Catching up with classmates, exploring Grinnell on tap for Reunion 2024

May 23, 2024 — Grinnell alumni from 45 different classes – ranging from 1953 to 2019 – are returning to their alma mater for a weekend of reconnection.

Grinnell College’s 144th Alumni Reunion Weekend is taking place May 30-June 2 throughout numerous venues on campus as well as in and around Grinnell. At last count, 1,100 guests have registered to attend (826 alums along with family members, friends of the College, and faculty and staff).

Alumni return to the College to rekindle connections with classmates, enjoy lively conversations and events, explore the campus and city of Grinnell, and revisit their student days.

President Anne F. Harris chats with alumni at the Reunion 2023 10th Reunion class brunch.
The 10th reunion class brunch offers plenty of connection opportunities, such as when President Anne F. Harris visited with the class of 2013 last year.

This year’s Reunion classes celebrating milestone reunions are the classes of 1954, 1959, 1960, 1974, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2014, 2017, 2018, and 2019. Alumni from any class are always welcome and some alums attend every Reunion as part of the GRA/EY – Grinnell Reunion Any/Every Year – contingent. This year’s registered attendees are from 44 states, Washington D.C., and 18 foreign countries: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan, South Africa, Switzerland, Taiwan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe.

“To have over 800 alumni spanning seven decades and their loved ones return to campus for this time-honored event is incredible,” says Jayn Bailey Chaney ’05, director of alumni and donor relations. “Reunions are more than just gatherings; they are vibrant tapestries woven from the threads of cherished memories and shared journeys. Our team is thrilled to open the doors wide and ready to embrace our alumni family back on campus. Let’s reignite the sparks of nostalgia, celebrate our past, and forge new connections that will guide us into an inspiring future together.”

As usual, Reunion weekend is full of activities, enlightening sessions, social gatherings, and family fun. In addition to the reuniting that goes on at every reunion, attendees will have a variety of event options to choose from throughout the weekend.

On opening day, Thursday, May 30, there will be campus tours, a Multicultural Reception, and evening welcome events for each class or cluster.

Attendees can fill their Friday in numerous ways. Some of the options include Bike Ride Around Grinnell, a trip to Conard Environmental Research Area, the Pioneer Athletics Luncheon, a social justice tour, and open houses at the Black Cultural Center (BCC), Center for Religion, Spirituality, and Social Justice (CRSSJ), Disability Cultural Center (DCC), or the Center for Careers, Life, and Service (CLS).

At the Bike Ride Around Grinnell Friday morning, Reunion attendees will get a chance to get some exercise while exploring Grinnell and the Iowa countryside.
At the Bike Ride Around Grinnell Friday morning, Reunion attendees will get a chance to get some exercise while exploring Grinnell and the Iowa countryside.

While there’s no shortage of fun and games, Reunion 2024 will also have its share of meaningful intellectual moments with Grinnell College faculty members. Senior faculty members Kesho Scott DSS ’21 and Will Freeman will present The Treasure of Teaching Together on Friday morning. Later that morning, Tamara Beauboeuf-Lafontant, Louise R. Noun Chair in Gender, Women's and Sexuality Studies, will give a lecture on Becoming Edith Renfrow: Lessons from a Black family photo album 1915-1937. 

Celebrating its 50th Reunion with 80 alums returning, the class of 1974 will sponsor a panel Friday afternoon called Perspectives from the Decades featuring Kesho Scott, Rosenfield Professor Wayne Moyer, L.F. Parker Professor of History Sarah Purcell ’92, and Gertrude B. Austin Professor of Economics Bill Ferguson ’75.

The Reunion Block Party will be held Friday night complete with food trucks, yard games, activities, and music performances by Roxi Copland ’05 and Ella Williams ’18 – better known musically as Squirrel Flower. Drag Show and a midnight bakery run complete the Friday festivities. 

Saturday is another full day of activities, starting with a fun run/walk at 7:30 a.m. Other highlights include The View from Grinnell (a candid conversation between President Anne F. Harris and Board of Trustees Chair Michael Kahn ’74), a Liberal Arts in Prison Program presentation, a book reading by Professor Emeritus Sandy Moffett, and Chillax time on Mac Field. 

Alumni Assembly brings together Reunion goers from all different classes.
Alumni Assembly brings together Reunion goers from all different classes. Featuring the presentation of the 2024 Alumni Awards, Assembly will take place at 4:30 p.m. on June 1 in Herrick Chapel.

Everyone will come together for the Alumni Assembly at 4:30 p.m. Saturday in Herrick Chapel. The event will include an address by President Harris, an alumni choir performance, and Alumni Council members will present the 2024 Alumni Awards. The Council selected 12 recipients this year who have distinguished themselves by their service to their careers, their community, and/or the College.

This year’s recipients are:

  • Kathleen DuBois ’74
  • Denise Iverson-Payne ’74
  • Tony Reid ’78
  • Ed Fry ’79
  • Trish Fitzgibbons Anderson ’80
  • Nora Mann ’80
  • Elizabeth Lee ’99
  • Carla Talarico ’99
  • Brian Vicente ’99
  • Charles Blake ’05
  • Alissa Briggs ’05
  • Lisa Eshun-Wilson ’14

Both the View from Grinnell event and Alumni Assembly will be livestreamed for those unable to attend in person.

After Assembly, an all-Reunion dinner will be held. A Grinnell College Museum of Art reception, Too Many String Band performance, Princess Bride movie showing, and Reunion Harris Party round out Saturday’s events. A farewell breakfast Sunday morning closes out the weekend.

The planning for Reunion 2024 started more than a year in advance and involved countless hours by 118 Reunion Class Committee volunteers.

“Reunion would not be possible without the incredible partnership of our Reunion committee volunteers, our wonderful student staff, and our faculty and staff partners,” says Guinevere Natarelli, associate director for reunion programs. “It’s a joy to witness the volunteers coming together to turn their fantastic ideas into reality and create something so meaningful to us all. An event like Reunion demonstrates the ever-strengthening bond of Grinnellians.”  

While advanced registration for Reunion 2024 is now closed, alumni still can register online or in person at the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center (JRC) during Reunion. A late fee will be applied, and some amenities may not be available.

Alumni who have already registered also should make their first stop the JRC, 1115 8th Ave., to pick up materials. The registration and help desks will open at 8 a.m. on May 30 and be available throughout Reunion.

— by Jeremy Shapiro

For your information

Curious about who has registered to attend Reunion 2024? See the list of registrants. Attendees also can view the schedule, read a list of Frequently Asked Questions, and stay up to date on Reunion 2024 news and view photos on the alumni Facebook and Instagram accounts.

To read more alumni news, check out our news archive and like the Alumni & Friends Facebook page.