Cedar Rapids community leader Nancy Evans to deliver Coe commencement address

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
(319) 399-8605 or rpritcha@coe.edu

2015-04-24 07:13:14 - General

Cedar Rapids community leader Nancy Evans will deliver the commencement address and receive an honorary degree on Sunday, May 10, at 10 a.m. at Coe College. This year's baccalaureate speaker is the Rev. Dr. Margaret Aymer, an associate professor of New Testament at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta. Baccalaureate will be held on Saturday, May 9, beginning at 3 p.m. in Sinclair Auditorium.

At Coe's commencement, President David McInally will confer Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Bachelor of Music and Master of Arts in Teaching degrees on 280 graduates. In addition, two retiring Coe professors will be honored with emeritus status: Robert O. Daniel Professor of Art John Beckelman and Professor of Education Roger Johanson.

Commencement speaker

Nancy Evans received a bachelor's degree in American studies from Coe College in 1971 and earned a law degree at the University of Iowa in 1974. She began her career as an assistant Linn County attorney, then taught over the course of more than 30 years at Coe. From 1996-2000, Evans served as the Commissioner of Public Safety for the city of Cedar Rapids.

She has been actively involved as a community volunteer and board member for many organizations, including St. Luke's Hospital, Red Cross, the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, Junior League of Cedar Rapids, Horizons, and Westminster Presbyterian Church. Evans currently serves on the boards of Diamond V Mills, Guaranty Bank and Trust Company, and the Belin and Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development at the University of Iowa. She has also served with many legal and governmental organizations, such as the Cedar Rapids Planning Commission, the Department of Correctional Services, the Iowa Finance Authority, the Legislative Task Force on Higher Education in Iowa, and the Governor's Task Force on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals. She is currently the chair of the Cedar Rapids Civil Service Commission.

On a national level, Evans has served as president of the Association of Junior Leagues and was a judge for President Clinton's National Service Awards.

Evans has been recognized with the Women of Influence Award, the Women's Equality Day Award, the State Department of Corrections Citizen of the Year, and the YWCA Tribute to Women in Business and Industry. She has twice received the Governor's Volunteer Award.

Nancy and her husband, Jack Evans, met during their Coe College years and both have been actively involved in the Cedar Rapids community ever since. They are the parents of three sons and have three grandsons.

Baccalaureate speaker

The Rev. Dr. Margaret Aymer has served for the past 13 years as associate professor of New Testament at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta. This fall, she will be joining the faculty of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary as associate professor of New Testament.

Aymer earned her bachelor's degree in U.S. history from Harvard-Radcliffe College in 1989. She successfully completed her Master of Divinity degree at Union Theological Seminary in New York City in 1993, and her doctorate in New Testament and early Christianity, also at Union Theological Seminary. Her time in New York City was divided between her work in the Ph.D. program at Union Seminary and as the director of Christian education at the White Plains Presbyterian Church.

A prolific writer of articles and Bible studies, Aymer has authored "Repairers of the Breach: Five Bible Studies on Social Justice Issues in New Orleans in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina" (2008); the commentary on the Acts of the Apostles in the "Women's Bible Commentary" (2013); and several exegetical essays for "Feasting on the Word," "Lectionary Homiletics" and The Huffington Post. She written a series of studies on the Lenten lectionary for Year C in "New Proclamation: Year C, 2009-2010."

Her Bible study "Confessing the Beatitudes," written for Horizons Magazine of Presbyterian Women, received the Award of Excellence (2011) from the Associated Church Press. She is the co-editor of the "Fortress Commentary on the New Testament" (2014) and the forthcoming (fall 2015) "Islands, Islanders and the Bible: Ruminations." In addition, Aymer's monograph "James: Diaspora Rhetorics of a Friend of God" is due out in the fall of 2015 from Sheffield Phoenix.

Aymer is married to Laurent Oget, and they are parents of one son.

Schedule of events

Saturday, May 9

  • 10 a.m. - Academic Honors Convocation in Dows Theatre
  • 1 p.m. - Nurses’ Pinning Ceremony in Dows Theatre
  • 1:30 p.m. - Phi Beta Kappa initiates will be honored at an induction ceremony in the Perrine Gallery of Stewart Memorial Library.
  • 3 p.m. - Baccalaureate service in Sinclair Memorial Auditorium

Sunday, May 10

  • 10 a.m. - Graduates will ring the Victory Bell in front of Eby Fieldhouse and then proceed across campus, escorted by the faculty, for the start of commencement exercises on the Stewart Memorial Library mall. Graduates will be honored at a reception in Gage Memorial Union Dining Hall - The "U" - following commencement. In case of inclement weather, the commencement ceremony will be held in Eby Fieldhouse.

For more information on graduation weekend events, contact the Coe Office of Marketing and Public Relations at (319) 399-8581 or go to www.coe.edu/graduation.