Coe College E-News

March 6, 2018

Teach me how to Dougie!

Click the video above to hear what Dougie Peters '81 thinks of efforts to honor him with a mural and naming the equipment room in his honor.

A fixture at Coe since he arrived as a student in 1977, Athletic Equipment Manager Dougie Peters '81 has devoted his life to Kohawk athletics and is undoubtedly the champion of Kohawk spirit.

In appreciation for all that Peters has given to the college, the Coe community wants to pay tribute to him by naming the equipment room in his honor while installing a one-of-a-kind mural of Peters and his Coe family.

"Dougie is the most selfless, generous soul I have ever known," said President David McInally. "He is – and will always be – Coe's heart. Nothing could speak to the spirit of Kohawks more powerfully than installing a Dougie mural in the Athletic and Recreation Complex and naming the equipment room in his honor – a permanent expression of what he means to all of us."

A Coe employee since receiving his business degree from the college, Peters became a donor once he joined the staff. His monthly contributions have increased over the ensuing 37 years from $50 to $400. His lifetime giving to Coe is nearly $75,000. The college is the beneficiary of his life insurance policy and he has deeded his house to Coe. Located just east of campus, the gold house with crimson trim has been Peters' home for 58 of his 59 years.

"Start small, think big!" is Peters' mantra. "You have to define small, then go from there," he said. "For some people, it might be $10."

With a legendary work ethic that he attributes to his mother, Peters is typically on duty from 4 a.m. to 4 p.m. – including weekends – during the school year. He's been at Coe every day since friends surprised him with a casino trip for his 50th birthday in 2009. "I haven't had a day off since," he said.

Not that he's complaining. "God gave me two arms and two legs with which to work; he did not build me like an octopus," Peters said. "I work very hard for other people. I could care less about myself."

As Kohawks arrive at the equipment room counter before practice or competition, Peters hands each student-athlete a freshly laundered uniform and gear without having to ask their name or number. He sends them off with his signature phrase, "Have a nice day!"

The "Dougie Wave" has become a Coe tradition as Peters salutes each of Coe's 21 varsity teams as they leave campus for road competitions. His record is five wave-offs in one day and he recently completed a "double trifecta" with three wave-offs on consecutive days.

"It gives me great pleasure," he said. "That's one of my favorite things."

Steak is another one of Peters' favorite things and alumni often treat him to his favorite dinner. Since he first became a member of the Steak Lovers Club at the former North Country Steak House in 2002 – consuming a 40-ounce steak with salad, baked potato and Texas toast in under 45 minutes – Peters has completed a steak challenge of some sort 58 times. His record time for eating 40 ounces of steak is 5:47. His record amount of steak consumed in one sitting is 62 ounces (3.875 pounds).

"My goal is my age," he said. "I might do 59 ounces for my 59th time, and I was born in 1959."

A 2002 recipient of the Eliza Hickok Kesler Outstanding Service Award, Peters is a two-time grand marshal of the Coe Homecoming parade. He said he was shocked to learn of Coe's new plans to honor him.

"I would never have believed it in my life," he said. "Those are the best honors you can get; the ones that are bestowed on you."

"Have a nice day!" is more than a signature phrase for Peters; it's a sincere affirmation that brightens every day. Whether you are a student-athlete picking up your uniform, a team leaving campus for an away game, or an alumnus looking for a Cedar Rapids steak recommendation, Dougie is the man.

Kohawks now have the opportunity to return the favor and brighten Dougie's day. With the Eby Fieldhouse renovations and construction of the new Athletics and Recreation Complex completed, it is a fitting tribute that the equipment room be permanently named in his honor. In addition, Peters will be featured on a one-of-a-kind mural to be installed outside the new Kohawk Arena. A life-size mural of the "Dougie Wave" surrounded by images submitted by project supporters will greet everyone who enters the arena from College Drive.

The project was spearheaded by a $10,000 lead gift from Fred Rose '11 and Melissa Eilert Rose '07. The Roses joined Karly Ashlock '07 and Tracey Freiberg '07 as project co-chairs.

"When I heard about the plans to build the new arena a couple years ago, there wasn't a doubt in my mind that we would find a way to honor Dougie, and I wanted to be a part of that given all he's done for me and so many others throughout the Coe community over the years," said Ashlock. "I try to live by his ‘start small, think big' mantra and ask that Kohawks do the same when they consider supporting this lasting tribute to Dougie."

Visit and specify a gift (with up to five years to pay). Donors of $250 or more may upload a photo (even better if it includes you and Dougie) to be included in the display. Donors may also write a personal message that will be presented to Peters.

'Earth Tax' called cost of business
Contemporary Issues Forum focuses on saving planet

Click the video above for highlights from this year's Contemporary Issues Forum featuring sustainability leaders Yvon Chouinard and Craig Mathews. In addition to their presentation, the founders of 1% for the Planet mingled with students, staff and faculty during lunch and a reception.

"We're not a company whose mission is to make clothing," Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard told a large Coe College audience. "Our mission is to save the planet, and we use making clothing to do that."

Speaking at the 15th Contemporary Issues Forum in Sinclair Auditorium on Feb. 28, Chouinard and Blue Ribbon Flies founder Craig Mathews encouraged businesses, nonprofits and individuals to join their global network called 1% for the Planet. The forum was streamed live in Iowa City to the University of Iowa's Tippie College of Business and John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center.

Founded in 2002, participating companies direct at least one percent of annual gross revenues to approved nonprofit partners. To date, the organization has more than 1,200 members and has raised more than $175 million to benefit the environment.

"We believe that climate change is the biggest threat facing our world today," Mathews said. "Our food systems are stressed. Our land, water and species are threatened like never before. And current funding is not enough."

Chouinard and Mathews hatched the idea of 1% for the Planet during a fishing trip 17 years ago when they realized both of their companies were already donating one percent or more to grassroots environmental and activist causes.

"The idea is, because we use a public resource to further our business, we should give back as a cost of doing business in the world today," Mathews said. "Our businesses negatively impact our environment. And that's what we call our earth tax, our one percent tax."

Standing behind such causes, they said, has helped boost sales, customer loyalty and employee morale. "Our businesses were growing by leaps and bounds because our customers were supporting exactly those causes," Mathews said.

Two years ago, on the suggestion of an employee, Patagonia donated its Black Friday sales to environmental causes. Sales quadrupled to $10 million and the outdoor clothing retailer found 275,000 new customers.

"There's a decision made because it's the right thing to do and because it's fun," Chouinard said. "And it turned out to be good business."

Patagonia is also suing the current presidential administration over public lands. When President Donald Trump ordered in December to reduce the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in Utah, Patagonia's website blasted a message that read, "The President Stole Your Land."

Patagonia was then met with criticism that it was politicizing the order to boost its own bottom line. Chouinard denied that assertion, but acknowledged the move had helped sales.

"The day they said that, our sales went up 600 percent," he said.

Businesses have a moral responsibility beyond maximizing profits and should not leave it to shareholders and employees alone to support social or environmental causes, Chouinard said. Although many argue a business should avoid taking a public position on political issues, Chouinard disagrees.

"I think that's absolutely wrong because you've got the Koch brothers who are putting millions of dollars into influencing our elections," he said. "So who's going to counteract their influence? Well, I am. I'm going to do it."

The two credited consumers for driving the push for companies to stand behind specific causes.

"With our customers, they want us to do it," Chouinard said. "I'm not worried about alienating any customers. In fact, if I'm not making somebody angry, then I'm not trying hard enough."

Coe President David McInally moderated the discussion and asked the environmentalists and social entrepreneurs what it will take to develop a sustainable system to feed a global population of 10 billion by 2050.

"Small scale regenerative organic agriculture could feed the world and we can capture more than all the carbon that we're producing," Chouinard said. "Agriculture is one of the biggest culprits in global warming, but it is the number one solution."

Established by the late K. Raymond Clark '30, the Contemporary Issues Forum presents the views of distinguished leaders whose work has shaped and altered the course of world events. The forum has featured former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, former Poland President Lech Walesa, deep-sea oceanographer Robert Ballard, civil rights activist Myrlie Evers-Williams, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, "Doonesbury" cartoonist Garry Trudeau, ecology expert Jared Diamond, documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Leonard Pitts, celebrated author Sir Salman Rushdie, former Senate Majority Leader and Special Envoy George Mitchell, Pulitzer Prize-winning global health expert Laurie Garrett, legendary soccer player and LGBTQ equality advocate Abby Wambach, and leading commentator on race Jelani Cobb.

World's cuisine featured at 44th Coe International Club Banquet

Click the video to experience the Coe College International Club's 44th annual banquet featuring cuisine from around the world. Appetizers were served Feb. 18 during receptions in Phifer Commons and the James H. Randall Intercultural Center of Gage Memorial Union, followed by dinner in Gage Dining Hall.

This year's buffet-style banquet featured specialties from Japan, Korea, France, Nepal, China, Vietnam, and much more. In keeping with long-standing tradition, Coe international students wore clothing from their home countries and served from two buffet lines. A brief program featuring the students followed the dinner.

Coe again recognized as a top producer of Fulbright U.S. students

Fulbright logoCoe College is among the elite as a top producer of Fulbright U.S. students, with 20 in the last five years.

For the 2017-18 academic year, Coe is ranked 17th in the nation for the number of students and recent alumni who received Fulbrights. This is the third time in six years that Coe has been ranked a top producer by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government's flagship international educational exchange program. It is prestigious and highly selective.

Coe has established itself as a leading national producer of Fulbright students with 28 awardees in the past decade. This builds upon the tradition of Coe students, alumni and faculty who have received Fulbrights since the program was established.

"Once again this year, the Coe community is pleased to receive national recognition for the college's large number of Fulbright recipients," Coe President David McInally said. "The hard work and dedication of our bright scholars to earn these Fulbright grants results in life-changing experiences for each award winner. We are exceedingly proud of these recent Coe alumni, and we congratulate them for their achievements."

Last spring, six graduating Coe seniors and a recent alumna received Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards for the 2017-18 academic year. The seven awardees represent a new record number of Coe students and recent alumni who have received Fulbrights in a given year. Recipients of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship grant were:

  • Justine Arcand '17: An Asian studies and film studies major with a minor in creative writing, she is teaching in South Korea.
  • Allison Bailey '17: A political science major with minors in French and theatre arts, she is teaching in Bulgaria.
  • Andrew Koehler '17: A chemistry and physics major with a minor in mathematics, he is teaching in Sri Lanka.
  • Gibson Odderstol '17: A political science and religion major, he is teaching in Malaysia.
  • Leeann Oelrich '16: An English and Spanish major, she is teaching in South Korea.
  • Thomas Petrino '17: A political science major with a minor in creative writing, he is teaching in Bulgaria.
  • Hannah Wiles '17: A major in communication studies with a minor in Asian studies and creative writing, she is teaching in Thailand.

"I applied for a Fulbright because I think that language learning presents a unique opportunity for cross-cultural understanding," Oelrich said. "At the Catherine McAuley Center, I've witnessed the ways that language learning can serve as a vehicle to build community and friendship between people of completely different backgrounds."

"I've always loved the English language, so helping others learn how to write, listen and communicate more effectively is something I've always been fascinated by," Petrino said.

All of Coe's recent Fulbright recipients received individualized guidance from Assistant Professor of English Amber Shaw, who serves as the college's national fellowship advisor, as well as other faculty members.

"It has been a privilege to work with these academically talented students who have a passion for civic engagement and service to others," Shaw said. "As cultural ambassadors for the Fulbright Program, Coe's awardees are exemplifying the college's mission by leading productive and satisfying lives across the globe."

Personalized academic support and attention are among the many reasons top-achieving students thrive at Coe. Coe continues to outperform colleges and universities across the country when it comes to producing Fulbright students. This is one of the many reasons Coe is ranked in the top 20 percent of all colleges and universities nationwide.

Challenge grant within reach as Make Your Move nears completion

With the $20 million renovation of Coe's athletic and recreation facilities now complete, the college is in the home stretch of Make Your Move – the Campaign for Eby and Hickok.

Play the video below to see one of the best athletic and recreation facilities in the Midwest.

The project gives alumni a unique opportunity to leave their legacy on campus. By raising $6 million for Make Your Move, the college can receive a generous $3 million grant from the Hall-Perrine Foundation of Cedar Rapids. Thus far, $5.53 million has been contributed to unlock $2.77 million for the college. Now is the time to make your move and make it happen for Coe! Visit today.

Coe student art added to Brewed menu

Already strong relations between a neighborhood coffee shop and Coe College students, faculty and staff have been enhanced by the entrepreneurial spirit of a student.

While working as a barista at Brewed Awakenings, Ellora Bultema '20 realized there was an untapped market of Coe student artists right across First Avenue. With the help of Assistant Professor of Art History and Director of Galleries and Collections Ranelle Knight-Lueth and the consent of Brewed Awakenings owners Larry and Junetta Janda, Bultema developed a program for Coe students to display and sell their works of art.

Bultema, who majors in business, creative writing and Asian studies with a minor in economics, also has an artistic side. She exhibited eight photos she had taken during a summer trip to China at Brewed Awakenings from December through February. The display was a trial run to establish rules and fine tune transaction procedures. She sold three of the prints during the exhibition.

"For me, it's an opportunity to gain experience curating an art program at a coffee shop," Bultema said.

As Bultema's exhibition was coming to a close, a call for art was sent to Coe's studio art majors and minors. Sienna Church '20 was picked to display three paintings through March, followed by an acrylic painting and a charcoal drawing by Ai Tomioka '21.

"I'm very excited about the opportunity to have my art shown in a place that's so well known among my classmates," said Church, who also operates an online art store at "The project is a wonderful idea, as I believe it's extremely important to showcase and support local budding artists like myself!"

Under a contract agreement between exhibiting artists and the coffee shop, Brewed Awakenings retains the right to approve or reject any submissions and is not responsible for theft or damaged art. The artists are responsible for communicating with potential buyers and negotiating a purchase price.

Brewed Awakenings staff will not negotiate art sales and the business does not collect a commission. "I'm not interested in any commission," said owner Larry Janda, who purchased the coffee shop in 2013 with his wife, Junetta. "The artists should be rewarded for their work."

A program for displaying and selling the works of professional Cedar Rapids artists was already in place and continued for a few years after the Jandas bought the coffee shop. They were particularly interested in Bultema's idea for reviving the practice with a Coe student focus.

"I was not interested in letting just any artist come in and display their work and put it up for sale," Janda said. "We just want to make the walls available to Coe students."

Brewed Awakenings is already a popular spot for Coe students, faculty and staff. Janda said he hopes the student art project will solidify that relationship. "We have a remarkable relationship with Coe," he said.

Between its Coe location and a second Brewed Awakenings at St. Luke's Hospital, Janda estimates about half of his 23 employees are Coe students.

Coe students have a new venue to display and sell their art because of a partnership with Brewed Awakenings organized by Ellora Bultema '20.
Coe students have a new venue to display and sell their art because of a partnership with Brewed Awakenings organized by Ellora Bultema '20.

Coe partners with College Possible to enhance success for low-income students

College Possible logoCoe College has partnered with College Possible's Catalyze Program, allowing the institution to provide additional support for low-income students. The innovative program will provide Coe with additional resources and create a systematic program to help ensure students succeed and graduate, paving the way for successful futures. Coe was chosen as one of only seven colleges or universities in the nation to participate in the Catalyze Program for the 2018-19 academic year.

Coe's involvement in the Catalyze Program is the latest example of the college's strong commitment to both educational access and success for students. Coe recently received a $650,000 award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through its S-STEM Program to provide scholarships for low-income, academically talented students to study in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The Catalyze and S-Stem programs will complement each other, and represent significant new resources to enhance student academic support on the Coe campus.

Catalyze was developed by College Possible, a nonprofit organization based in Minnesota dedicated to closing the degree divide between low-income and higher-income students. With sites in six major cities, College Possible serves more than 15,000 low-income students annually, providing coaching and support from their junior year of high school through college graduation. As a result, College Possible students are four times more likely to earn their degrees than their low-income peers.

Nationally, one-third of college enrollees are low-income students, yet these students are graduating at rates significantly lower than their higher-income peers. To help close this achievement gap, College Possible launched a new partnership model called Catalyze in 2016. The Catalyze Program is based on the belief that the organization's innovative approach to increasing college success for low-income students can be embedded on college campuses and scaled to serve many more students. Catalyze has a capacity-building focus, rather than direct service, which will enable colleges and universities to use the tried-and-true College Possible model to develop and expand their own resources to support their low-income students from matriculation through graduation.

As an early Catalyze partner, Coe will receive training and support from College Possible to hire recent college graduates as program coaches. The Coe program will utilize two AmeriCorps members as near-peer coaches. Through the program, Coe will also have access to College Possible's curriculum and coaching resources focused on improving retention and graduation rates of low-income students.

At Coe, the Catalyze Partnership champions will be English Professor and Associate Dean for Student Academics Gina Hausknecht and Music Professor Marc Falk, who also serves as Learning Commons program director. Director of Campus Life Laura Van Buer will be the coach supervisor, working closely with the AmeriCorps near-peer coaches. The Catalyze program at Coe will be tailored to the unique needs of the college.

"Through our partnership with Catalyze, Coe will have access to proven methods in coaching low-income students on their journey to earning a college degree," Hausknecht said. "We are pleased to be early adopters of the Catalyze Program, and we know it will be beneficial to many students on the Coe campus."

Are your plans up-to-date?

One of the most effective ways to care for your family is with a current estate plan. To assist you with making or updating your plans, we can provide you with our free Planning Your Legacy wills guide. Click here to request your copy.

Social Ambassador banner

#KohawkDay, Coe's annual Day of Giving is April 12 and we need you to help us spread the word. Last year our Social Ambassadors helped inspire over 700 Kohawks across the world to show off their Kohawk pride by liking, sharing, posting and giving across all social media platforms. Because of our Social Ambassadors, #KohawkDay posts were viewed over 17,000 times, making our annual Day of Giving one of the best days of the year!

Word-of-mouth is essential to creating buzz and excitement around #KohawkDay and as a Social Ambassador, you're not only a supporter, but also an influencer who will help drive participation that day. We are planning some new and exciting additions to #KohawkDay this year, and hope you will use your voice as a Social Ambassador and help us on April 12.

Sign Me Up! Social Ambassador button

Upcoming alumni events

  • March 10 – New York City Alumni Happy Hour
    5-7 p.m. at Harding's NYC, 32 E 21st Street, New York, NY. Enjoy hors d'oeuvres and drinks during this special private event sponsored by the Alumni Office.
  • March 11 – American Gothic Breakfast and Tour
    8:30-10:30 a.m. at Whitney Museum of American Art, 99 Gansevoort Street, New York, NY. 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. program and reception at Santina, 820 Washington Street, New York, NY. Cost is $100 per person which includes the Whitney Museum admission, breakfast and private tour, as well as food and beverage at Santina.
  • March 22 – Sip & Socialize
    5-7 p.m. at Dublin City Pub, 415 First St. SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401. Join the Coe Corridor Network for a fun networking event with alumni, students and faculty! Light appetizers will be provided and a cash bar will be available. Please register by March 15.
  • April 22 - Bike Lehn II
    1-5 p.m. Bike from Chrome Horse Saloon New Bo to Ely and back on the Cedar River and Hoover trails (20 miles round trip) or run/walk the New Bo and downtown area while enjoying food and drink specials to celebrate the memory of our friend and Coe colleague Dan Lehn. Proceeds from the event will support the Dan Lehn Memorial Scholarship, which honors the legacy of the Coe psychology professor who died from injuries sustained in a bicycle-automobile accident on July 19, 2016. Registration details coming soon.

For a complete list of upcoming events at Coe, click here.