By: Dale Bell

GRINNELL, IA—Early yesterday, Enya Strathclyde, a recipient of one of Grinnell’s 2023 honorary degrees, was reportedly furious to learn that the degree awarded to her was in the field of Art History. Strathclyde, a pioneering woman in computer science and inventor of the Ctrl key, initially viewed her honorary degree from Grinnell as “a beautiful way in which life comes full circle,” in reference to her 1924 expulsion from the College after accidentally burning down West Campus. However, after Strathclyde discovered the degree’s field, she has come to view the supposed honor as more of a “sick fucking joke.”

The B&S was able to secure an interview with Strathclyde after she kicked down the door to our offices, apoplectic with rage, looking for Grinnell College President Anne Harris.

“Some of my best memories were here at Grinnell. Smoking reefer with Joey Rosenfield, hitting the brothel with Selden. I loved my time here and when I got that letter I was so happy that I’d finally received a diploma, but, Art History? What a slap in the face. If I wanted to gain an understanding of the global impact art has had on humanity and discover how it has both shaped and responded to individuals and societies throughout time I would have asked. I didn’t.

At this point in the interview one of the B&S cabinets opened and a figure sprinted madly for the door. Strathclyde, momentarily stunned, quickly regained her composure and took off after the figure shouting, “Harris you bastard! I’d even take English! ENGLISH!”

This isn’t the first time that Grinnell’s honorary degree practices have generated controversy. In 2016, Grinnell was the subject of several cease and desist letters from the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services after giving out honorary medical degrees to several recipients. 

Gabriel Houston, a “conceptual postmodern poet” who received an honorary M.D. from Grinnell in 2016 agreed to speak to the B&S about their experience after staffers threatened to apply literary analysis to their work, unlocking and exposing to the world their deepest, darkest, secrets.

“So when I first got the M.D. from Grinnell I was like, sweet, I can finally start making money. But then none of the hospitals would accept my application, and the FBI got involved, and in the end I was asked to give my honorary degree back to Grinnell. The strangest thing happened afterwards, though. I was told by the College that they would be sending a different honorary degree, but all I got was a scrap of paper with a handwritten note that said ‘Liscence [sic] to Kill’ signed by an R. Kington.”

At press time, Strathclyde’s fury was further increased when she discovered that, along with her Art History major, the degree also included a concentration in Film and Media Studies.