Alumni Give $1 Million to Establish Career–Focused Communities at Grinnell

Two couples, all alumni of Grinnell College, have made separate gifts of $500,000 each in support of the College’s Center for Careers, Life, and Service (CLS). The gifts establish funds to support two new career-focused communities that help empower students to live, learn, and work with meaning and purpose.

Harold W. “Hal” ’67 and Pamela Crist ’68 Fuson
    Pamela Crist Fuson '68 &
    Harold W. "Hal" Fuson '67

Harold W. “Hal” ’67 and Pamela Crist ’68 Fuson have given $500,000 to launch the Arts, Media, and Communication Career Community. Dr. J. Michael and Linda Bird Powers, both of the class of ’67, have given $500,000 to establish a fund for the Health Professions Career Community. The two new career-focused communities are among seven that will comprise the CLS’s newly-established Career Communities Program.

“We are impressed by the studied engagement these gifts represent in terms of their impact on career opportunities for Grinnell students,” says Grinnell President Raynard S. Kington. “Both the Fuson and Powers families have built substance, integrity, and understanding of the College’s vision for the future into their support of these career communities, and we are grateful for their insight and generosity.”

Through CLS’s career communities, students will have access to specialized advising, tailored programming, and experiential learning opportunities that include externships, internships, and service experiences. Interactions with peers, alumni, and recruiters will help students further explore, clarify, and pursue meaningful post-graduate pathways.

Career communities being introduced in fall 2017 include Education Professions, Business and Finance, Government and Social Service, Law, and STEM. The Fuson and Powers gifts will allow CLS to expand to a full complement of seven communities during the 2017-18 academic year.

“We are grateful for the philanthropic commitments from the Fuson and Powers families that establish the Arts, Media, and Communication and the Health Professions Communities,” says Mark Peltz, Daniel and Patricia Jipp Finkelman Dean of Careers, Life, and Service. “These gifts are key to our ability to provide high-impact experiences and personalized advising as students prepare for their post-college lives.

“The notion of community conveys inclusivity and broad support,” Peltz explains. “Students can belong to more than one community if their interests are at the intersection of professional fields, and they can change from one community to another as their interests and goals evolve. Both the Fuson and Powers families have thoughtfully structured their intentions to best meet the needs of students as these communities mature.”

In making their gift, the Fusons cited the need to provide additional tools outside the established curriculum to help students address the many individual challenges that can be associated with realizing career aspirations.

“Our intention in funding the Arts, Media, and Communication Career Community within CLS is to ensure that the College brings to bear all the strengths of the institution, including those of its alumni and other related communities, on supporting students’ abilities to freely choose their futures beyond their undergraduate lives,” says Hal Fuson, who is also a Grinnell trustee.

Dr. J. Michael and Linda Bird Powers

    Mike '67 & Linda Bird '67 Powers

Mike and Linda Powers emphasized that they have become “particularly enamored” by CLS programs that help prepare Grinnell students to thrive after graduation. “Looking back at our own Grinnell experiences, we could have benefitted from what the CLS has now and what it has the potential to offer with continuing support,” says Linda Powers, who has served as the class of ’67’s class agent for more than two decades.

“By supporting health-related concepts as they extend across current areas of study offered at Grinnell College, this community will help students and alumni discover how their liberal arts education can propel them into successful careers in health professions and related areas,” Powers says.

“The impact of this investment on the lives and careers of Grinnell students is immense,” says Jayn Chaney ’05, director of alumni and donor relations. “We are grateful to the Fuson and Powers families for their philanthropic leadership in the creation of funds that not only establish two very important career-focused communities, but that will also help ensure the long-term viability of the CLS community model at the College.”

For your information:

To learn more about the CLS and the programs it provides, visit the CLS page on