True Grinnellian: Sandy Moffett

Professor Sandy Moffett poses for a photo in front of a stage. Professor, bluegrass performer and local government representative, Moffettt embodies all of the community. Photo by Sarah Ruiz.

Professor Sandy Moffett poses for a photo in front of a stage. Professor, bluegrass performer and local government representative, Moffettt embodies all of the community. Photo by Sarah Ruiz.

As an active member of both the College and town communities in Grinnell, Professor Emeritus Sandy Moffett, Theatre and Dance, has truly come to know and appreciate what makes Grinnell unique. After moving to Iowa from North Carolina in 1971, Moffett immediately began to realize how much his experience in the community would mean to him, in both his professional and personal life.

So far, Moffett has made the most of his time in Grinnell, participating in many aspects of the community, both within and beyond the College. Moffett has directed numerous plays, and served as department and division head for theater and the arts, respectively. For those who don’t know him as a member of the theater community, they will recognize him as the announcer for the College’s football team. Additionally, Moffett is involved in the Grinnell community as a member of local government. In the end, he will tell you that he feels a great amount of affection and pride for Grinnell. “I really felt like when I got here there was no up, that this was gonna be it,” he said.

Moffett says that his love for the College was immediately apparent after arriving in 1971, and that his increasing appreciation of the Iowa landscape led to a desire to be involved with the town of Grinnell and Poweshiek County. Moffett has taken an active role in local government, running for and eventually being elected as county board officer in 2002. He described this experience as “a crash dive into both the county and town.”

Being a part of the local government also led Moffett to become a part of prairie restoration efforts, having restored about 200 acres of his own farmland outside town. For Moffett, the prairie truly exemplifies the beauty and landscape of Iowa, something he calls a “hidden treasure.”

Because of his enthusiasm for both the town and college communities, Moffett has always tried to use his position as a theater professor to try and bridge the gap between the two. Moffett has been involved for most of his time in Grinnell with the Grinnell Community Theater and the Grinnell Area Arts Council, two organizations committed to supporting arts and culture within the area.

Moffett noted that his role as a theater professor allowed him to try and get the town more involved with College events. “I was always trying to work with the high school, with the community theatre organization, and always trying to get people in the community interested in what we were doing here on campus,” he said.

Beyond his public service work, Moffett plays in a bluegrass band made up of faculty from across many departments of Grinnell College. He can’t recall how the band came to be or where their music originated from. “We don’t consider ourselves a band, we just consider ourselves people who really love to play,” he explained.

Beginning as a Thursday night jam session, the group eventually began to play in Saints Rest, Mayflower Community and Windsor Manor, donating the proceeds from any paid show to the Heifer International Foundation. “I have a warm spot in my heart for Saints Rest,” Moffett said. According to Moffett, Saints Rest provides a venue for the group’s performances, allowing students and Grinnell community members alike to take part in the music.

Moffett described the band as “a wonderful happening, for me I think and for all the people who are in it.” Members include Moffett’s wife Betty, the former director of the Writing Lab, Professor Mark Schneider, Physics and Professor Sig Barber, German.

Moffett has truly managed to do it all in Grinnell, becoming an integral part of the campus and town communities. Speaking to his time as a professor at the College, Moffett said, “I’m a big supporter of Grinnell College and community, I can’t imagine a place where I could have had a better career.”