Retired engineer shares his love of the liberal arts with students in the sciences

Sept. 21, 2018 — By the time George Guerin ’61 applied to college, he knew that engineering was in his future. But his engineer dad, Herbert Guerin, urged him to include the liberal arts in his plans.

The result: George was accepted into the ‘3-2’ program between Grinnell and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), in Troy, New York, that was in place at the time. He left Grinnell after his junior year to earn his civil engineering degree at RPI, then was awarded a bachelor’s in physics from Grinnell.

“My father interviewed and recruited engineering students for the company he worked for, and he felt many didn’t have enough knowledge in English, philosophy, or the fine arts to communicate properly,” explained Guerin, a retired engineering and project manager who spent nearly three decades working for cereal/snack giant Kellogg’s.

“I’ve used the liberal arts education I got at Grinnell ever since graduation – from philosophy and logic to Introduction to Art with Professor Richard Cervene ’51.”

When Guerin and his wife Marijke were looking to invest some Kellogg stock they had accumulated over the years, the couple decided to invest in the education of Grinnell students in the sciences. And they’re doing it through two planned giving vehicles – a Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT) and a Charitable Gift Annuity (CGA). These allow the Guerins to transfer stock to Grinnell and fund a scholarship, while providing them tax deductions plus quarterly income.

Marijke and George Guerin ’61
Marijke and George Guerin ’61

“By investing in these we’re investing in education, rather than the stock market,” Guerin said. “We don’t have to worry about the money because it’s been put in a good place and it’s stable. It provides good capital resources for Grinnell College, so they are better endowed for themselves and students in the future – and it provides extra income for us.”

The scholarship is named in honor of Herbert Guerin, who set George on the path of broadening his mind through the liberal arts. “My father really encouraged me to do the ‘3-2’ program. Throughout my career it truly helped me get along better with people, to think and to better see and understand what I was working on.”

George and Marijke, who recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, visited Grinnell last year. It was the first time since the early 1960s that George had been on campus.

“There have been a lot of changes but it looked well-planned and everything seemed to integrate well with the existing buildings,” he said. “The campus is well engineered and well-architected, so to speak – and there’s still plenty of open space.”

“We invested in Grinnell because we liked the way the sciences are combined with the arts and humanities,” he concluded. “And I benefited greatly from my education at Grinnell.”

— by Anne Stein ’84

For your information:

To learn more about the benefits of CRTs and CGAs, please contact Buddy Boulton, Grinnell College director of planned giving, at or 641-269-3248.