Right at home in Grinnell

November 17, 2022 — Craig and Monique Shore ’90 and their daughter Moraine Shore ’23 hosted a legacy brunch Nov. 6 over Family Weekend for Grinnell College alumni and their legacy students. 

“The brunch took place on the first floor of the new Humanities and Social Studies Center (HSSC) building, which is built around the old Alumni Recitation Hall (ARH). It was the perfect location for joining the two generations,” Monique explains. “We had the memories of our ARH days surrounded by that incredible new building. It was a mix of old and new experiences – yet still so much the same Grinnell.” 

A total of 27 students and alums attended the brunch. While there was no formal program, the attendees took turns sharing what their favorite places were on campus or in Grinnell. The Shores had a lot to choose from.  

Yiwei “Vivien” Yan ‘26, Gabriela Risnawska ‘26, and Monique Shore ’90.
As a Friends of International Students host family, Monique Shore ’90, right; Craig Shore, center; and Moraine Shore ’23; second from left, got acquainted with Yiwei “Vivien” Yan ‘26 from China and Gabriela Risnawska ‘26 from Poland at Central Park before classes started in August.  

Born and raised in the Las Vegas area, Monique was a frequent traveler to the Midwest because her parents were from Wisconsin. When it came time to go to college, she knew she wanted to leave the Southwest. “I wanted someplace green, and I fell in love with Grinnell after talking with an alumni representative at a college fair,” she says.

As a student, she connected with the town in several ways from volunteering in local schools to playing in the bell choir at the Methodist church.

“After I graduated from college, I decided I wanted to see what life in Grinnell would hold as a townie,” Monique says. “I took a job at the library and started out in charge of typing catalog cards.” As it turned out, being a community member in Grinnell suited Monique just fine. It was there that she met her husband, Craig. “I was managing the True Value hardware store in town,” he says. “She had just bought her first house, so she was frequenting our store.”

Craig grew up in Des Moines before moving to Grinnell to manage the hardware store. He and Monique were married at the same church she had joined in college. Now both are active members, and Monique still plays the bells every Wednesday night. “It has been the cornerstone of our lives here,” she says.

While catalog cards have gone to the wayside, Monique’s job continues at the Drake Community Library and her work has morphed over time. Her title now is technical administrator. “In the early years, I was the only one willing to touch a computer,” she explains. “Since then, I’ve gotten involved in many other interesting things.” In recent years, she’s done more with local history and leads the library digital archive projects, including a collaboration with the College to include local materials in the Digital Grinnell platform.

“Local history is by far the joy of what I do,” Monique says. “In addition to the library archive collection, our project uses community outreach to encourage people to bring in materials to be archived digitally. And we share local history through Facebook and Instagram.”

Monique has made some fascinating connections including meeting and working with 108-year-old Edith Renfrow Smith ’37, the first African American woman to graduate from Grinnell College. “I met her when she was only 101, and we’ve been friends ever since” Monique says while laughing.

Craig is a self-described innovator, inventor, and entrepreneur, who has founded or cofounded several startups. A consultant, he now runs his own business doing product development to help other companies develop and commercialize technologies.

Craig and Monique’s daughter, Moraine, explored a small list of schools from the Midwest to East Coast, ultimately deciding her top choice was in her own backyard. A product of attending college during a pandemic, Moraine has experienced challenges from which she has bounced back, discovering new ways to learn and connect.

“She’s always had one foot on campus,” Monique observes. “She remained connected even via her computer screen, but she’s also been part of the Grinnell Singers and done work in the theatre shop.”

Active in Grinnells Friends of the International Students program, the Shore family has hosted several international students over the years. “We love experiencing Grinnell through their eyes,” Monique says. “Most come from bigger cities and, when they leave four years later, they have learned to appreciate the friendliness of a small town.”

“I enjoy being a host parent,” adds Craig. “The times we are living in are problematic, but getting to know these students gives you hope for the future. They have that Grinnell spark.”

— by Melanie Drake ’92

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