Grinnell College

From Academic Kids

Grinnell College

Missing image
The Seal of Grinnell College

President Russell K. Osgood
Established 1846
School type Private
Religious affiliation None
Location Grinnell, IA, USA
Enrollment ~1400 on campus, about another 100 abroad
Faculty ~150
Campus Rural, 120 acres (486,000 m²)
Mascot Pioneer
School colors Scarlet and Black
Endowment ~$1.3 billion

Grinnell College is a selective, four-year undergraduate liberal arts college located in Grinnell, Iowa. The college, originally known as Iowa College, was the first college to grant a bachelor's degree west of the Mississippi River. It was founded on June 10, 1846, when a group of transplanted New England Congregationalists with strong social-reformer backgrounds organized themselves as the Trustees of Iowa College. Grinnell College has consistently been named among the top 20 liberal arts colleges by the magazine U.S. News & World Report during the past 15 years.



Grinnell College was founded as Iowa College in Davenport, Iowa in 1846 and was known by that name until 1909 when the Board of Trustees officially adopted the name Grinnell. Iowa College had moved from Davenport, Iowa to the town of Grinnell in the mid-19th century, after difficulties with residents in Davenport forced the college to relocate. The college was invited by Josiah Bushnell Grinnell (to whom Horace Greeley purportedly gave his famous advice, "Go West, young man") to move to his newly-founded town, located at the intersection of two major railway lines. Today, one can still experience the effects from this choice of location in the form of a railroad that cuts across the college campus.

Grinnell was from its inception a progressive institution. It was the first college west of the Mississippi River to grant a bachelor's degree and among the first to admit women and African-Americans to its course of study. Grinnell served as a stop along the Underground Railway and John Brown stopped in Grinnell prior to his raid on Harper's Ferry.

The campus was destroyed by a cyclone in 1882, but rebuilding began immediately and the student yearbook is today known as The Cyclone.

In the 20th century, Grinnell maintained its reputation for social action. The College was a center of the Social Gospel reform movement and Grinnell graduates included numerous prominent members of the New Deal Administration. The 1960s saw campus unrest and commencement was cancelled in 1970 after the shootings of student protesters at Kent State and Jackson State University.

In 2004, the Kaplan/Newsweek Special Education Edition named Grinnell the "Best All-Around College in the U.S."


Missing image
Gates Hall

Grinnell College is in the town of Grinnell, Iowa, roughly half-way between Des Moines and Iowa City and approximately four hours drive from Chicago and Minneapolis. The campus features sixty-three buildings and students have access to an off-campus 365 acre (1.5 km²) environmental research area. Grinnell's campus was modeled on that of the Oxford University colleges and is notable for featuring rows of dorms connected by loggia that create open quadrangles. Numerous new buildings have sprouted up on Grinnell's campus in recent years including a new athletic facility and a performing arts center designed by Cesar Pelli.


Grinnell is one of the few colleges in the United States with an "open curriculum," meaning that students are free from distributional requirements. However, all students are required to take a writing-intensive "tutorial" during their Freshman year. Grinnell offers academic programs through twenty-six major departments and eleven interdisciplinary concentrations. In recent years the most popular academic programs have been Biology, History, English, Political Science, and Economics. An unusually high proportion of graduates go on to earn Ph.D.'s and Grinnell students have won numerous national awards including Rhodes Scholarships, Watson Fellowships, and Fulbright Scholarships.

Athletics, social activities, and organizations

The school's varsity sports teams are known as the Pioneers. They participate in eighteen intercollegiate sports at the NCAA Division III level and in the Midwest Conference. In addition, Grinnell has several club sports teams that compete in non-varsity sports such as ultimate frisbee and rugby.

Missing image
Grinnell Athletics "Honor G"

The Scarlet and Black is the campus newspaper and KDIC broadcasts college radio.

Service organizations are popular. The Altbreak program takes students to pursue service initiatives during school holidays and Grinnell produces more Peace Corps volunteers per capita than any other college in the nation. The college also runs its own post-graduation service program known as "Grinnell Corps" in China, Namibia, Lesotho, Greece, and Nepal.

Social activities tend to be informal and centered around campus, but several major campus-wide events take place each year. 10:10 is a "campus-unity" themed party that takes place on October 10th and features an all-campus "shot" at midnight. "Mary B. James," named for a South Campus dormitory, is a wildly popular cross-dressers ball. There is an annual "Disco" celebration and two formal "waltzes" held each year.

Grinnell College is one of several liberal arts colleges that have an active campus-wide blogosphere community. The system used at Grinnell is an unofficial service known as GrinnellPlans. Membership is limited to students, faculty, and alumni.

Prominent alumni

External links


Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools