Black Gay College Head Settled in Iowa

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com November 28 2010 1:55 PM ET

As the semester winds down, Grinnell College's 13th president, Raynard S. Kington, says he, his partner, and their children are settling into small-town Iowa life very well.

The gay African-American president of one of Iowa's top liberal arts colleges said his new job is a contrast to his former post as a leader at the National Institutes of Health.

"It's a new world to me in a lot of ways," he told The Des Moines Register. He added, "If anything, our experiences to date have reinforced our expectation that Iowa is full of open-minded and fair people."

Local business owner Jeff Phelps grew up in Grinnell and is an alum of the college. He said the community has been in need of someone like Kington to expand the relationship between the college and the town.

"[Kington has] really made himself available to the community," Phelps said. "He's a great communicator, and he really, truly seems to enjoy being in a small town."

Watch his introduction to the college in February below: