“There are many times, no one is there but you. It’s just like Truman said, ‘The buck stops here.’…. And, you know, sometimes that’s something you have to reflect on. And when you do? ‘Oh.’ A light!”

– Mrs. Edith Renfrow Smith, August 2021

These are the eyes of Mrs. Edith Renfrow Smith. Graduated in 1937, she is Grinnell College’s first Black alumna. At an energetic and engaged 109, Mrs. Smith is also the College’s oldest living graduate. She has lived long, well, and proudly as a Grinnellian.

A teenage Edith Renfrow Smith looks into the camera with a slight smile, wearing her campfire girls necklace

"Grinnell Has Been My Life"

A tennis court in front of a brick building - text below the image reads 'Building Number 3 / Girls' Dormitory Grinnell College / Grinnell, IA 1915

"I Recruited Myself"

Edith Renfrow Smith viewed from the waist up, wearing glasses and a teal blazer, smiles at the camera with her arms crossed in front of her

Teaching, Volunteering, and Superaging

Edith Renfrow Smith beams at the camera as she holds a red and white Grinnell College shirt in front of her torso

Recognizing and Celebrating a First