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Virtual Alumni College

Virtual Alumni College is a lifelong, learning experience that allows Grinnellians to stay connected. Grinnell’s faculty showcase their excellent teaching and scholarship by recording 30-minute lectures for alumni to view once you have registered. Virtual Alumni College is an immersive, “return to the classroom” experience. It provides the chance for participants to re-experience the intellectual stimulation of the classroom with Grinnell College faculty members and fellow alumni.

Alumni College will continue to be virtual this March-May with five new lectures and discussion sessions. Scroll down to register for the spring 2022 sessions. 

Registration for lectures

An unlimited number of alumni may register to watch each pre-recorded lecture. Once you fill out the registration form, you will be sent a confirmation email that contains the URL for the pre-recorded lecture that you can watch at any time.

Pre-recorded lectures should be viewed before attending a discussion session, so that you are able to formulate questions and engage in the discussion with the faculty member and fellow alumni.

Registration for discussion sessions

An hour discussion session will be held for each pre-recorded lecture. Discussion sessions are not recorded. You should only sign up for a discussion session if you are available at the posted date and time listed below. If more than 50 alumni register, a lottery will be held and a waitlist created. DAR limits the amount of alumni who can participate in an online discussion because this allows for more intimate conversation. It also allows for all voices that want to be heard to be included in the discussion.

Discussion sessions are facilitated by a DAR staff member and lead by the faculty member who gave the lecture.


For past sessions, you can continue to register to watch the lectures, listed on the Virtual Alumni College archive page. Thank you for continuing to make this program a huge success. #GrinnelliansStayConnected

If you would like to submit ideas for future Alumni Colleges, please send us an email, or if you have specific questions, contact Sarah Smith-Benantismithben@grinnell.edu.

Virtual Alumni College Spring 2022 Lectures

Q.E.D.: What Emily Dickinson's math books did for me

Faculty Member: Tom Moore, professor emeritus 
Discussion date: March 9 at 3 p.m.

In 2013 Professor Moore audited Steve Andrews’s class on Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman during the spring semester. He had found Dickinson’s poems intriguing but perplexing and thought he could use some help. 

Learn more about professor emeritus Tom Moore and see a full description of the lecture on the Q.E.D.: What Emily Dickinson's math books did for me registration page. After you register, you will receive an email with the link to watch the lecture at your leisure.

UnderSTANDING the Body: Dance for Self Expression and Authentic Movement

Faculty Member: Kathleen Hurley, instructor/lecturer in theatre and dance
Discussion Date: March 21 at Noon

The body is our instrument for functional life but can also be a deep vessel of messages. Movement can unearth memories (buried in particular body parts) and reveal creative longings.  "UnderSTANDING the Body: Dance for Self Expression and Authentic Movement" gently leads people of any age and movement ability through a series of guided movement improvisations designed to open awareness and bring a deeper level of body listening.

Learn more about instructor and Lecturer Kathleen Hurley and see a full description of the lecture on the UnderSTANDING the Body: Dance for Self Expression and Authentic Movement registration page. After you register, you will receive an email with the link to watch the lecture at your leisure.

Mozart's Juggling Act

Faculty Member: Eric McIntyre, professor of music
Discussion date: April 13 at Noon

In the final movement of his final symphony, Mozart performs one of the more extraordinary displays of musical, mathematical, and creative prowess ever presented by a composer – and he makes it look (or sound!) easy. In this session we examine how a work that, on its surface is seemingly just another bit of musical fun, reveals extraordinary skill on so many levels. 

Previous experience with music theory or classical music is not necessary to understand this session!

Learn more about professor Eric McIntyre and see a full description of the lecture on the Mozart's Juggling Act registration page. After you register, you will receive an email with the link to watch the lecture at your leisure.

Medieval European Books of Hours – What are they? How were they made? Who read them?

Faculty Member: Sharon R. Clayton, associate professor/acquisitions and discovery librarian & Laura Michelson, assistant library professor
Discussion date: April 26 at 1 p.m.

Medieval Books of Hours are manuscript books containing prayers and devotional texts that were created and used primarily from the 13th through 16th centuries in Western Europe. These manuscript prayer books were often beautifully illustrated and bound, becoming objects of art as well as devotional texts. More books of hours remain today than any other artifact from medieval Europe. This lecture will provide more detail on what was in these books, how they were made, and who their readers were. Clayton and Michelson will show numerous beautiful examples along the way, including some from The Salisbury House Library Collection at Grinnell College Special Collections & Archives.

Learn more about professors Sharon R. Clayton and Laura Michelson and see a full description of the lecture on the Medieval Books of Hours registration page. After you register, you will receive an email with the link to watch the lecture at your leisure.

Narrative and Identity

Faculty Member: Johanna Meehan, McCay-Casady Professor of Humanities
Discussion date: May 16 at Noon

Who am I? What links the self I was as a child, as a young woman, to the person I am today? Why does my past seem to matter to present self? Theorists have argued that not only do autobiographical narratives matter, but they truly are what the self is. While Professor Meehan shares the belief that narratives are critically important to our sense of self, they do not constitute the whole of a self. In this lecture she will examine both the importance and limits to the role that narrative plays in the founding and sustaining of the self.

Learn more about professor Johanna Meehan and see a full description of the lecture on the Narrative and Identity registration page. After you register, you will receive an email with the link to watch the lecture at your leisure.