Phifer announces retirement from Coe College presidency

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
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2011-10-06 09:34:32 - General

Coe College President James Phifer has announced his retirement, effective June 30, 2013, which will culminate a 28-year career of leadership at the Cedar Rapids institution.  The chair of the Coe Board of Trustees, Gene Henderson, class of 1968, praised Phifer for his exemplary service and announced that the college will begin the process of searching for a new chief executive.

Phifer has served as president of Coe since 1995, having joined the college in 1985 as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty.  Under his guidance, Coe has focused on maintaining a quality faculty to provide students with a superior educational experience.  In the last decade, Coe has significantly enhanced its endowment and embarked on a building program that has nearly doubled the size of the campus, with a focus on new residential, admission, academic, athletic and recreational facilities to enhance the student experience.

Among his professional experiences, Phifer has served as a consultant-evaluator for the North Central Association; as chair of the Deans' Advisory Board of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest; as chair of the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Presidents' Council; as chair of the Presidents' Council of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest; and as chair of the Iowa Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.

Among many community activities, Phifer has served on the Boards of Directors of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, the Cedar Rapids Symphony, the Cedar Rapids YMCA and the Cedar Rapids Library Foundation Board. He is currently on the Board of Bankers Trust, Cedar Rapids. He and his wife, Linnie, have two grown daughters.

President Phifer earned his bachelor's degree, master's degree and Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, Boulder, in the field of English history. His research interest centers in law and politics of 17th century England.  Phifer began his teaching career at Wayne State College, where he also served as the director of the British Institute. From there, he assumed the position of dean of arts and sciences at the Institute of Technology at the State University of New York (Utica). He has taught in the Honors Program at Coe, and served as an occasional speaker in Coe's public lecture series, Thursday Forum.