Capturing a Year of Shared Stories, Growth, and Community Spirit


A Visual Retrospective: Grinnell College and Community Connections in 2023


December 14, 2023


snow on the ground showcasing campus
Snow blankets the Grinnell College campus, creating a serene and peaceful winter scene as students return to campus after break. Photo by Justin Hayworth/Grinnell College.
little girl looking at books on a table
Grinnell College’s commitment to community education shines through in its support for youth literacy. Through the “Micro-Grants Program,” the Connected Parent Teacher Organization received $900 for a revitalized Breakfast Book Club event, fostering a love for reading and providing a healthy start to the winter break for Grinnell-Newburg elementary students. Submitted Photo.  


2 students sitting with computers in lounge
The recently renovated Norris Hall, recipient of the prestigious Master Builders of Iowa Masters Award, provides a modern and inviting space for students. Here, two students find a cozy spot in the new lounge, making the most of the enhanced facilities that include new windows, a redesigned kitchen, and improved accessibility. The award-winning collaboration that includes Grinnell College, the Weitz Company, CPMI, and OPN Architects brings a contemporary touch to the heart of campus life. Photo by Leigh Steffen ’26/Grinnell College. 
Karla Erickson at podium speaking to audience. behind her is a slide that says why talk about pedagogy
Empowering lifelong learning in Grinnell, the Community Education Cooperative’s Bucket Courses at the Drake Community Library bring Grinnell College expertise into the community. Here, Professor Karla Erickson delves into “Teaching in a Pandemic: A Pedagogy of Trust” during a captivating February 1 session. These 90-minute classes, offered free of charge, are a collaboration among multiple community organizations to share knowledge within the Grinnell community to create connections and enrich lives. Submitted Photo. 


young children looking up at art
Curiosity knows no age limit! Students from Grinnell College Preschool embark on an interactive journey through the world of art at the Grinnell College Museum of Art (GCMoA). Engaging with the exhibit Devices, Tools, Objects, and Props: Recent Work by Jeremy Chen, these young minds discover the joy of exploring authentic objects and participatory activities. The GCMoA, embracing a commitment to early childhood outreach, sparks imagination and lays the foundation for a lifelong appreciation of art. Justin Hayworth/Grinnell College. 
employee serving coffee to customer
Culinary connections abound at the new Global Café! Here, two Grinnell College students bring flavors from around the world to life, assisting customers at the café, which is nestled in the atrium of the Humanities and Social Studies Center (HSSC). Run by the College’s Dining Service, the Global Café showcases a menu shaped by student input, with influences from an international survey conducted by the International Student Organization. Open to faculty, staff, students, and community members, it’s not just a café; it’s also a global journey for the taste buds, fostering a sense of exploration through diverse culinary experiences. Justin Hayworth/Grinnell College. 


spring sunny day with blue flowers
Students enjoy a sunny spring day on campus, surrounded by the subtle beauty of flowers in bloom. Justin Hayworth/Grinnell College.
prairie on campus
Rooted in sustainability: Grinnell College celebrated Earth Week by showcasing the lush prairie that thrives on campus. Justin Hayworth/Grinnell College. 


hail in hands
Nature’s unexpected symphony: In May, Grinnell experienced an intense hailstorm, leaving a mark on the landscape. The aftermath inspired an inquiry-led piece by Anika Jane Beamer ’22, a science writing fellow. She takes readers on a fascinating journey, offering insights into the science behind the hail. Justin Hayworth/Grinnell College. 
girl walking across the state at commencement
A moment of triumph: In the joyous culmination of hard work and dedication, Grinnell College celebrated the Commencement Ceremony for the Class of 2023 on May 22, 2023. Central campus served as the stage for the proud graduates, representing 41 states and 19 countries. A total of 399 students, receiving degrees in 27 different majors and 15 concentrations, walked across the stage, marking the completion of their academic journey. Justin Hayworth/Grinnell College. 


two women embracing at reunion
A reunion of hearts: In June 2023, the embrace of two Grinnell College alumni captures the spirit of the 143rd Reunion Weekend. A warm welcome awaited 1,400 alumni and guests as they gathered to reconnect, reminisce, and celebrate the shared memories of their time at Grinnell. The weekend, brimming with activities, became a joyous tapestry of connections and shared experiences. Justin Hayworth/Grinnell College. 
kids working on sewing project
Tilly Woodward, curator of academic and community outreach at the Grinnell College Museum of Art (GCMoA) engages young minds in art activity on campus. GCMoA received a grant from the Poweshiek Community Alliance supporting a program on food security as part of The ‘Read It/See It/Make It/Eat It: Storytime Art in the Park with Iowa Kitchen & Middle Way Farm’. This program is a collaboration between Drake Community Library and GCMoA that provides eight weeks of free arts and literacy summer programming to children throughout the Grinnell community each year. Justin Hayworth/Grinnell College. 


bikers riding through downtown Grinnell
Grinnell College proudly supported the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI) ride through Grinnell in July. Together with other community sponsors, the College contributed both financially and in-kind, offering amenities such as grilled fare from the Grinnell College Golf Course, water and cooling stations on campus, and engaging interactions with campus art, and public art “selfie spots.” This collaboration marked a special celebration of RAGBRAI’s 50th anniversary, showcasing Grinnell to thousands of participants, support crews, families, and visitors who joined the event. Justin Hayworth/Grinnell College. 
4 adults standing outside looking at garden
Sourcing for Sustainability: Community partners and Grinnell College alumni spearhead innovative approaches to supply healthy foods while bolstering local agriculture. In a region known for miles of cornfields, these efforts address challenges from supply chain issues to poverty in small communities. The Grinnell Food Coalition, established in 2020 through the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation, took up the challenge to combat food insecurity, which was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the August 2020 derecho storm. Justin Hayworth/Grinnell College. 


student smiling outside at picnic
A bridge to belonging: Grinnell’s Friends of International Students (FIS) program extends a welcoming hand to incoming Grinnellians, providing comfort and community during the initial weeks of college life. Coordinated by the Office of International Student Affairs, FIS pairs first-year international students with local hosts, offering support that transcends cultural boundaries and eases the transition to life in the USA. Students arrive in mid-August to participate in International Pre-Orientation Program (IPOP), and FIS participants meet one another early in the fall semester. Justin Hayworth/Grinnell College. 
students downtown in front of Strand theater
Downtown buzz in August 2023: Grinnell College kicks off the school year with a Downtown Scavenger Hunt. Students explore the heart of Grinnell, unraveling clues and forging connections while navigating the vibrant streets in a lively start to the academic year. Justin Hayworth/Grinnell College. 
students walking with sunflowers in the frame
Sunflowers grace the campus in August, as students return and start their first day of classes. Justin Hayworth/Grinnell College.


people outside at picnic
September warmth brings families together for Grinnell College’s Family Weekend. Students and their families revel in shared moments during the Spirit Week tailgate, making new friends and creating lasting memories. Justin Hayworth/Grinnell College. 
student showing parents poster research project in Noyce
A snapshot from the Family Weekend Poster Session in Noyce Hall. Families engage with the vibrant academic atmosphere at Grinnell College through captivating presentations and discussions. Photo by Emlyn Yoon-Buck ’25/Grinnell College.
four first year students sitting on stone benches in Kington Plaza
Homecoming to Higher Learning: Meet Bailey Strovers ’27, Ani Ford ’27, Colton Benson ’27, and Clare Barber ’27 — four local Poweshiek County students who chose to stay close to home for college in Grinnell, Iowa. Their stories paint a picture of hometown connections and the unique journey from familiar streets to higher education at Grinnell College. Justin Hayworth/Grinnell College. 


changing leave on campus to burnt orange
Fall’s subtle charm illuminates the Grinnell College campus, casting a serene backdrop of changing leaves. Justin Hayworth/Grinnell College.
person walking in parade
Grinnell College Pioneers proudly joined the Grinnell-Newburg Community School District Homecoming Parade, celebrating unity and school spirit in a lively display of community pride. Photo by Emlyn Yoon-Buck ’25/Grinnell College. 
people walking in pararde carrying a sign that says more culture less shock, one wears a tiger mascot head
Grinnell College Office of International Student Affairs (OISA) enthusiastically participated in the Grinnell-Newburg Community School District Homecoming Parade, demonstrating their community pride and school spirit. Photo by Emlyn Yoon-Buck ’25/Grinnell College. 


two students and Professor Armstrong in the kitchen cooking
Creating connections through cuisine: Professor Todd Armstrong and Food Stories tutorial students collaborate in the Marcus Family Global Kitchen, preparing and serving a special meal for the reinvented Grinnell Community Meal. Their culinary efforts not only addressed food insecurity, but also cultivated a meaningful bond with the local community, blending cooking, creativity, and compassion in a shared experience. Photo by Leigh Steffen ’26/Grinnell College. 
horses at night with two people petting them
Grinnell College joined with other community organizations to sponsor Jingle Bell Holiday, a cherished annual winter festival and shopping kick-off held on Friday, Nov. 17, in downtown Grinnell. The evening was filled with fun-filled in-store activities, including a special children’s activity at the Pioneer Bookshop. Families enjoyed winter festivities, completed Wish Lists for discounts, and sipped on hot chocolate, creating warm memories in the heart of downtown Grinnell. Submitted photo. 


3 people roasting marshmallows over fire
A cozy winter escape at the Conard Environmental Research Area (CERA)! Students take a study break sponsored by the Center for Prairie Studies, indulging in the simple joys of making s’mores by a warm fire. Away from the campus hustle and bustle, the event provided a serene retreat in December, inviting students to hike, build a bench, and bask in the beauty of the prairie surroundings. Justin Hayworth/Grinnell College. 
Aerial view of renfrow hall in dec 2023 shows partially completed u-shaped hall
Construction is in progress on Renfrow Hall. The College broke ground in 2022 and has named the new facility to honor Edith Renfrow Smith ’37, Grinnell College’s first Black woman graduate. Save the date for the Sept. 27–28, 2024, dedication. Join us in celebrating the legacy of service and advocacy embodied by Edith Renfrow Smith. Stay tuned for event details in 2024. Justin Hayworth/Grinnell College.
student plugging in lights
Arctic Lights Event — Begun in 2015 as a community-building initiative by Austin Cote ’15, the beloved tradition of illuminating the Gates-Rawson Tower has become an annual event facilitated by Grinnell College class ambassadors each December. Justin Hayworth/Grinnell College.