Coe alumni reunion weekend features recognition, special events

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
(319) 399-8605 or

2009-06-03 14:26:47 - General

Several successful Coe alumni are among the honorees at this year's June Reunion Weekend, set for June 11-14. The Coe Alumni Office is preparing for a festive weekend as alumni from the classes '34, '39, '44, '49, '54, '59 and '69 return to campus to celebrate major reunions.

The Alumni Council congratulates those who have been selected to receive the awards from the Coe College Alumni Association. This year's Alumni Award of Merit honorees are Dr. Johanna Abernathy '69 of Cedar Rapids, and the late Frank Westphal '44 who resided in Oglesby, Ill. The Distinguished Service Award will be presented to Allan '54 and Jayne Peremsky of Cedar Rapids. The All-Alumni dinner in honor of this year's award recipients and milestone reunions will be held on Saturday, June 13, 6:30 p.m. in The "U" at Gage Memorial Union.

Mini-College Classes
Several mini-college classes will be held in Kesler Lecture Hall of Hickok Hall. On Friday, June 12 at 9 a.m., Director of Marketing and Public Relations Rod Pritchard will present "Coe and the Flood of 2008." At 10 a.m., former Professor of History Al Schmidt will discuss, "Transformation Far & Near: Some that Changed the Course of World History; One that Changed Coe College - During the Reign of the Class of '59."

"Who's in the Coe Archives?" is the topic for the 11 a.m. presentation in the Henry Archives in Stewart Memorial Library by Jill Jack, head of reference. James Derrick '69, a consultant for the U.S. State Department, will give a talk on "Managing an American Embassy in Today's Environment" beginning at 2 p.m.

On Saturday, June 13 at 9 a.m., Paul Kriese '67 will present "The Color-coded Constitution and the United States Constitution." "Railroad and Transport Economics: They Impact Everything We Use and Buy" will be discussed by John Gohmann '69 at 10 a.m. Scott Taylor '75 will present "Near-Death Experience: What Do We know?" at 11 a.m.

Book signing
President James and Linnie Phifer will host a reception beginning at 5:15 p.m. on Saturday, June 13, in the Perrine Gallery of Stewart Memorial Library. During the reception, Dan Guenther '66, will sign copies of his latest book "Townsend's Solitaire," the third in a trilogy that includes "China Wind" and "Dodge City Blues." Guenther and Steve Kennedy '78 will sign "The Fish Jumps Out of the Moon: Haiku of Charles F. Kennedy," a book they co-edited.

Various other events will be held throughout the weekend, including tours of campus, golf, class parties, barbecues, luncheons, and banquets. For a complete schedule of events, go to: or contact the Coe College Alumni Office at 399-8561.

Allan and Jayne Peremsky

Distinguished Service Award
Allan and Jayne Peremsky

Allan Peremsky graduated from Coe in 1954 with a bachelor's degree in commerce and finance. He was heavily involved in various student activities, including serving as senior class president and captain of the football team. As an alumnus, Al has served on the Coe board of trustees and as president of C Club. He was inducted into the Coe Athletic Hall of Fame in 1981, has served on various reunion committees, and has served as a class representative since 2003. He received the Coe Alumni Award of Merit in 1979. Al and Jayne served jointly on the Coe Parents' Council.

Al has also been active in many community organizations, including the National Czech and Slovak Museum, St. Luke's Hospital, the Jaycees, United Way, the Chamber of Commerce, the Hawkeye Area Council of Boy Scouts, and the Central YMCA Board.

Jayne Peremsky is the owner of Buresh Party and Special Events, and she and Al have worked closely with the college to provide items for special events for many years. Jayne has worked with the annual presidential balls, helping to convert Eby Fieldhouse into an elegant ballroom each year. Al has traditionally worked with the set-up of the Brat 'n Beverage Tent during Homecoming weekend, an 18-year tradition that brings alumni, parents and friends to one central location prior to the football game on Homecoming Saturday. Jayne has been actively involved in Rotary and a supporter of Boys and Girls Club. She is a certified wedding consultant.

Dr. Johanna Abernathy '69

Alumni Award of Merit
Dr. Johanna Abernathy '69
Cedar Rapids

Dr. Johanna Abernathy received her bachelor's degree at Coe in 1969. At Coe, she was a member of the Delta Delta Delta sorority and the cheerleading squad. She was recognized for her academic prowess with inductions into Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Alpha Lambda Delta and Crescent. Johanna then went on to earn a medical degree from the University of Iowa Medical School in 1975. She completed her residency at the University of Iowa in 1979, and has been board certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology since 1981.

After medical school, Johanna became an obstetrician/gynecologist in Cedar Rapids, where she continues to practice. In March 2006, she established Cosmetic Solutions Laser and Skin Center where she serves as medical director.

Professionally, Johanna has been and continues to be involved in many organizations, including: the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Medical Association, the Iowa State Medical Association, the Linn County Medical Society, the Iowa Obstetrics and Gynecologic Society, and the American Medical Women's Association.

Over the years, Johanna has played a significant role in teen pregnancy care and prevention, as well as other related issues. She has been very involved in Planned Parenthood, serving for many years as a board member, medical director and fundraiser. Johanna has been a leader in related groups, such as Parents United for Responsible Policies on Sexuality Education and the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Coalition. She has also served on several Governor's and statewide task forces, including Iowa's Legislative Task Force for Teen Pregnancy, Suicide and Substance Abuse. Johanna serves as co-chair of the Iowa Maternal Mortality Committee and the Perinatal Advisory Committee for the Statewide Perinatal Care Program. Other community organizations in which Johanna has played an active role include the YWCA, United Way, Theatre Cedar Rapids, and the Girls Scouts. She received the "Outstanding Woman of the Year" Award in 1990 for Woman's Equality Day.

Johanna and her husband, Terry, class of 1970, a Cedar Rapids attorney and longtime Coe trustee, have been highly supportive of their alma mater. Johanna's volunteer work includes serving on reunion committees and fundraising. Each year, she devotes many hours working on behalf of Coe pre-med students, lining up opportunities for them to job shadow area doctors. Johanna and Terry have generously supplied tickets for Coe students to attend cultural events locally and in New York City. In addition, the Abernathys are members of the Coe Heritage Club.