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Community Speaks: Reflecting on President Kington

Community Speaks: Reflecting on President Kington
Raynard Kington beams after he is introduced as Grinnell College’s 13th President at an announcement ceremony in February 2010. Photo by Cait De Mott Grady.

We sent S&B reporter and photographer Shabana Gupta to Saints Rest Coffee House, hoping to get community members’ perspectives on President Raynard S. Kington’s departure and their hopes for the next President of Grinnell College. Here’s what they said.

Jessica Menary `13: “I went to Grinnell College and I graduated in 2013. [I’m looking for] someone who’s focused … the culture of the college, which is being accepting of everyone and focusing on quality academics but also the balance of student life. I’d want a president who cares about the student experience so that yes, they’re getting a quality education, but they’re not overworked and that they’re focused on the important issues … The previous presidents gave me a sense of security, like they cared about their students and about their work.”
Lowell Bungle: I thought the current president, Raynard, has done a great job and I hope they continue that … They maybe overdid … the Area of Confluence, where I was, and there’s people who are a little concerned about the amount of property they own downtown, but I think the College is a real asset to Grinnell and most of what he did was very good. I hope they continue. … The College and the town are working together to make things good.”

Megan Farrell: “My youngest is going to Grinnell College Preschool. I really feel like there’s a disconnect between the College and the community. I think that the current president has tried to foster those relationships, so that I really appreciate. I would love to see the students do more. I’d love to have youth coming in and being more a part of our community … I think he’s just been really supported [in] leading the way [by] trying to connect with our Grinnell public schools and connecting with what the College can do to support and foster student success even within our public schools.”
Howard McDonough: “I enjoy [it] very much if they interact with the community a lot. They’ve done more of that than they’ve used to, so it’s good that the college kids and the faculty get together … [Kington] was very hard to communicate with, or even visit with, and if it weren’t for knowing his secretary very well, I probably wouldn’t have gotten to bond with him at all. But he kept himself very sheltered from the community.”

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