Class of 1997 established endowed scholarship fund for 25th reunion

May 10, 2023 — When the 1997 Reunion Class Committee began to plan their 25th reunion, they made giving to Grinnell College a significant priority. 

Committee members offered several ideas, such as dedicating a classroom or common area to their class. “After a bit of debate, we decided to endow a scholarship in our class name,” says Kirpal Singh ’97. That’s how The Class of 1997 Endowed Scholarship Fund was born. The fund will support students from underrepresented populations.

Many of Singh’s classmates were eager to show their commitment to Grinnell in such a lasting, tangible way.

Alex Wood ’97, left, and Kirpal Singh ’97.
Alex Wood ’97, left, and Kirpal Singh ’97 present a prize during the class of 1997 brunch at Reunion 2022. The class raised $59,000 to endow a scholarship.

“It was cool to see everybody on the same page,” Singh says. “It was a collective effort to pay forward the generosity of alumni and other donors that we had received.”

Committee members embarked on fundraising efforts leading up to and during Reunion 2022 when the class celebrated its milestone 25th reunion. The class ended up raising $59,000 to endow the scholarship. Singh hopes to increase the fund total in the years to come.

“The hope is that we can eventually give out a full-ride scholarship,” Singh says. “I think we’ll ultimately get there.”

Erica McClure ’24
   Erica McClure ’24

The first scholarship was awarded this academic year to Erica McClure ’24, a psychology and French major from Tucson, Arizona, who aspires to be a clinical psychologist. 

“We were super excited to provide Erica support,” says Singh. “It’s pretty rewarding to see how the money is spent.”
A longtime volunteer for the College, Singh has served as the 1997 class fund director since 2009. 

“If I wasn’t doing this role, I probably wouldn’t know anything about what my classmates are doing,” Singh says. “It’s a very special thing for me.”

The class of 1997’s generosity showed up once again on Scarlet & Give Back Day in April when 54 alums gave a total of $22,402. The number of donors from 1997 was the second highest among all classes, trailing only the class of 2001, which had 60 donors. The amount of money given by 1997 alums was the third highest total (trailing the classes of 1990 and 1960). 

“It’s really important to find different ways to give back,” Singh says. “Whether it’s helping a student on their internship hunt, giving them advice on what they can do after Grinnell, or raising money, helping current and future Grinnellians is crucial. The class of 1997 is aware of the valuable contributions alumni can make to ensure the College remains a special place.”

— by Clara Bode ’26

For your information:

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