Being a class agent for a decade has gone swimmingly for 2014 alumna

May 23, 2024 — During the swim team’s annual winter training trip to Naples, Florida, Kristina De La Torre ’14 had a consequential meeting with Molly Campe ’96, who at the time worked in alumni and donor relations.

Kristina De La Torre ’14
   Kristina De La Torre ’14

Little did De La Torre know that meeting would one day lead to her becoming the longest tenured 2014 class agent. Kristina was eventually hired as a student intern for the Office of Developmental and Alumni Relations (DAR) in 2013, and Campe became her supervisor. 

Campe, who now is the Liberal Arts in Prison program coordinator for the College, is “an amazing human being, a bright light, and was like a second mom to me,” De La Torre says. As an intern, De La Torre’s responsibilities included many of the logistical, behind the scenes tasks that go into producing the letters that class agents write to their respective classes throughout the year. After coordinating with class agents from many different class years, becoming a class agent herself seemed like a natural fit.

After De La Torre graduated, she prepared to relocate to Seattle, Washington. Campe offered to put De La Torre in touch with a friend. 

De La Torre wound up living with Carter Wiese ’14 and Eric Streed ’14, and soon after fulfilled a childhood dream by working at Trader Joe’s. (She was obsessed with Trader Joe’s in high school.) In addition to the grocery store, she juggled two jobs – one with the Pacific Science Center and another raising funds for a nonprofit arts school. 

Carter Wiese ’14, left, and Kristina De La Torre ’14
Carter Wiese ’14, left, and Kristina De La Torre ’14 lived in Seattle after graduating from Grinnell 10 years ago.

She eventually found a full-time job as a wedding planner which brought a measure of satisfaction. “I was doing something fulfilling for other people – bringing someone’s dream to life,” she says, but over time that sense of fulfillment began to fade. She put the skills she’d developed in DAR to use working in development for PROVAIL, a Seattle nonprofit that supports area residents with disabilities. 

In the decade since graduation, being a class agent has given her a volunteer outlet to support the College and stay connected. A class agent’s work includes keeping in regular contact with fellow classmates and helping to ensure they continue to make and maintain connections to each other, the College, and other alums. Many alumni interact with their class agents through a class letter with College news and other pertinent updates. De La Torre has a special appreciation for everything that happens behind the scenes to support the work of class agents and make alumni gatherings possible from producing the letters and fact-checking alumni information to identifying venues for alumni events.

Class agents are also encouraged to make a regular contribution to the College. For a long time, De La Torre directed her gifts to the College’s swim team, which shaped much of her time at Grinnell. She says that former swimming coach Erin Hurley, who recruited De La Torre, was a major mentor and had a significant impact on her and many of her teammates. 

“Coach Hurley was an advocate for me and a really good advocate for her athletes,” De La Torre says. More recently, De La Torree has directed donations to supporting student financial aid so that, in a small way, she could help the College continue to enroll students from a wide array of backgrounds. 

Will Elsas ’14, bottom right going clockwise, Sara Hannemann ’14, Patty Murphy-Geiss ’14, Dylan Gray ’14, and Kristina De La Torre ’14
Will Elsas ’14, bottom right going clockwise, Sara Hannemann ’14, Patty Murphy-Geiss ’14, Dylan Gray ’14, and Kristina De La Torre ’14 are pictured as students during Grinnell Relays.

Over the last year, De La Torre, along with fellow class agent Andrew Frerick ’14, has been hard at work gearing up for the class of 2014’s 10th reunion by serving on the Reunion Class Committee with 2014 class fund directors and other volunteers. 

The class of 2014 was part of the five-year reunion cluster disrupted by COVID-19 in 2020, and De La Torre notes that many of the activities and events planned and pioneered for that reunion – like Block Party and a family-friendly alumni Drag Show — took place at Young Alumni Weekend in 2022 instead. 

She’s excited to take part in those events next week at Reunion 2024. Her class will also have two exclusive events to reconnect – an all-class brunch on Saturday morning followed by a catch-up social hour that afternoon. While she’s excited to see her classmates and to spend some time lounging in the Spencer Grill, De La Torre encourages reunion attendees to spend some time with people from different class years. It’s “definitely been the highlight” of past reunions she’s volunteered at and attended, she says. 

After five years in Seattle, De La Torre returned to her hometown of Long Beach, California, and worked for the YMCA of Greater Long Beach. “With Grinnell being community-focused, wanting to do good in the world was inevitable,” she says. “Giving back was something I chased in every job I had.” Working in the nonprofit sector has its own challenges though and gradually she began to feel undervalued, which led her in a new direction. For the last two years, she’s been working as a project manager at a tech company and leads marketing efforts for another one of the CEO’s entities. 

“I work hard, but I feel highly valued; I get to bring my passion and see purpose in everything I do,” De La Torre says. Recently she’s noticed that she’s become a better advocate for herself. “Now I feel comfortable pushing boundaries and setting them at the same time,” she says, “All that confidence comes from Grinnell even if it’s sinking in ten years later.”  

— by Joe Engleman ’14 

For your information

For more information about serving as a class agent, contact Jessica Stewart, senior associate director of alumni and donor relations, at or 641-269-3234.

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