Grinnell College, a highly competitive private liberal arts college in Iowa with a strong tradition of social activism, has appointed a black, openly gay president who is a deputy director of the National Institutes of Health. Raynard S. Kington, M.D., M.B.A., Ph.D, becomes the 13th president for the 164-year-old college and his background is quite impressive.
Dr. Raynard S. Kington was named on Wednesday to assume the post Aug. 1. He will succeed Russell K. Osgood, who announced his retirement last May. According to college officials, the search committee considered more than 200 candidates and unanimously voted for Kington. Kington earned his medical degree from the University of Michigan at age 21. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Chicago's Michael Reese Medical Center and was named a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania.
Says Dr. Kington: "I am absolutely delighted to join the Grinnell community and excited about the tremendous possibilities awaiting this distinguished college. My entire career to date has been a reflection of the three core values of Grinnell: the pursuit of academic excellence, the advancement of a diverse community and the promotion of social justice."
The statement adds: "Dr. Kington; his partner, Peter T. Daniolos M.D., a child psychiatrist at Children’s National Medical Center and George Washington University; and their two young children plan to move to Grinnell during the summer and occupy the president’s home at the college."
Grinnell is ranked fourteenth among liberal arts by U.S. News and World Report. Until 2007, the estimated value of its endowment was the highest among liberal arts colleges in the nation. A number of colleges boast openly gay or lesbian presidents but the Kington appointment probably makes Grinnell the most high-profile college with an openly gay president. It also may be the only college to be led by a black, openly gay man.