On a recent sunny Saturday afternoon in late January, with the temperature in the low 50's, I took a stroll around the beautiful Graceland University campus in Lamoni, Iowa. Lamoni is just off of I-35 in southern Iowa and mere minutes from the Missouri border.
Graceland is the home of the Yellow Jackets, but I enjoyed ditching my jacket in the car for the walk, which is a real rarity during this especially cold Iowa winter. Graceland is considered a private four year liberal arts college and putting and when you add up all of their online and offline programs has an enrollment of about 1800 students and about 65 faculty members.
The have a great "Quick Facts" page on their website that notes that they have students from 48 states and 30 countries, have 40 student organizations, and offer one doctoral degree - in the field of nursing.
They also have some notable alumni, including former Iowa Congressman Leonard Boswell, Pulitzer Prize winning author Teresa Carpenter, and perhaps most famous of all - Olympic Gold Medalist Caitlyn Jenner (Bruce when he was an Olympian and student-athlete at Graceland).
In fact, I discovered that the sports complex at the college is named in honor of Bruce (now Caitlyn).
The entire campus is about 170 acres and I spent about an hour just wandering around.
Not far from the sports complex is the recently completed (2012) Shaw Center, which is a performing arts complex among other things.
Upon walking into the building, I immediately encountered a long hallway that was set up as an art gallery. There are a lot of nice pieces to enjoy.
Elsewhere through the building, I encountered some lovely performing arts spaces.
Some of the buildings on campus look like they might have been built during the Cold War and thus do not have a lot of flare or majesty.
However, there were several other buildings on campus that were quite beautiful, including what I believe was the administrative building. They certainly do not build buildings like this anymore. It definitely has a castle-like look to it.
I believe this is the basketball arena and you certainly do not see many buildings with this type of roof. Quite unique.
I noticed there were a number of apartment style buildings on campus, which I presume is where the vast majority of students reside.
To my knowledge, Floyd McDowell is not related, though of course I had to take a picture! Below, is a photo of the commons. I did not go in, but it appeared that several students were sitting in there.
Pictured below is the University's library. I didn't walk in but I am going to assume nearly every student was busy studying, of course!
There are numerous other academic buildings on campus, of varying age and style.
There is a chapel on the campus.
I am not sure of the significance of this bell, but it was located on central campus.
I enjoyed my time wandering around the campus - it's a beautiful place. Are you an alumni? Do you go to school here or do you work here? What did I miss? What is your favorite memory of going to school at Graceland? Drop me a note on my website.
Not all the news is good. This morning, while reading through different news clips, I see where Graceland is needing to lay off some staff. That's always unfortunate. I hope they can bounce back and get back on stable footing.
As always, I welcome suggestions of places to go to profile elsewhere in Decatur County or in any of the other 98 counties. Please send me a note and I'll be sure to add it to my list.