In Brief

Timeless tradition

In a scene that has changed little over the decades, graduating seniors line up to process into King Chapel for Baccalaureate.
Both the joy of completion and the bittersweetness of leaving the Hilltop are captured in a Commencement social media scrapbook with photos, social media posts, and video at

Luck earns emerita status

At Commencement the college said goodbye to more than just its graduates—it also honored the retirement of Professor of Education Gayle Luck. She was granted emerita status and honored for her work both as an education professor and as the first faculty director of off-campus study.

Thomas Commons nears completion

Construction crews are working double shifts this summer at the Thomas Commons, and the transformation is stunning. The building is changing shape—with a new façade and a large addition—and is expected to be 90 percent complete by fall. See pictures of the progress and a live construction webcam at

Splashy new year

Zarni Htet ’13 held a celebration of Thingyan, the traditional Burmese New Year Water Festival, which is similar to observations in other Asian cultures, as well.
Front row from left: Julie Hoang, Wynn Oo, Bryan Oo, Shivani Suresh, Phyo Pyae Sone Lin, and Zarni Htet
Back row from left: Khine Myat Noe Aung, Zaw Naing Win, Wint Yee Hnin, Htut Khine Htay Win, Dzung Dang, Aeint Thet Ngon, Aung Ye Kyaw, DaWit Tsigie, and Trang Hoang

Campus’ permanent residents

The Hilltop quiets down in summertime after classes end, though some residents of campus never leave. (Credit: FJ Gaylor Photography)

Scholarships for three outstanding students

Three Cornell College students have won scholarships that will allow them to study abroad and pursue advanced degrees.

Sophomore Erinn Voas received a Boren Scholarship, junior Kyle Durgin received a Gilman Scholarship, and senior Sanjeev Khatiwada received a McElroy Fellowship.

Voas earned a Boren Scholarship, which covers the cost of pursuing an entire academic year of study and language training in Jordan. The Boren is an extremely competitive grant from the U.S. State Department designed to encourage undergraduate students to study abroad in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests.

Durgin received a Gilman Scholarship to support his summer studies in Guatemala. Sponsored by the U.S. State Department, the Gilman scholarship will cover program tuition, room and board, books, and transportation. The scholarship provides awards for undergraduate students who are receiving federal Pell Grant funding to participate in study abroad programs worldwide.

Khatiwada was one of two Iowa college students to earn a McElroy Fellowship, which pays a stipend of $10,000 per year for students from Iowa colleges pursing advanced degrees. He will study at Baylor University and is pursuing a Ph.D. in biochemistry and psychology.

Geology professor rocking a new grant

Associate professor of geology Rhawn Denniston has been awarded a $30,000 grant by the Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research to study stalagmites for evidence of long-term climate change. The seed grant will help Denniston develop a 3,000-year-long record of the North Atlantic Oscillation, a climate phenomenon linked to extreme weather events such as droughts and heat waves in North America and Europe. The work is based on years of work already performed by Denniston and his Cornell College students and will involve high-resolution analysis of stalagmites collected from caves in Portugal. This analysis will be performed at laboratories at Iowa State University and the University of New Mexico as part of Cornell geology major student theses.
In 2011 Denniston won a $98,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to construct a 4,000-year-long record of extreme rainfall and flooding events using stalagmites in tropical Australia.

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