Home / Modern Technology / Bestowing of Honorary Doctorates and Faculty Emeriti – Grinnell College Commencement 2017

Bestowing of Honorary Doctorates and Faculty Emeriti – Grinnell College Commencement 2017

Honey for the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters in a way Grinnell can take some credit for camión on Gianni’s enormous success in comedy when he arrived in Iowa from Karachi Pakistan he had never seen a stand-up comic before a friend showed him a Jerry Seinfeld comedy special and he was hooked after getting his start in comedy in Chicago which included a one-man show called unpronounceable Nanjiani headed to New York to pursue work as a stand-up comic he typically performed 25 nights a month to hone his craft over time he became a go-to guest on critically beloved comic shows including The Colbert Report veep can peel broad city and Portlandia in 2014 he landed the role of Dinesh a witty but hapless software engineer on the HBO hit Silicon Valley this summer Nanjiani will add a new role to his already packed resume that of movie star teaming up with comedy superstar and producer Judd Apatow Nanjiani starred in the movie the big sick which he co-wrote with his wife Emily Gordon the film is a romantic comedy about culture illness and relationships that is based on how Nanjiani and Gordon met and fell in love after the movies wildly successful premiere at Sundance earlier this year reviews called the movie and instantly winning hearts dealer Amazon landed distribution rights the movie will premiere nationwide in July beyond his television in the film successes Nanjiani brings his inimitable style to Twitter where he has attracted more than 1 million followers whether politics or pop culture Nanjiani writes with insight and you learn for pursuing comedy that is both incisive and deeply heartfelt and for succeeding in this work at the very highest levels we are pleased to recognize Kumail Nanjiani class of 2001 Kumail Nanjiani on recommendation of the Faculty of this college and with approval of Board of Trustees I admit you to the degree Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa thank you so much president Kington I have the honor to present Emily Fitch for the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters for many alumni Emily Fitch is more than just a longtime supporter of Grinnell Emily says one trustee is one of the patron saints of Grinnell arriving in Grinnell in 1948 with her husband John Emily Fitch began what has become a seventy year relationship with the college she enrolled in Spanish classes at the college and used that coursework to become a Spanish teacher at Grinnell High School she taught at the school for twenty four years from her very earliest years at Grinnell Fitch has been one of the college’s most effective advocates in the 1950s and 1960s she played an important role for African American scholar athletes attending Grinnell she provided a kiss a she provided a consistently warm and welcoming presence regularly hosting students and their families overnight she has welcomed hundreds of other newcomers to the town as well including new faculty and their families for the past three decades she has opened her home and backyard for the annual alumni soccer picnic an event which routinely attracts more than 100 people and today at 92 years of age she continues to play a vital role in the life of Grinnell she often hosts trustees when they come to campus attends numerous campus events and serves says one nominator is a beacon of generosity good sense and wisdom for her seven decades of service to the college and for the great joy she brings to that role we are proud to honor Emily Fitch on the recommendation of the Faculty of this college and with the approval of the Board of Trustees I hereby mid Emily fish to the degree Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa oh you good morning to you all graduates parents family members faculty administrators and a multitude of friends I want to thank those among you who nominated me for this award I feel very humbled and accepting the honor but first I want to emphasize that I represent countless numbers of others who have as I have in a support position enjoyed the richness of precious relationships with students faculty administrators and alumni of this distinguished College in 1948 Jon after coaching at the university level had the good fortune of accepting a teaching and coaching position here at the college he loved his relationships with his scholar athletes and after 50 years of coaching he reluctantly retired but continued to enjoy his remaining years with many returning alumni and to you the class of 2017 congratulations I have met a few of you and I hope that after your four years here you are prepared to take on the awesome task of attacking the problems of this nation and indeed the world good luck to you and enjoy this beautiful day thank you president Kington I have the honor to present bar banners felt for the honorary degree Doctor of humanities at Cornell’s Davis Elementary Bar Banderas veld is an inspiring demanding and life-changing teacher mrs.

V as she is known to her students sarch each starts each school year with a homework assignment for herself before the first day she studies the previous yearbooks so she can greet each student by name when they enter her classroom the high expectations that she sets for herself are the same ones she sets for her students she expects that they will work hard take risks and contribute to their classroom in their own unique ways for each class’s annual musical then Aircel designs every role with the student’s strengths in mind they fully inhabit their characters preparing tirelessly and ultimately achieving far more than they believed was possible veneris health has brought the same enthusiasm to the third and fourth grade lunchtime language learners program the program launched through Grinnell College is SPARC tank Innovation Challenge brings students together to learn French and Spanish basics venires focus help Grinnell’s language specialists and coordinators develop activities that students love and that drive their interest in languages for a lifetime the larger goal of interns builds work is to inspire students love of learning to develop their sense of persistence in the face of challenges and to let them know that they are loved and appreciated for her helping her students become the best versions of themselves we are pleased to recognize Barb van Ayers felt barb Venters felt on the recommendation of the faculty of this college and with approval of the Board of Trustees admit you to the degree Doctor of humanities honoris causa Cheerios Beethoven photography I love that in the field of Education three seemingly unrelated elements can come together to form a powerful learning experience for students recently my fourth-grade music students arranged Cheerios on a staff to notate the famous melody from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony then they took photos of their work before playing the melodies and well eating them I admit a little concern when I considered my students conversations around their dinner tables that evening I could just picture a parent asking what did you learn at school today and my student answering Beethoven is crunchy the dinner table is where so many of my own learning experiences occurred growing up you might not think that learning Latin over supper sounds like a blast but here’s how it would work bite of meatloaf fork full of carrots swallow of milk then my father’s voice the word muscle comes from the Latin mousse coulis which means little mouse have you noticed that when you flex and relax your arm muscles it almost looks as though a little mouse is running along inside your arm this followed by lots of arm flexing cooing and eyeing and that’s disgusting Inge in between more bites of meatloaf as was the case for perhaps most of you my first teachers were my parents now dad didn’t limit himself to teaching us Latin roots my sisters and I were delighted when he helped us to master an entire sentence in German we were convinced of this phrases monumental importance as we recited over and over the originals on Snopes announcing Galvan Titan when one of us finally thought to ask dad what the sentence meant he replied you’ll find us fastest in the yellow pages he had seen that on a sign on the door of a business and thought it sounded fun from my mother I’ve learned different lessons the art of multitasking for instance before that term was ever coined and mom taught us our family about remaining calm under pressure I remember a time when several of us were working in the kitchen I became aware of my mother moving from the stove toward the sink carrying a pot holder in flames as she approached the sink where my dad was standing in the same tone of voice one might use to comment on the weather mom said excuse me dear this is on fire the lesson remained calm and polite under pressure considering my Latin and German learning experiences as a child it’s not surprising that the nomination which resulted in my being honored today had a language connection it has been my privilege during these past two academic years to work with three members of your class of 2017 Liz Nelson John Gallagher and Christine hood on a foreign language program for Grinnell third and fourth grade students 27 Grinnell College students have poured time effort and boundless enthusiasm into making Spanish and French accessible to our students at Davis Elementary and I am incredibly grateful as I am overwhelmingly humbled to stand in front of you as a representative of the teaching profession I thank you sincerely for this honor now many of you graduates will not enter the field of education professionally but each of you has so much to teach others I challenge you please share your knowledge communicate your ideas show your skill go ahead teach someone which I think would make a very fun t-shirt yes I thought about tossing the shirt out into the crowd but as my husband and son can affirm it would be as likely to land on president Kington head as it would be to land in one of your lap I’ll just keep it here with me let me finish by sharing a few examples of what makes teaching a worthy pursuit and an absolute joy in my life when a 3rd grader raises his hand to exclaim hey both of those measures have four beats because two half notes add up to the same as four quarter notes it’s a good day when I hear seven consecutive correct notes on a soprano recorder it’s a good day when a fourth grader who has seen me model kind behavior stops on her way to recess to help a boy whose pencil box has just exploded all over the floor it’s a good day when a student interrupts my class to offer me a birthday cupcake it’s a good day and that’s not about the cupcake it’s about the positive connection I’ve made with that student that makes him think of celebrating with me even though I’m just a music teacher okay if it’s chocolate it’s sort of about the cupcakes who in your chosen field the measure of a good day might be significantly different from those I’ve just described whatever your measures it is my hope that you will indeed have a good day president Kington I have the honor to present daniel werner for the honorary degree Doctor of Laws when the voiceless need a voice they can depend on Daniel order when seasonal and migrant farm workers needed help with employment and wage issues werner represented them in federal court as an attorney for farm worker legal services when low-wage workers in new york needed support with employment and civil rights claims he took on their cases his co-founder of the workers rights law center of New York and when immigrant labor trafficking survivors needed his help to fight the illegal practices of a large construction firm he was there Werner and a team of lawyers at the Southern Poverty Law Center fought and won the biggest case of its kind with Warner’s guidance the legal team in the case brought devastating details to light pipe fitters and welders from India had paid up to twenty five thousand dollars to be considered for positions rebuilding the Gulf Coast after hurricanes Katrina and Rita relying on false promises about earning permanent United States residency they rented out overcrowded trailers that packed two dozen workers into a trailer with a single bathroom the legal fight turned into a seven-year battle Werner and his colleagues helped immigrants with little or no knowledge English to tell their stories and SPLC helped the leaders win an unprecedented 14 million dollar award today it is the largest of its kind werner continues to work for justice in many ways he has co-authored a book for lawyers to work on cases linked to human trafficking he has also lectured internationally on these issues now Werner is directing SPL C’s southeast immigrant freedom initiative an ambitious project to provide representation to every immigrant detained in the southeastern states for his unflagging efforts to call powerful organizations to account when they mistreat vulnerable workers and to protect immigrant civil rights we are pleased to recognize Daniel Werner class of 1991 Daniel Werner on recommendation of the pastor of this college and with the approval of the Board of Trustees I admit you to the degree Doctor of Laws honoris causa in 1991 I left this place as a December graduate I gathered with a few others at Grinnell House to receive our bas and move on now at the age of 47 I’m finally receiving a degree at a Grinnell commencement what an honor it is to share this moment with all of you and with my wife man and my children a week and Carmela and what a journey it’s been an held lofty I am to paraphrase the stylers sisters in the musical Hamilton and to play Ultimate Frisbee with my head look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now the current political and social upheaval and chaos will beget creative responses and world-changing ideas will emerge your minds based on your life experience and your learning here at Grinnell are conduits for those ideas the process you’ve learned here of arguing honing narrowing expanding editing arguing more and then Honea again will generate these ideas Grinnell has nurtured this and now you have the tools to nurture creativity and others and as you embark in your journey find partners who are certain change is coming and you view dr.

King’s face faith in the moral universe bending towards justice not as an excuse to stand by and assume the bend will happen without engaging in the difficult work but as a call to action to force that bend because injustice work real change makers are optimistic activists people who look at their day to day hard uncomfortable often mundane and usually chaotic work as means for progress rather than a sign of feet people who set aside ego and self-righteousness and empower positive partners and successors to generate the great ideas and make change happen the alternative to optimistic activism cynicism makes the discomfort of justice work intolerable without trusting in the effectiveness of intentional and intelligent justice work despair and burnout lurk around every corner granted there’s a lot to be cynical about just look around but try looking around without resting your eyes on the causes for cynicism look around at how lucky we are when we march we see people who have never marched before when arriving Muslims and refugees were facing a cruel and unconstitutional ban and if immigrant families are getting ripped apart by enforcement drag Nets thousands of lawyers have volunteered days and sometimes weeks of their time to protect fundamental due process rights this is a time when a dreamer who is undocumented and has known no place other than the United States has the anger strength and inspiration to stand up in front of a crowd and say who she is with pride I am an immigrant and this country is my home this is a time when federal government whistleblowers risk their livelihoods to preserve democracy and the rule of law and fearless journalists amplify whistleblowers voices this is a time when I can stand in front of this graduating class and say with confidence that you are the changemakers you have spent your last four years at Grinnell preparing for now as you embark into the chaos and conflict of your post college lives and work during this particular historic pivot point of mobilization outrage and creativity there will be rare moments when the cliques and the cracks and the static sink into a rhythm those are the revolutionary moments how lucky you are to be emerging from this place where the past four years have provided you with tools of intentionality intellect and empowerment how lucky you are thank you for this great honor to the class of 2017 congratulations I look forward to seeing you in the streets at the airport’s in the courtrooms and empowering new leaders in the laboratories of creativity and change it is now my privilege as president to recognize members of the faculty who has the long and devoted tenure at the college are entering upon emeritus status and we have seven this year I now ask Zig barber professor German to rise as a professor through Barbara’s nominal role is to teaches students the intricacies of German grammar and the complex ideas of German authors but what students remember decades after their Grinnell graduation is Barbara’s warmth and wisdom they run the classes that culminated with home-cooked meals often served in his backyard they remember the thoughtfulness with which he considered their questions whether it was about a classifier ‘men or decision about that future he always took his students seriously he took his work as a scholar seriously as well highlights include three books a book of grammar comedy Stegall a– and the german enlightenment and a translation of a seminal work on german philosopher Martin Heidegger while Barbour was committed to serving the college and spend multiple terms on the executive council he also thought beyond it he wanted his work in the community to reflect well on the college he was an enthusiastic support of Grinnell’s liberal arts and prison program taught multiple courses at Newton Correctional Facility he served on the Grinnell Regional Medical Center’s hospital board and performed and directed in local theater productions as a part of the popular faculty fought founded too many string bands he plays guitar dobro and banjo in an off and on campus case for these and other activities the Grinnell Chamber of Commerce honored him with an outstanding educator and citizens award for its unwavering commitment to serving his students Grinnell College in the community we are pleased to honor sig Barbara Ann Alice Bob Cadmus professor of physics to rise Bob Cadmus knows that not everyone grows up loving science but he also knows that the right nudges can make even reluctant learners see the excitement and the possibility that science offers perhaps his greatest success at NIH has come through his work with the grant o Gale Observatory a facility he transformed from an idea to reality during his first six years on campus Cadmus used the observatory as a starting point for some of his most important work as a scientist his research interest included stars that change brightness known as variable stars and lunar occultations events in which the moon passes between the star and the observer the ZURB the observatory also has been a busy help of activity over the years Cadmus has hosted hundreds of events over the years and many alumni say they still think of cabinets every time they look up into the night sky students have been similarly transformed by Cadmus physics teaching by linking daily class sessions to the disciplines larger concepts cabinets helps students see the big picture even as they burrowed into the details through his physics in the arts course he brought science and non science students together to see how different disciplines could inform one another even students who rarely set foot in a science classroom likely know cabinets from the long-standing and again much-loved a too many string band as well which performs regularly on and off campus for helping thousands of people find the very human joy in science and astronomy we are pleased to recognize Bob Cadmus I now recognize professor of art history Tim Hassan who could not be with us today for art history professor Tim chasse on the view the joy he felt teaching others about great art and architecture was rivaled only by his delight in working with students from many disciplines he appreciated both the enthusiasm and the perspectives of various fields that they brought to his classroom Hassan’s primary responsibility was to teach the history of art and architecture of Western Europe focusing on the period from late antiquity through the Renaissance he served as an advisor for students preparing for graduate school in architecture and during his tenure at Grinnell he developed a course on architecture and urbanism in papal and fascist germ and another on architecture and sculpture of Gothic cathedrals he worked in concert with the French department to teach a course in French on architecture and urbanism in Paris from the Middle Ages to modernity in addition the college’s extensive collection of architectural prints by the famous 18th century artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi made it possible for students to explore many aspects of Roman history in the article Apartments recurring exhibition seminars he was particularly involved in study abroad options for students working both with the Grinnell and London program and the associated colleges of the Midwest program and Florence teaching in Florence further work in his primary research area the so called giant Latin Bible is produced in medieval Italy for monasteries and cathedrals for its passionate teaching and research on some of the world’s most remarkable art and architecture we are pleased to recognize Tim Joslin I now ask Jan gross Seth Richards professor in Modern Languages to rise in our four decades at Grinnell Jan gross has helped the college live up to some of its most important promises she built strong and lasting relationships with her students helped bring diverse and international voices to campus and strengthen the programs that give grinnellians the tools to succeed in the wider world in the course of her work as a scholar of French literature and culture of the french-speaking world she helped produce translations and publications on contemporary Algerian writers and playwrights this includes Sleeman Beyonce’s 9/11 novel the last night of a damn soul during this process Gross has developed strong working relationships with many of the artists themselves she taught their work in her classroom classes on contemporary francophone cultures and theatre and whenever she’s able she finds ways to bring them to campus to share their perspectives both in class and with the entire campus she brings the same care and attention to maintaining relationships with foreign former students many of whom go on to pursue international careers across disciplines she frequently finds ways to bring them back to campus as alumni scholars sharing their experiences and advice with the new generation of students growth has developed and nurtured summer Grinnell’s most cherished programs she chaired a faculty development program for oral communication across the curriculum a program that still thrives she also led the International Studies planning committee a precursor to Grinnell’s institute for global engagement for her efforts to strengthen Grinnell by developing lasting relationships and programs we are pleased to recognize Jan gross I now recognize professor of German Jenny Michaels who could not be here today as well Jenny Michaels believes in the power of second drafts she makes every student who writes the paper in her class come and talk to her and get feedback and then she makes them rewrite the paper the second drafts are where much of the learning happens these second drafts are what makes students better and this philosophy the students should test ideas learn from their mistakes and grow beyond them is more important to Michaels than any single topic she’s teaching in class writing like so much else in life is a process worth practicing and improving this lesson benefits students not just in their coursework but in the rest of their lives Michael’s belief in the necessity of testing and tinkering is one that she has brought to her own course work as well of the course of her career she has developed dozens of new courses she frequently adjusted the reading list even in her most time-tested classes from interrupt introductory German language courses to a course on the German novella her scholarly work focuses primarily on 20th and 21st century German and Austrian literature and culture in her field she’s made significant contributions she served as president of the German Studies Association now one of the premier German Studies Association’s worldwide she was also president of the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association for consistent efforts to help students do that a very best work and for applying these same philosophies to her teaching and professional life we are pleased to recognize Jenny Michaels and now as Mark Snyder professor of physics derives from his work as an instructor in a single classroom to his policy advice for college administrators including myself across the country mark Snyder has spent his career finding ways to help a wider range of students thrive in the sciences and in higher education as a professor Snyder developed the discovery based physics curriculum this hands-on course is designed to build student enthusiasm for the discipline through cooperative activities and real-world lessons he was instrumental in developing what is now the Grinnell science program which offers holistic support to a diverse group of students in the sciences through early orientation programs academic support and research opportunities students in the program are far more likely to stay in the sciences since the program launched in 1992 the number of students of color at Grinnell graduating with science degrees as increased by more than 300% the program has reached the reseed recognition from the white house for its approach and success later as chair of the faculty and then associate dean Snyder took the best elements of the Grinnell science program to develop new initiatives as a co-organizer of a new factor faculty mentoring program he has worked to provide more robust support to faculty making the transition to Grinnell he also developed the partners as an education program which helps students who have had difficulty during their first semester at Grinnell Snyder has shared some of the most important lessons from his work in publications including The Chronicle of Higher Education for his career long efforts to help create an inclusive and supportive environment in the sciences and higher education we are pleased to recognize mark Snyder last but not least I now recognize professor of music Roger Vetter who could not be here today to open students eyes to the vast and varied world of music ethnomusicologist Roger Roger Vetter traveled to far-flung locations around the globe he recorded music and collected examples of common instruments in ghana and sri lanka and zimbabwe but most important he took everything he learned and shared it with the Grinnell community and the world he gave generations of students a new musical passion while sharing significantly scholarly work with anyone who has an internet connection over the course of his career Vetter taught hundreds of students gameland the traditional ensemble music of the Indonesian land of java island of java through one-on-one lessons and group rehearsal students learn not just to appreciate these percussion instruments but to truly love them after gameland performances he often invited the entire ensemble to his home for dinner an event that the Alumni recall fondly many returned to campus years later requesting to revisit the music they remembered from their student days to better shares best work better built websites dedicated to some of the scholarly passions these include Grinnell’s musical instrument collection field recordings of music in Ghana and use of traditional music in tourism encounters veter brought the same tireless dedication to his professional activities at Grinnell he served four times as chair of the department of music and twice as chair of the humanities division for a dedication to bring the vastness of the musical world to Grinnell’s doorstep we are pleased to recognize Roger Vetter I now ask professor Dennis Hughes and Martin Minnelli to please stand it is my honor to recognize those faculty members now moving to senior faculty status senior faculty status recognizes those members of the faculty who wish to be released from their regular full-time teaching obligations to pursue scholarly and professional activities associated with the college and we today acknowledge those two professors for transitioning to senior faculty status and now the fun part president Kington and ladies and gentlemen the Dean of the 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