shore ’90, Amy Pletsch ’96, Dora Urias, and Bill Owens.

November 2021

During the 2019-20 school year, what was Grinnell students’ most frequently chosen major?

Answer: Computer Science

Winners: Jennie Robinson Kloos ’90 and Haakon Larsen ’21

October 2021

What 1950 Grinnell graduate became known for designing benches and stackable armchairs?

Answer: Hugh Acton ’50

Winners: Bruce Koff ’75, Claudia Bogard ’77, Stacy Lunardini ’87, Meghan McDermott ’16, and Anthony McLean ’17.

September 2021

In 1997, students hung an image of what character on Carnegie Hall to protest Labor Day classes?

Answer: Homer Simpson

Winners: Ben Stallings ’98, Tim Stiles ’98, Graham Gelling ’99, Mariana Kind ’99, and Rob Felty ’01

August 2021

Spaulding Manufacturing in Grinnell made what product from 1910 to 1916?

Answer: Automobiles

Winners: Mark Hatherly ’79, Peter MacFarlane ’12, Nate Crail ’19, Priyank Shah ’21, and Richard Lehning. 

July 2021

What are the five language houses on Grinnell’s campus?

Answer: Chinese House, French House, German House, Russian House, and Spanish House

Winners: Nancy Barnby ’61, Suzanne Harold ’96, Brian Turner ’02, Katherine Ingram ’08, and Paulina Panek ’13.

June 2021

What was the last name of the two brothers who were the first College graduates in 1854?

Answer: Windsor (Full names: John and William Windsor)

Winners: Mariana Alwell ’68, James Carns ’72, Dave Cassel ’72, Nieka Apell ’93, and Natalie Rehm ’96.

May 2021

Before his famous role in E.T., what part did Peter Coyote ’64 audition for in Steven Spielberg’s prior movie?

Answer: Indiana Jones

Winners: Gary Wilson ’66, Byron Bangert ’69, Maribeth Johnson, and Steffany Mohan.

April 2021

Who has the most career hits on the Grinnell softball team?

Answer: Kayla Morrissey ’18

Winners: Byron Bangert ’69 and Jessica Starling ’08

March 2021

What long-running TV series with BBC origins did producer Joan Wilson ’50 bring to the U.S. in 1973?

Answer: Masterpiece Theatre

Winners: Gregg Dafner ’75, Steve Silberberg ’79, Kristin Clark ’00, Leanne Williams ’04, and Kaitlyn Waller ’13.

February 2021

Who was the first African American to graduate from Grinnell and what was his class year?

Answer: Hannibal Kershaw 1879

Winners: Byron Bangert ’69, Helle Lukk ’78, Ryann Cheung ’93, Adrienne Enriquez ’98, and Geneva Guadalupe ’17.

January 2021

How many pipes are in the organ at Herrick Chapel?

Answer: 4,000

Winners: Helle Lukk ’78, Bob Shannon ’81, Jean McKenzie ’86, Jocelyn Judge ’93, and Natalie Rehm ’96.

December 2020

Which two U.S. presidents have stayed the night at Grinnell House?

Answer: Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower

Winners: Roger Ferris ’65, Jim Hamilton ’65, John Shierholz ’66, Phyllis Levun-Agastino ’69, and Helene Gillispie.

November 2020

The song, Sons of Old Grinnell, was written in 1910. What year was Daughters of Old Grinnell written?

Answer: 1919

Winners: Gary Wilson ’66, Byron C. Bangert ’69, Wade Beltramo ’93, Abby Hagel ’16, and Michelle Risacher ’17.

October 2020

What Grinnell alumna played Beth Young on the TV show Desperate Housewives and more recently appeared on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel?

Answer: Emily Bergl ’97

Winners: Ryann Cheung ’93, Jamie Rehmann ’00, Norm Braaten, Elizabeth Chandler, and Paula Doherty.

September 2020

In 1975 a professor initiated Grinnell’s program of outdoor art. Though technically untitled, what is the first sculpture affectionately known as?”

Answer: The Zirkle

Winners: Ruth Bittner ’80, Kathy Waddell ’96, Alyssa Popowitch ’98, Mark Duncan ’19, and Abena Afari ‘21.

August 2020

In what city was the 1846 meeting held where James J. Hill famously laid down the silver dollar to start Grinnell College’s endowment?

Answer: Davenport, Iowa

Winners: Dave Palmer ’62, Scott Stuart ’72, David Piston ’84, Joel Shapiro ’89, and Hana Lord ’18.

July 2020

What honor did Rolling Stone magazine bestow upon Burling Library in the 1980s?

Answer: Most comfiest library in the country.

Winners: Melanie King ’78, David de Young ’86, Jonathan Rose ’95, Phoebe Juel ’96, and Chris Gales ’14.

June 2020

What author and Nobel laureate’s name was recently inscribed in the atrium of the HSSC?

Answer: Toni Morrison

Winners: Molly Skouson ’20, Gina Donovan ’04, Lillian Fitzsimmons ’20, Moe Sabai ’20, and Laura Juliano ’98.

May 2020

Which residence hall, known for in-room sinks, did Herbie Hancock ’60 live in during his time as a student at Grinnell?

Answer: Clark Hall

Winners: Ben Tape ’12, Jin Komerska ’20, Cristian Douglas Sales Garcia ’22, Norm Cook ’58, and Nick Malinowski ’04

April 2020

Who is the all-time leading scorer and rebounder for the Grinnell women’s basketball team?

Answer: Laura VanSickle ’90

Winners: Sarina Kopf ’22, Amy Woodworth ’91, Wade Beltramo ’93, Jessica Toft ’89, and Philip Kantzler ’89

March 2020

What 1946 Grinnell alumna blazed a trail by being the first female director of pediatric surgery at St. Louis Children’s hospital?

Answer: Jessie L. Ternberg

Winners: Byron Bangert ’69, Jon Krieg ’84, Karl Dukstein ’81, and Gene Wubbels

February 2020

Who was the architect for the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts?

Answer: Cesar Pelli

Winners: JB Labowitz ’71, Melissa Hardy ’16, Jennifer Wagner ’95, Patti Rounsevell ’71, and Grant Glowiak ’10

January 2020

What was the title of the speech Martin Luther King Jr. gave at Grinnell College in 1967?

Answer: Remaining Awake During a Revolution

Winners: Doug Hodum ’93, Mark Bailey ’79, Meghan Riley ’19, Rachel Hinkley ’21, and Jeneine Brown Welch ’94

December 2019

Who is Younker Hall named after and what year did it open?

Answer: Benjamin A. Younker and 1951

Winners: Neva J. Specht ’89, Cassidy Wright ’14, Brian Hanson ’85, Jane Meyer ’67, and Leila Payer ’21

November 2019

Illinois is the No. 1 state where current Grinnell students are from. Which state is No. 2?

Answer: Minnesota

Winners: Emma Roszkowski ’18, Amy J. Hyde ’93, Mark Davis, Samantha Pilicer ’15, and Nick DePetris ’08

October 2019

What two buildings on Grinnell’s campus are listed on the National Register of Historic Places?

Answer: Goodnow Hall and Mears Hall (or Mears Cottage)

Winners: Samantha Braman ’12, Greg Lee ’77, John Norman ’82, Annie Pigott ’12, and Mark Duncan ’19

September 2019

Who is the winningest football coach in the history of Grinnell College?

Answer: Edd Bowers ’43

Winners: Joe Pinder, Joel Patterson ’67, Stephen Aldrich ’63, James Pannell, and Philip H. King ’64

August 2019

The Kistle Science Library inside Noyce Science Center was named in honor of what alumna?

Answer: Helen Pierce Kistle ’38

Winners: Mark Duncan ’19, Katie Parrish ’18, Sonja Spain ’18, Eric Misty ‘14, and Apryl Henry ’89

July 2019

Who wrote the words and music to “Here Comes the Pioneers”?

Answer: H. W. Matlack 1902

Winners: Larz Hagen ’20, Lilya Woodburn ’20, Lori Hilmer, Alyssa Popowitch ’98, and David Cavins ’98