A group of alumni reminisce while looking at an old picture album.

Statement on COVID-19 and Reunion 2020

Posted March 19, 2020

Dear Grinnellians,

The coronavirus COVID-19 continues to spread across the United States and around the globe. At this time, there are no known cases on campus or in the community of Grinnell. However, because the situation is changing so rapidly, we are compelled to focus on our efforts to prevent or slow the transmission of the virus. The College is doing all it can to mitigate health and safety risks to our community, including a transition to distance learning for students and remote work for many College employees. First and foremost our top priority is to protect the health and safety of our campus and residential Grinnell communities. 

With this in mind, the College recently announced the postponement of the 2020 Commencement ceremony and after lengthy considerations, today we sadly announce the cancellation of Alumni College and Reunion 2020.

This decision was not reached lightly. We recognize the incredible importance of Reunion as a moment for alumni to come together, to reconnect with each other and campus, and to celebrate the Grinnell experience. We especially want to acknowledge how disappointing this will be to our Alumni Award recipients and to the 50th reunion class of 1970 who, until this spring, was the only class to have left campus without a Commencement ceremony. But we also recognize the need to keep our alumni, students, faculty, and staff safe, including those most vulnerable to the coronavirus. Cancelling these events allows us to continue to meet our social responsibility to “flatten the curve” and serve the common good. 

All Alumni College and Reunion registrations will be refunded in the next 30 days. Registrations made via credit card will be refunded to those credit cards; all other refunds will be issued via a check mailed to the home address on file. Please note that our accounting department is currently focused on processing room and board refunds for our students, so we ask for your patience if processing your refund takes longer than expected.

If you do not wish to receive a refund but instead wish to donate your registration fees to the Supporting Our Students Fund, please email me at alumni@grinnell.edu by next Monday, March 23. Our students would welcome your support.

We have put together an FAQ resource, which we hope will address many of your questions and concerns. If you still have questions, please reach out to us at alumni@grinnell.edu.

It is our hope that we will be able to identify a new time for each Reunion 2020 class to gather and celebrate once the pandemic is over. We will be working with class leaders and committees to present and discuss potential solutions for rescheduled reunion activities and will share more information on our website, and through email, in the coming weeks.

We extend our profound thanks to the hundreds of alumni volunteers who have worked tirelessly to plan and organize a myriad of details related to Reunion 2020 programming and fundraising; we are grateful for your commitment to each other and to Grinnell College.

Thank you for your flexibility, partnership and understanding.  Please stay safe and healthy!  

Jayn Bailey Chaney ’05
Director of Alumni and Donor Relations

Additional COVID-19 related resources and support can be found at #GrinnelliansStayConnected, an initiative driven by students, faculty, and staff to provide ways for Grinnellians to stay connected and collectively care for ourselves and one another.