Alumni ready to reunite and reminisce during 140th Reunion Weekend

May 24, 2019 — Grinnell College alumni from 41 different classes – ranging from 1954 to 2017 – are set to take part in Reunion weekend festivities.

Grinnell College’s 140th Alumni Reunion Weekend is taking place May 30-June 2 throughout numerous venues on campus and in Grinnell. At last count, 993 alumni, friends, and family have registered to attend.

Reunion is the largest Grinnell alumni event held each year. Alumni return to the College to rekindle connections with classmates, enjoy lively conversations and lectures, explore the campus, and revisit their past.

“We are delighted to have nearly 1,000 attendees gathering in Grinnell for this time-honored event,” said Jaci Thiede, vice president of Grinnell College development and alumni relations. “Reunion is an excellent chance to re-connect with classmates and the College, and celebrate the unique bond Grinnellians have.”

The Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center is Reunion central all week, serving as the registration spot, help desk, and a venue for many events.
The Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center is Reunion central all week, serving as the registration spot, help desk, and a venue for many events.

This year’s featured Reunion classes are the classes of 1959, 1960, 1969, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1994, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2009 though alumni from any class are always welcome. Alums are attending from near are far. This year’s registered attendees are from 46 states, and seven foreign nations: Canada, France, Hong Kong, Israel, Peru, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.

About 90 alums from the Class of 1969 are returning to the College to celebrate their 50th Reunion. The class will hold a special celebratory luncheon and a red carpet dinner. All Reunion participants can attend events sponsored by the class: an international folk dancing session on May 31 and the honorary faculty lecture by George Drake ’56 on June 1. Drake, president emeritus, will reflect on the student revolution and how it altered the Board of Trustees’ focus, especially the role of Joe Rosenfield ’25, who is the subject of a biography Drake recently published.

That book, Mentor: Life and Legacy of Joe Rosenfield is one of two new books that will be available for sale during Reunion. Attendees also can pick up the Alumni Community Cookbook. Complied by the Grinnell College Alumni Council, the cookbook contains 256 recipes submitted by alums. Both books – along with others written by Grinnell alums – will be celebrated during the Pioneer Bookshop Open House from 5-7 p.m. May 30 at 933 Main St. in downtown Grinnell.

As usual, Reunion weekend is brimming full of activities, lectures, parties, and family fun. A community concert featuring The Sheet will start at 7 p.m. Thursday in Central Park in downtown Grinnell. The Des Moines-based band brings positive vibes with familiar and fun reggae-infused music from the 90s to now.

Activities will take place all day Friday, including a golf scramble, building and community tours, relays, and the all-reunion picnic. Friday evening will include class socials, a performance by the Too Many Strings band, a movie under the stars, and a Dari Barn run.

The All-Reunion Picnic Friday evening gives attendees from across all classes a chance to enjoy a good meal and camaraderie.
The All-Reunion Picnic Friday evening gives attendees from across all classes a chance to enjoy a good meal and camaraderie.

A packed Saturday kicks off with the alumni fun run/walk and continues with numerous events, lectures, and happenings. Alumni Assembly leads into an all-reunion social and class dinners. A Harris Party wraps up the evening. A farewell breakfast along with a worship service rounds out the weekend on Sunday morning.

A complete Reunion schedule and additional information can be found on the Reunion App.

The Grinnell College Alumni Council has selected 14 alumni who will receive Alumni Awards during Alumni Assembly, which starts at 4 p.m. June 1 in Herrick Chapel. The Alumni Award recognizes individuals who embody Grinnell College’s mission of lifetime learning and service. Recipients have distinguished themselves by their service to their careers, their community, and/or the College.

The recipients are:

  • Bruce Pauley ’59
  • L.R. “Bud” Roegge ’59
  • Janice Williams Resseger ’69
  • The Hon. Henry Wingate ’69
  • Moses Lee ’79
  • Jeffrey Greenberg ’80
  • Susan Henken-Thielen ’80
  • Paula Nixon ’84
  • Noel Green ’94
  • Dorje Gurung ’94
  • Jason Kimelman-Block ’94
  • Kent Donald Messer ’94
  • Lu “Maggie” Bian, ’09
  • Latona Giwa ’09

Preceding Reunion on May 29 and 30, Alumni College will hold courses on the theme of “Diversity is About All of Us.” The College launched its comprehensive Diversity and Inclusion Plan in August.

Alumni College provides the chance for participants to re-experience the intellectual stimulation of the classroom with Grinnell College faculty and alumni. Participants will focus on connecting with others, learning from stories, and understanding what it means to truly celebrate diversity. Faculty members will encourage participants to critically think about the issues that affect Grinnell students and their own communities.

While advanced registration is closed, alumni still can register in person at the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center (JRC) during Alumni College and Reunion. Housing and certain meals may not be available.

Alumni who have already registered also should make their first stop the JRC, 1115 8th Ave., to pick up materials.

A list of frequently asked Reunion questions and answers can be accessed here.

— by Jeremy Shapiro

For your information:

Curious about who has registered to attend Reunion 2019? See the list of registrants.

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