President’s Medal

Location: Grinnell, IA Experience Type: Grinnell College Fellowships & Awards

The President’s Medal is awarded annually during Commencement to one member of the graduating class who best exemplifies the mission and values of a Grinnell education. The criteria for the President’s Medal are:

    • Exhibit and contribute distinguished and engaged learning while a Grinnell student.
    • Demonstrate leadership in activities that are consistent with the values and interests of the student and that add to the College’s distinctive character.
    • Actively participate in on-campus activities of artistic, athletic, cultural, collaborative, or other merit that improve the quality of campus life.
    • Express commitment to the common good through off-campus service and/or civic activity.
    • Display personal characteristics, including:
      • Adaptability and effectiveness;
      • A sense of fairness and willingness to accept responsibility;
      • Compassion, empathy, and sensitivity toward others; and
      • Sound judgment (thinking before acting, understanding before judging).

The President’s Medalist is determined annually by the College president, based on the recommendation of a committee composed of faculty and staff.

Eligibility: All graduating seniors (they may have completed degree requirements in December 2023 or will complete degree requirements in May 2024 or December 2024)

Application Deadline: ​​​​​​​(By nomination only)

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The Medal:

The President’s Medal was redesigned in 1993 by Sheena Brown Thomas ’71, a designer and goldsmith with Elements Ltd. in Des Moines, Iowa. The previous medal was designed by the late Louis Glenn Zirkle, professor of art.

Thomas also designed the first Archibald Prize Medal (given for highest GPA in the senior class, and also awarded during Commencement), which is compatible in design with the President’s Medal. Both medals are adaptations of the President’s Medallion, which is work by the president of the college as an emblem of office at all Grinnell academic ceremonials and when the president officially represents the College at academic occasions elsewhere.

Cast a fabricated from silver, both medals are formed in a soft triangular shape and include the Grinnell College seal. The seal uses a modified oval design enclosing four laurel leaves and the founding date: 1846. Raised letters surrounding the laurel leaves proclaim, “Collegium lowense Grinnelli” and “Veritas et Humanitas” – Latin for “Truth and Humility.” The honoree’s name is engraved on the back.

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Past President’s Medalists:

  • 2023 Loyal Desi Orlando Terry
  • 2022 Durowaa Yaa Han Young Agyeman-Mensah
  • 2021 Cinthia Jacqueline Romo Alba
  • 2020 Maximilian Nathan Hill
  • 2019 Rebecca Oakley Hsiung
  • 2018 Yesenia Ayala
  • 2017 Rachel Aaronson
  • 2016 Madeleine Pesch
  • 2015 Austin McKenney
  • 2014 Remy Ferber
  • 2013 Noah Most
  • 2012 Eric Ritter
  • 2011 Ragnar Thorisson
  • 2010 Hart D. Ford
  • 2009 Brian Perbix
  • 2008 Olajumoke “Jumy” Adekeye
  • 2007 Megan K. Straughan
  • 2006 Eli Zigas
  • 2005 Anik Gevers
  • 2004 Randy Martinson
  • 2003 Lise-Marie Monroe
  • 2002 Kendra Young
  • 2001 Nicole Nelson
  • 2000 Ilana Golin
  • 1999 Brandie J. Christie
  • 1998 Erin Childress
  • 1997 Alice Gates
  • 1996 Jeffrey Lake
  • 1995 Scott Newstrom
  • 1994 Guen Gifford
  • 1993 Katrina Knight
  • 1992 Annamma M. Alexander
  • 1991 Marjorie Hrbek
  • 1990 Jon G. “Jake” Kosek
  • 1989 Katherine E. Furnish
  • 1988 Elisabeth Shelley Reid
  • 1987 Meghan E. Hays
  • 1986 Robert R. Rollins
  • 1985 Ian A. McLean
  • 1984 Sandra L. Laursen
  • 1983 Jennifer M. Jones
  • 1982 Eric E. Johnson
  • 1981 Lori A. Llewelyn
  • 1980 Nathaniel S. Borenstein
  • 1979 Brent C. Williams
  • 1978 Susan E. Duffey
  • 1977 Robert D. Sheeler
  • 1976 John A. Haigh
  • 1975 Frances Cutler
  • 1974 Deborah M. Van Horn
  • 1973 Carolyn Ashbaugh
  • 1972 Gregory L. Vranicar
  • 1971 Richard A. Deyo
  • 1970 Carol L. Martinson
  • 1969 Grant F. Crandall
  • 1968 Ronald M. Cogswell
  • 1967 ​​​​​​​Anne Sprague