Five new members join Grinnell College Alumni Council

Aug. 04, 2021 — Five new additions to the Grinnell College Alumni Council will help foster a spirit of fellowship among Grinnell graduates across the globe.

The new Alumni Council members for 2021-22 are:

  • Kate Goddard ’91
  • Anton Jones ’02
  • Jake Joseph ’11
  • Michael Niederman ’80
  • Dawn Helsing Wolters ’87

Each will serve an initial two-year term through Reunion 2023, and they are eligible to serve through 2027. Council members can be elected to up to three consecutive terms.

“I’m thrilled to welcome the newest members of Alumni Council,” says Lester Alemán ’07, Alumni Council president. “We are in such an important year for the College and their voices, advocacy, and insights are going to serve well as we engage in meaningful, strategic dialogue with College staff and faculty, all while continuing the critical work of engaging alumni everywhere.”

The Alumni Council strives to unite Grinnell graduates and former students. The 26-member group promotes a spirit of camaraderie among alumni and supports the College leadership, faculty, staff, and students in the advancement of the College. Council meetings are held in the fall and spring.

Here’s a detailed look at the new members:

Kate Goddard ’91

Kate Goddard
   Kate Goddard ’91

Goddard lives in Purcellville, Virginia, and is an evaluator at the U.S. Department of State.
She has 20 years of experience in designing and executing research and evaluations, with specific interest in engaging stakeholders and communicating actionable results.

Passionate about social justice, public service, and upholding foundational principles, Goddard wants to help enhance the reach and influence of Grinnell and to reconnect with the roots of her intellectual development.

“As a student in the late 1980s, we spoke of many issues that are front and center today – racial equity, the climate crisis, and democratic representation,” she says. “If Grinnell continues to be prescient, re-engaging with students now will help me better understand the issues of the future, helping me grow as a leader.”

To feed the right side of her brain, Goddard sings. She also enjoys reading, biking, and watching her teenage son play baseball.

Goddard is serving on the Council’s Awards, Membership & Election Committee.

Anton Jones ’02

Anton Jones
   Anton Jones ’02

Jones resides in Minneapolis and is artistic director/CEO of CLIMB Theatre, a touring arts organization that uses arts integration techniques and community building strategies to strengthen the skills of Accountability, Resilience, Empathy, Advocacy, and Self Control (A.R.E.A.S.).

Jones is passionate about intersecting with as many communities as possible and anything related to The Goonies, the Minnesota Vikings, Grinnell Track & Field, his 3 daughters and his wife (in no particular order).

A theatre major, Jones says he never was challenged to push himself more in life than during his four years at Grinnell.

“This was due to an amazing group of peers and faculty who demanded the best of me because they demanded the best of themselves,” Jones says. “I wanted to join the Council to have an opportunity to get that same push from fellow council members while returning the favor by pushing Grinnell to be the best of itself.”

Jones is a member of the Council’s Alumni Student Connections Committee.

Rev. Jake Joseph ’11

Jake Joseph
   Rev. Jake Joseph ’11

Joseph lives in Milford, Connecticut, and has been associate minister of First Church Guilford since September 2019. He previously spent five years at a congregation in Northern Colorado where he chaired the housing authority Board of Commissioners, was involved nationally with housing authority advocacy and policy as a national commissioner for the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO), was on the board of Habitat for Humanity, and was a member of the Colorado Governor’s Clergy Council.

Joseph finished his studies at Grinnell a semester early but stayed in the town as a full-time hospice chaplain intern.

“For this reason, I am passionate about the College and the relationships students have with Grinnell – an incredible town and place of learning,” he says. “I am who I am today because of Grinnell College and Grinnell, Iowa. I want to support diversity and inclusion initiatives and current students, staff, faculty, and the wider Grinnell community with my time on Alumni Council.”

Joseph is serving on the Council’s Awards, Election, and Membership Committee.

Michael Niederman ’80

Michael Niederman
   Michael Niederman ’80

Niederman is a Skokie, Illinois, resident and a professor in the Cinema and Television Arts Department of Columbia College Chicago. An award-winning media maker, Niederman has written and lectured extensively about television, popular culture, and emerging narrative forms.

Endlessly curious about storytelling and how it is evolving, Niederman wrote a book entitled Storytelling Across Worlds: Transmedia for Creatives and Producers.

Niederman was a theatre major at Grinnell. His daughter, Natalie Niederman ‘20, majored in political science and swam for the Pioneers.

“As both a graduate and a parent of graduate, serving on the Alumni Council seemed like a chance to give back to the College that has been part of my life for over 45 years,” he says. “Given my experience in higher education, it seemed like I might have something to contribute.”

He is a member of the Council’s Alumni Engagement and Communications Committee.

Dawn Helsing Wolters ’87

Dawn Helsing Wolters
  Dawn Helsing Wolters ’87

Walters lives in Brookfield, Wisconsin, and oversees grant project/proposal development at Alverno College, along with managing corporate, foundation, and government funding relationships. She also teaches fundraising and grant writing to undergrads and graduate students, and recently developed curriculum for a new self-paced, experiential online degree program.

Wolters threw her hat in the ring for the Alumni Council because she wants to remain connected “not just to my own College experience, but to the evolving pulse of Grinnell today and what makes it tick. I want to find new ways to use my talent and experience to give back to the College and to help keep it strong by leveraging the amazing resource of its alumni.”

In her free time, Wolters can be found walking her dogs, cooking, gardening, enjoying a concert or theatre performance, or rooting on the Milwaukee Brewers. She also volunteers as outreach coordinator for the Shiba Inu Rescue Association and with Lost Dogs of Wisconsin.

Wolters serves on the Council’s Alumni Student Connections Committee.

Other Council news

The Council also re-elected the following members to their second terms: Robert Gehorsam ’76, Bernard Jackson ’86, and Eric Mistry ’14. Council members elected to a third term were Graciela Guzmán ’11, Phillip Hales ’02, and Robert Ruhl ’76.

Gehorsam also was elected Alumni Council president-elect for this year. He will serve as president in 2022-23.

Students serving on the Council as ex-officio members this year are Fernando Villatoro ’22, Student Government Association president; and Stella Schaefer-Brown ’22 and Maddie Sevier ’23, co-presidents of the Student Alumni Council.

—by Jeremy Shapiro

For your information:

Visit the Alumni Council web pages for a full list of members, committees, meeting minutes, and information about serving on the Council.

To read more alumni news, check out our news archive.