Welcoming the class of 2022

Aug. 31, 2018 — With a daughter and six nieces, Rick Stuck ’82 thought some family member would surely follow his footsteps and attend Grinnell College.

But up to this year, Stuck, a member of the Alumni Council, had gone 0-for-6 in his recruiting efforts. That’s why he was overjoyed when his youngest niece, Annie Estes ’22, decided to attend Grinnell. That elation compelled him to fly from Wyoming and back in 24 hours so he could witness the start of his niece’s Grinnell experience at Wednesday’s Medallion Ceremony.

Alumni Council member Rick Stuck ’82 and his neice Annie Estes ’22.
Alumni Council member Rick Stuck ’82 and his niece Annie Estes ’22.

“It was important to me to be here,” Stuck says. “Annie is interested in studying political science and participating in dance. Those interests may change seven times by the end of four years, but I am very happy for her. I know she is going to thrive here.”

Estes was one of about 470 first-year students who received medallions at Herrick Chapel Wednesday, the day before fall classes began. The ceremony concluded New Student Orientation and connected the College’s past to the future.

“When you join this community, there is a bond formed between you and the Grinnellians of the past, present, and future,” Emily Zaffiro ’19, Student Alumni Council president, told the first-year students. “Many of your Grinnell connections will be fostered here on this campus, but believe me; they will not stop there. Because Grinnell is not just a school; it is a community, a space for every single person in this chapel. All of you are now a part of our family, and because of that, you will find more open doors and lending hands here in your next four years than anywhere else in the world.”

The Medallion Ceremony pays tribute to an important event in the College’s history. On June 10, 1846, James J. Hill of the Iowa Band laid a silver dollar on the table at a meeting of the Iowa College Association, declaring it to be the seed of an endowment to support outstanding students and faculty. New students are annually given a silver medallion to commemorate Hill’s gift and signify a responsibility to help sustain the College in the future.

“This medallion represents the moment 172 years ago when a determined assemblage of abolitionists, philosophers, and theologians launched the College that was to become Grinnell,” President Raynard Kington said during the ceremony. “You have already heard me and others speak of the Iowa Band. We do so because their commitment to social justice is central to Grinnell College’s past, present and future. Because others made it possible for you to be here, you now have a vested interest in this intergenerational equity, with a duty to ensure access to a Grinnell education for those who come after you.”

Graciela Guzmán ’11
    Graciela Guzmán ’11

The class of 2022 hails from 45 states, Washington D.C., and 20 countries. In her speech before the medallions were handed out, Alumni Council member Graciela Guzmán ’11 related her own experience 11 years earlier as a new student from Los Angeles.

“I didn’t know at first I had signed up to be a Grinnellian; I just thought I was attending school in Grinnell,” Guzmán said. “The Grinnell experience is more than academics. You do yourself and this institution a disservice if you do not bring all of your brilliance to bear. Grinnell becomes a true community when you share your gifts, talents, and self.”

Will Schwaller ’09
Will Schwaller ’09

Will Schwaller ’09 wrapped up the ceremony by sharing advice that he wished he could have told himself as a first-year student, such as taking classes out of your comfort zone and making friends with classmates that are outside of your usual circle.

“You don’t have to stick to your path, and you’ll likely be better off for having strayed because you will have a broader range of insight and knowledge that you will take with you wherever you go,” he said.

—by Jeremy Shapiro

A closer look at the class of 2022

Grinnell College expects to enroll 470 members of the Class of 2022. Official enrollment data will not be available until late September, following the college’s official census date.

Here are a few preliminary statistics about the first-year class:

  • 63 percent graduated from public high schools (includes charter schools)
  • 29 percent are domestic students of color
  • 18 percent are international students
  • 15 percent are the first in their family to attend college

The students of the class of 2022 were active members of their high schools and communities. Here is a snapshot of what they participated in before enrolling at Grinnell College.

  • 81 percent were involved in community service and social justice
  • 71 percent were active in fine arts (music, theatre, dance, visual art, debate, speech, forensics)
  • 65 percent participated in high school athletics
  • 43 percent held jobs
  • 31 percent served in student government
  • 19 percent took part in literary organizations/high school publications
  • 17 percent were active in environmental programs
  • 14 percent engaged in religious service activities