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Grinnell College–Amid the Cornfields Lies A Global Liberal Arts College


“Where the Hell is Grinnell?”
This question is emblazoned on all sorts of college paraphernalia at the Grinnell College bookstore.
Watch this short video and you’ll be asking yourself a slightly different question:  “Why the hell have I never heard of Grinnell?”

**Correction:  My buddy, Dan Jarrett, wrote in to show me the most recent IPEDS data:  among non-sectarian, liberal arts colleges, Grinnell actually ranks #4 in per capita endowment resources, behind Pomona, Swarthmore, and Amherst.  Wiliams ranks a close fifth.  For more on how these figures can be pulled apart to reveal a real wealth disparity among American colleges and universities, see Dan’s post here.
If you prefer, you can check out the transcript below.
Mark Montgomery
Educational Consultant
I’m here now on the campus of Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, and as I walked by the bookstore, I saw these water bottles that say on them, “Where the hell is Grinnell?”
Grinnell is definitely is in, well, it’s in Iowa.  There’s a lot of corn around it.  But this is a cute, little town and an absolutely marvelous liberal arts college.  It has everything going for it.  It has got the highest per-capita endowment of any college in America, the facilities are second to none.  The library right over here has been renovated a couple of times, absolutely drop dead gorgeous study spaces for students, looking out the windows, it’s phenomenal.  The science center has been renovated twice in the last 15 years or so, fantastic facilities, great science.  The gym and the fitness center, oh, my gosh!  I mean, I could go on and on.
The dormitories, we talked to one student and he was from Angola, okay, how did a student from Angola find Grinnell?  I’m not sure, but this is a very international campus.  Anyway, he was talking about the dormitories and saying, “I love my dorms!”
Look, if you are interested in a small, liberal arts college of the highest quality and all you’re thinking about is Williams and Amherst, think again.  Think Iowa.  Think Grinnell.  Grinnell has fantastic resources for students, financial as well as human.  I talked to a guy in a café downtown and he was a graduate of Grinnell and he said, “Oh, no, all the professors live here, they don’t live in Des Moines,” which is about an hour, hour-and-a-half away, “No, no, they all live in this community.”  If you want tight relationships with your professors, Grinnell, my gosh, it’s really going to be hard to beat.
What else can I say about this place?  Oh, again, international.  This has one of the highest ratios of international students anywhere, here in Iowa.  Why?  Because people are looking for the highest quality education they can get in the United States.  There are many other places, of course, and I don’t mean to suggest that other places aren’t equally good, but if you’re really looking for a top-notch school in America, think about Grinnell.
Another example, we were walking through the student center and a young man stopped us and said, “Can I help you?”  And I said, “Well, we’re just looking around, but can I ask you a question, how’d you decide to come here?”  And he said, “Well, I’m from Massachusetts and I was originally thinking Williams and Amherst, but I needed money, I couldn’t afford those schools.”  And Grinnell gave him a hefty merit package to come here and he said he has no regrets at all.  People here are extremely passionate about whatever they’re interested in, and they are pretty laid back.  I mean, students who are willing to consider Iowa, they’re not as pretentious as some people who are looking necessarily for the name.  They’re not looking for the geography of American education, they’re looking for quality of American education.  So you’re getting a slightly different tone here at Grinnell.  Fabulous facilities, international campus, really bright student body, and it can be very affordable.
So if you haven’t figured out where the hell Grinnell is, you had better get it on your list.


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