Alumni Assembly goes virtual June 3 to start reimagined Reunion

June 1, 2021 — While the setting and mode of presentation will be different, this year’s Alumni Assembly will include many of the familiar elements that annually make it one of the most anticipated events at Reunion.

The celebratory occasion will feature the presentation of the 2020 and 2021 Alumni Awards, a welcome address by Grinnell College President Anne F. Harris, a performance by the Grinnell Singers, organ music, and appearances from special guests.

Virtual Alumni Assembly will take place via video broadcast from 7-8:15 p.m. CDT on Thursday, June 3 to kickoff Virtual Reunion 20/21. The video will be broadcast on the Alumni Assembly 2021 webpage.

Alumni sing during the 2019 Alumni Assembly at Herrick Chapel.
Alumni sing during the 2019 Alumni Assembly at Herrick Chapel.

Due to the pandemic, this year’s Reunion festivities have been reimagined and will be held virtually from June 3-10. The week-long celebration will be full of engaging events and programs designed by Reunion volunteers and College staff.

Alumni Assembly is traditionally held on the Saturday afternoon of Reunion weekend. This year, however, it was moved up to serve as the kickoff to Virtual Reunion.

“For me Alumni Assembly typically is the culmination of the weekend,” says Nino Parker ’07, senior associate director of alumni and donor relations. ”It’s when everyone comes together to support fellow Grinnellians. This year, I like that the togetherness occurs to launch this virtual celebration. Attendees will get to see what amazing things their fellow Grinnellians are doing, which should provide momentum for the rest of the programming for the week.”

The proceedings will start with Linda Bryant, the College organist, performing from Herrick Chapel. Chris Meyer ’70, Alumni Council president, will give a welcome and then Harris will provide a College update. The program will also include several familiar faces from the Grinnell community talking about what being Grinnellian means to them.

Because Reunion 2020 was canceled, Alumni Assembly will celebrate both the 2020 and 2021 Alumni Award recipients. Brief citations will be read and a variety of photos – some dating back to their Grinnell College student days – will be shown. Several recipients submitted videos accepting the awards.

The 2020 Alumni Award recipients are:

  • Richard Booth ’54
  • Joan Fuhrman Jones ’54
  • Barbara Hunt Moore ’65
  • Dorothy Dosse Metzler ’66
  • Delabian Rice-Thurston ’66
  • Thomas Cech ’70
  • Merryll Penson ’70
  • Joel Shapiro ’89
  • Julia Wulfkuhle ’89
  • David White ’90
  • Jacob Willig-Onwuachi ’95
  • Matheos Mesfin ’14
  • Silvia Foster-Frau ’15

The 2021 Alumni Award recipients are:

  • Frances Gray ’71
  • Sheena Brown Thomas ’71
  • Sally Campbell-Galman ’96
  • Sabrina Eagan ’96
  • Rev. Jake Joseph ’11

Alumni Assembly will conclude with a performance by the Grinnell Singers. John Rommereim, Grinnell Singers director and the Blanche Johnson Professor of Music, will introduce the song, “To Sit and Dream,” which was composed by Rosephanye Powell from a Langston Hughes poem. Singers who are second-year and senior students were safely filmed on campus in May for the selection, and Rommereim combined in audio from Singers who were studying remotely.


John Rommereim, Blanche Johnson Professor of Music, directs a choir performance during the 2016 Alumni Assembly.
John Rommereim, Blanche Johnson Professor of Music, directs a choir performance during the 2016 Alumni Assembly.

“I think attendees will deeply enjoy the Alumni Assembly program,” Parker says. “It’s will be an awesome celebration of Grinnellians and a wonderful way for the alumni community to join together.”

—by Jeremy Shapiro

For your information:

For those unable to attend Alumni Assembly Thursday evening, the event video can be viewed in full afterwards on the Alumni Assembly webpage. Alumni also can check out whose attending Virtual Reunion and see a tentative schedule of Reunion events.

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