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The Scarlet & Black

College inaugurates 13th president

By Darwin Manning

Grinnell College inaugurated Raynard Kington as the 13th President in its 165-year history on a sultry Saturday afternoon on central campus.

The College celebrated the day with a variety of events intended to display the values of Grinnell. The day started with a focus on service and the Grinnell College community participated in an assortment of volunteer jobs throughout the town and in the Hoofin’ It 5k. Then, students groups ranging from music ensembles and sports teams to academic clubs had an opportunity to showcase their achievements for the visiting audiences. The main event, the inaugural ceremony began with a welcoming from 10th President George Drake at 3 p.m. on central campus. Finally, around 4:30 the festivities wrapped up with authentic food and performances representing many of the cultures that call Grinnell College home.

“The best part was to have had so many people engage in work as volunteers,” said event organizer, Deana Shorb. “Having so much work accomplished around the city made the event feel successful.”
Shorb and the inauguration committee planned the day’s events not only to welcome President Kington to his new job, but also to further promote Grinnell’s commitment to social service and appreciation of talent and diversity. Additionally, the occasion was meant to further the mission of Grinnell explicitly by connecting the Social Justice Award announcement and the Day of community service with the inauguration. The Day of Service started at 8 a.m. as people lined up outside the JRC and went to their designated place to work. The volunteers cleaned up Central Park and several bike paths, sold plants out at the Fairgrounds, painted a US map on the concrete of the Davis elementary school playground, made paper tissue flowers for people at Mayflower and counted laps for swimming at the triathlon.

Over 250 volunteers helped out at 24 sites, including committee members, project captains at the organization sites, faculty, staff and family members, students and community members.
The triathlon, sponsored by the Grinnell College Men’s and Women’s Swim team also collected money for the Ted Mullin Hour of Power organization, which funds Sarcoma research. The triathlon had an additional 34 individual student competitors as well as eight teams of three.

“Ted Mullin was a swimmer at Carleton College who got Sarcoma as a student and had to drop out of school,” Men’s Swim team captain Sam Sherwood said. “He went back to finish his degree after some time off but just after he graduated he passed away. There has been a foundation started for him at the University of Chicago and each year we do the hour of power, where we swim a continuous relay as a whole team for an hour to raise money for the foundation. Additionally, all of the proceeds from the triathlon we donate to the foundation. They are both great opportunities for the swim team to contribute to a good cause.”

While there wasn’t an exact count of each group, the estimate of college students was about 15-20 percent of the total. This was lower than what Shorb hoped for, though given the time of the semester she found it understandable and they were thankful for the attention that it did receive from students Following a brief pause for lunch, which was open to the entire Grinnell Community, the activities continued in an excited fashion with many MAP presentations, and short dance/theater productions. On the first floor of the ARH there was a cast of posters from the social sciences and humanities. At the Noyce Atrium there were many posters crowded in with the creator standing by. In Bucksbaum there were posters outside the Flanagan Theater, short dances in the Roberts Theater and a Gamelan performance in Sebring-Lewis. The many delegates, trustees and professors, as well as students getting ready for the ceremony circled these areas.

Shortly before 3 p.m. all professors, Ben Offenberg ’11 and President Kington lined up alongside the ARH and walked around to the stage and chairs on the Central Lawn. The event cost $45,000 the majority of which went to the inaugural lunch, arrangements for community service, recording video and the live streaming of the event.

The day finally commenced with several authentic food stations and music to emphasize Grinnell’s diversity and appreciation of different cultures. The Kistle Library had an assortment of Asian food with live music. There was also Southern, BBQ themed food in the atrium, French and Italian desserts in JRC 101, Jamaican food in the courtyard outside the Grille. Finally, the second floor of the JRC had Greek food and music. Although these events were invitation only in the program, in practice, this proved to be only a formality as many students were able to walk up and sample many of the food themselves.
Conference Organizer Rachel Bly was pleased with the turnout both in the various events and at the inauguration itself.

“Not only were students an important part of the ceremony as members of the band, the choir, and the Platform party,” Bly said.

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