Categories: General
      Date: May 15, 2012
     Title: Phifer, Hadow receive awards at Coe commencement ceremony

Two members of the Coe community received special recognition at the college’s commencement ceremony on May 6.  The first lady of Coe College, Linnie Phifer, received the Eliza Hickok Kesler Outstanding Service Award, while Biology Professor Harlo Hadow was honored with the Lynch Award for outstanding teaching.  The citations were presented by Gene Henderson, chair of the Coe Board of Trustees and a 1968 alumnus of the college.



Two members of the Coe community received special recognition at the college’s commencement ceremony on May 6. The first lady of Coe College, Linnie Phifer, received the Eliza Hickok Kesler Outstanding Service Award, while Biology Professor Harlo Hadow was honored with the Lynch Award for outstanding teaching.  The citations were presented by Gene Henderson, chair of the Coe Board of Trustees and a 1968 alumnus of the college.

Eliza Hickok Kesler Outstanding Service Award

The first lady of Coe, Linnie Phifer, graciously greets the commencement audience upon being named the recipient of the Eliza Hickok Kesler Outstanding Service Award by Gene Henderson '68, chair of the Coe Board of Trustees (beside podium).

The Eliza Hickok Kesler Outstanding Service Award is given most years, but not every year, at Coe’s graduation. It was created in 1999 for the purpose of honoring superior, long-term service to Coe - service that advances the purposes and mission of the institution.  Faculty, staff, alumni and trustees are all eligible. This award is named for Eliza Hickok Kesler, class of 1931, known to generations of the Coe family as Roby, whose lifetime of distinguished service to the college is unparalleled.

Linnie Phifer, the wife of Coe President James Phifer, has served the college in differing capacities for more than 25 years. Throughout that time, she has worked tirelessly to advance the cause of the institution. Her most visible efforts have been in planning and overseeing countless Coe events, both on campus and at gatherings of alumni across the country.

“In organizing and directing college events, Linnie has set a new high standard for the way the college presents itself to the larger world. Her efforts have elevated the pride in the institution felt both by members of the campus community and by alumni,” said Henderson. “In everything she does, Linnie displays extraordinary devotion to the success of the institution on a broad front, and a commitment to fostering the well-being of the Coe community.”

In choosing this year’s Kesler winner, the executive committee of the faculty noted in particular the degree to which her values parallel those of Roby Kesler, for whom the award is named.  Linnie Phifer’s career at Coe has not only reflected but exalted the tradition of commitment to Coe established by Roby.  Each has served the college as the greatest cheerleader for all things Coe.

Charles J. Lynch Outstanding Teacher Award

Heins-Johnson Professor of Biology Harlo Hadow is recognized after receiving the Charles J. Lynch Outstanding Teacher Award at Coe's commencement.

As selected by the Coe College class of 2012, the Charles J. Lynch Outstanding Teacher Award was presented to Heins-Johnson Professor of Biology Harlo Hadow. The award was established at Coe in 1983.  It is presented annually at commencement and consists of a $2,000 prize made possible by an endowment gift.

Hadow earned his bachelor’s degree from Milton College and his master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, Boulder.  He has taught in the Coe Biology Department since 1977.

Educated as a vertebrate behavioral ecologist, Hadow has researched the communication, growth and development, and ecology of various woodpeckers in the U.S. and Central America.  Other research interests include the salamander population dynamics in Iowa and urban deer populations in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. Hadow also serves as the director of the Coe Wilderness Field Station on the boundary waters near Ely, Minnesota. He teaches classes in human anatomy, comparative chordate anatomy, embryology, ornithology and vertebrate natural history.

Members of the class of 2012 were invited by Coe President James Phifer to nominate a member of the faculty for this award. In doing so they were asked to give careful consideration to three criteria: quality of teaching; concern for students as individuals; and scholarship.

The Charles J. Lynch Outstanding Teacher Award memorializes the values and service of C.J. Lynch, an alumnus of Coe College, class of 1926. Lynch was a prominent Cedar Rapids attorney whose dedication to Coe College was reflected, among other ways, by 43 years of service on the board of trustees of the college. Above all things, C.J. Lynch valued inspirational teaching and sound scholarship.