Featured Events

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Multicultural Alumni Weekend
November 10 - 11
Grinnell, IA


Grinnell-in-Madison Reception
6 - 8:30 p.m.
Madison, WI


20th Gathering at the Berghoff
6 - 9:30 p.m.
Chicago, IL

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News from Campus

Alumni News
Writers@Grinnell: Kiese Laymon & Dwayne Betts

Award winning authors Kiese Laymon and Dwayne Betts will read from their work and discuss writing on Thursday, September 28, as part of the Writers@Grinnell series at Grinnell College. The event, which is free and open to the public, will start at 8 p.m. in the Joe Rosenfield 25 Center (JRC) room 101.

In addition, a conversation with Kiese Laymon and Dwayne Betts will be held at 4:15 p.m. in JRC 101.

Kiese Laymon is currently a Professor of English and African American Studies at the University of Mississippi. Laymon is the author of the novel, Long Division and a collection of essays, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, the UK edition released in 2016. Laymon has written essays, stories and reviews for numerous publications including Esquire, McSweeneys, New York Times, ESPN the Magazine, Colorlines, NPR, LitHub, The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, PEN Journal, Fader, Oxford American, The Best American Series, Ebony, and Guernica. He is a contributing editor of Oxford American. Three essays in How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America have been included in the Best American series, the Best of Net award, and the Atlantic's Best Essays of 2013. He was selected a member of the Root 100 in 2013 and 2014 and Ebony Magazine Power 100 in 2015.

Reginald Dwayne Betts, is a poet, memoirist, Yale law graduate, and activist. He is the author of three books: the recently published Bastards of the Reagan Era, the 2010 NAACP Image Award winning memoir, A Question of Freedom, and the poetry collection, Shahid Reads His Own Palm. Dwayne is currently enrolled in the PhD in Law Program at the Yale Law School. He has earned a J.D. from the Yale Law School, an M.F.A. from Warren Wilson College’s M.F.A. Program for Writers, and a B.A. from the University of Maryland and served on a presidential advisory board during the Obama administration.

Writers@Grinnell: Jamaal May and Tarfia Fiazullah

The Saadi Simawe Memorial Reading will be given by award winning poets, Jamaal May and Tarfia Fiazullah  on Thursday, October 5th as part of the Writers@Grinnell series at Grinnell College. The event, which is free and open to the public, will start at 8 p.m. in the Faulconer Gallery in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts.

In addition, May and Faizullah will lead a roundtable discussion, which is free and open to the public, at 4:15 p.m., also in the Faulconer Gallery.

Jamaal May is the author of Hum (Alice James Books, 2013) and The Big Book of Exit Strategies (Alice James Books, 2016). His first collection received a Lannan Foundation Grant, American Library Association’s Notable Book Award, and was named a finalist for the Tufts Discovery Award and an NAACP Image Award. Jamaal’s other honors include a Spirit of Detroit Award, the Wood Prize from Poetry, an Indiana Review Prize, and fellowships from The Stadler Center, The Kenyon Review, and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Italy. Jamaal May’s poetry explores the tension between opposites to render a sonically rich argument for the interconnectivity of people, worlds, and ideas. He co-directs OW! Arts with Tarfia Faizullah.

Bangladeshi American poet Tarfia Faizullah grew up in Midland, Texas. She earned an MFA from the Virginia Commonwealth University program in creative writing. Her first book, Seam (2014), won the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award. Focused around a long sequence “Interview with a Birangona,” the book explores the ethics of interviewing as well as the history of the birangona, Bangladeshi women raped by Pakistani soldiers during the Liberation War of 1971. Faizullah received a Fulbright award to travel to Bangladesh and interview the birangona. Faizullah lives in Detroit where she teaches at the University of Michigan. Her second book is Registers of Illuminated Villages (Graywolf Press, 2018).

This event is dedicated to the memory of Saadi Simawe...

Saadi Simawe joined Grinnell’s English department in 1992. He gained tenure in 2000, went on to SFS in 2008, and transferred to emeritus status in 2012. His Ph.D. was awarded by the University of Iowa and his teaching and research interests included Arabic language and literature, Middle Eastern literatures, and the study of literary interconnections between the West and the Islamic East. From 1994 to 1998, he was director of the Grinnell Writers’ Conference, inviting significant authors to come to Grinnell to read from their work. He convened a Race and Ethnicity Reading Group of faculty members, and helped plan a number of symposia at the College.

In addition to teaching and service to the College, Simawe taught at Nanjing University as part of the Grinnell-Nanjing exchange and was a Fulbright teacher-scholar at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, Senegal. He specialized in African-American literature and maintained a keen scholarly interest in the constructions and expressions of blackness in Arabic literature. He brought this into his classes, introducing in his African-American literature courses elements from Arabic and Islamic literature and Grinnell recognized his scholarship with a Rosenbloom Award for Interdisciplinary Study of the Arts in 1999. In 2000, he published Black Orpheus: Music in African American Fiction from the Harlem Renaissance to Toni Morrison. He also published widely on Arabic literature.

A native of Iraq, Simawe was imprisoned as a dissident under the Saddam Hussein regime during the 1970s. He came to the United States for graduate studies and never returned to Iraq. After becoming a U.S. citizen, he frequently traveled abroad to maintain a close network with the Iraqi diaspora. He was well known as a sensitive translator and an advocate for Arabic literature, particularly Iraqi art and literature.

Simawe was highly regarded by early career faculty at Grinnell as an excellent and thoughtful mentor. A scholar whose body of work bridged cultures, he was known to deploy a formidable wit and a wonderful sense of language to confront the sorrows of history. Regarded by all as a lovely, gentle man with a soaring heart and quiet sense of humor, he will be missed by his faculty colleagues, his students, and the many writers who knew him.

Special Campus Memo: Scott Wilson

September 7, 2017

Dear Grinnellians,

I am writing to let you know that Scott L. Wilson 98, Chief Investment Officer (CIO) of the College, will be leaving his position to become CIO of Washington University in St. Louis. Scott's last day at Grinnell will be Nov. 12, and he will assume his new role Dec. 1.

Scott earned his Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Mathematics at Grinnell, and he attended the University of Chicago's financial mathematics program. He is a chartered financial analyst.

In 2010, he returned to Grinnell as Director of Investments and was promoted to Chief Investment Officer, effective January 1, 2014. Grinnell's endowment had a market value of $1.26 billion when Scott joined the College's Investment Office. By the end of fiscal year 2016, the endowment had increased to $1.65 billion. Results for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2017, are not yet final, but the estimated endowment value is on track to exceed $1.8 billion.

Prior to joining the College, Scott worked for Barclays Capital in Tokyo, Japan; Bank of America Securities in Chicago, London and Tokyo; and Merrill Lynch & Credit Suisse First Boston.

It has been a privilege and a pleasure for me to work with Scott over the past seven years. I know I speak for the board and the entire college community in thanking him for his service and wishing him well in his new position. The College is finalizing details of a succession plan. Additional information will be shared when it becomes available.


Raynard S. Kington


Statement from President Kington Regarding DACA

September 5, 2017

As president of Grinnell College, I have voiced the College's support of President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. I wrote to President Trump prior to today’s announcement, imploring him to preserve DACA. I am deeply dismayed that President Trump has ended DACA and its protection from deportation of young, undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

Today, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a plan to continue renewing permits for anyone whose status expires in the next six months, giving Congress time to act before individuals currently protected by DACA lose their ability to work, study, and live without fear of deportation. I have written to Iowa's U.S. senators, and Grinnell's Congressional Representative Rod Blum, urging them to take swift action to uphold DACA and to create a path to citizenship for the nearly 800,000 young people known as "Dreamers" who have benefited from this compassionate and humanitarian policy.

I want to assure the campus community that the College is dedicated to unequivocally supporting our students who might feel vulnerable for themselves or family and friends as a result of the termination of the DACA program. Grinnell College remains an open and welcoming campus that supports all Grinnellians.

I feel very strongly about this issue; I am the son of an immigrant. My father was an immigrant brought to this country as a child. My grandfather was initially undocumented and deported from Ellis Island, but went on to gain legal status and to help his family to build a life in this country.

If you or someone you know has concerns about their status under the change in policy, please reach out to our offices of International Student Affairs, Intercultural Affairs, Center for Religion, Spirituality, and Social Justice, and Student Health and Counseling Services.

Librarian Trading Cards

The Grinnell College Libraries are very excited to announce that we now have trading cards featuring our librarians! Each card features a photo, job title, home base (office location), consulting areas, abilities (super powers or other librarian skills), and contact information. So far, we’ve handed the cards out during New Faculty Orientation, and IPOP and PCPOP tours. Trading cards featuring library staff members will be coming soon.

The design and template were created by Han Trinh ’17.

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