E-News - April 5, 2021

Coe College E-News — Updates and information for alumni, parents and friends of Coe

#KohawkDay is April 8!


It’s almost here! #KohawkDay is a day to celebrate what it means to be proud alumni, students, friends, faculty and staff of Coe College.

There are many ways you can get involved in this exciting day:

Visit alumni.coe.edu/kohawkday for unfolding details as the big day approaches.


The Coe College Wrestling team had a historic weekend March 12-13 at the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Division III National Championships, with nine All-Americans and three national champions. Click here to read all the details.


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Mabel Lee, Class of 1908

The birth of women’s athletics at Coe College and beyond

Over 100 years ago, Mabel Lee, Class of 1908, enrolled at Coe College after seeing a photograph of the women’s basketball team. Little did she know she would become one of the most influential figures to advance women’s athletics and even serve as substitute for First Lady Lou Hoover in presiding over the women's sessions of the 1932 Olympics.

“'I made up my mind I wouldn’t marry. I wanted a career, but I didn't know what career. I was groping for something I didn't know existed,” she stated in an article of the Lincoln Nebraska Sunday Journal and Star.

After graduating with a degree in psychology, Lee became Coe’s second physical director in the history of the college in 1910.

“May the play spirit be kept alive in our college women … that every girl who enters Coe College will learn some recreational activities which she may carry through to adult life,” she said.

With her leadership, Coe’s physical training program grew to be one of the best in the nation. She also created a dance and movement curriculum that led to the Colonial Ball and May Fete as two of Coe’s most honored traditions for many years.

After eight years of teaching at Coe, Lee taught at State Agricultural College of Oregon, Beloit College and University of Nebraska. She published four books and co-authored three memoirs.

Lee’s lifelong passion to support the development and organization of women's athletics led to her role as the first woman elected president of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education and Recreation and the American Academy of Physical Education. While she spoke on behalf of young girls and women of all ages, she put greater emphasis on athletics for college women.

“We propose to have athletics for American women, but we propose to have them controlled by women, coached by women, chaperoned by women, officiated by women, trained by women, protected by women physicians, and we say to those men of America who are not concerned with ideals, men who would like to commercialize this growing force, who seek notoriety through women’s athletics, we say ‘Hands off!’ and we mean just what we say,” she said.

Lee received honorary doctorates from Coe, George Williams and Beloit colleges and was inducted into Coe's athletic hall of fame in 1977. There are now 14 women’s athletic teams at Coe. Her passion continues to inspire the Coe community. She died on December 2, 1985, at the age of 99. Lee’s spirit continues to live in the legacy she left behind.


We love to see our Kohawks making headlines for their accomplishments and contributions to their communities. Check out these alumni who recently made the news.

  • Five Coe alumnae are among the 100 Great Iowa Nurses of 2021: Stacey Abel ’87, Nancy Brewer ’90, Tiffany Tiedtke Dill ’04, Christie Milligan ’93 and Jenny Roberts Woods ’10. This award recognizes nurses who have made meaningful, lasting contributions to their patients, colleagues and the nursing profession and are viewed as mentors to other nursing professionals. Congratulations to our incredible Kohawk nurses!
  • Liz Graznak ’98, owner of Happy Hollow Farm in Missouri, recently was named the 2021 Organic Farmer of the Year by the Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service. She also was featured in COMO Magazine.

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Class of 2020 Commencement

Graduation from Coe College is truly a milestone, and since we were not able to have a traditional ceremony for the Class of 2020 last year, we are planning to hold in-person, socially distanced Commencement activities on May 1, including ringing of the Victory Bell.

Visit www.coe.edu/graduation for information about Commencement and all graduation weekend events. Additional details will be added to this webpage as they become available.


Meet the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion staff

Coe’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) is made up of seven staff members from across the college. Watch this video to get to know them and learn more about the work they do.


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New scoreboard installed at Clark Field in memory of Coach Steve Staker

By the time the Coe football team took the field for the first game of their spring season on March 27, Clark Field had gotten a much-needed — and meaningful — upgrade. Not only does the new scoreboard enhance the Kohawk game day experience, it also stands as a permanent memorial to Steve Staker’s legacy as a coach, mentor, dear friend and loyal Kohawk.

The new scoreboard was made possible by the Staker family and contributions from many of Steve’s former players, coaches and friends. Gifts in memory of Steve are still encouraged and will be recognized as part of the scoreboard project. A special plaque to commemorate the project and the Staker 100 donors will be installed this summer. Go to www.alumni.coe.edu/stakerscoreboard to make your gift.


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Homecoming 2021: Home Sweet Coe!

While we couldn’t celebrate like we wanted to in 2020, we are hopeful for an in-person Homecoming in 2021 — taking place October 21-24. We hope you will make plans to attend your reunion, the Hall of Fame dinner, Homecoming Showcase Concert and a variety of other events while reconnecting with classmates and friends and reliving your favorite Coe traditions.

This year's reunion classes are 2014-2016, 2010-2011, 2000-2002, 1994-1996, 1989-1991, 1980-1981 and 1970-1971.

Be sure to watch your mailbox for your official Homecoming invitation later this summer.


Upcoming Alumni Events

April 15 — Coe vs. Cornell Virtual Trivia Night — Join fellow Kohawks on Thursday, April 15, from 7:00-8:30 PM CDT for a virtual rival trivia challenge against Cornell College alumni. Fly solo or create a team for this night of fun!