On May 8, Coe recognized the achievements of the class of 2022 in the annual graduation ceremony. Degrees were conferred for Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Music, and Bachelor of Science in Nursing on the Stewart Memorial Library Quad.
This year’s student speaker, Harper Folsom '22, shared a message of togetherness with her classmates, saying, “We learned how to be Kohawks regardless of the majors we studied or the activities we participated in…we learned to be kind to ourselves and others. These are the things we celebrate today - dedication, resilience, patience, integrity and countless other qualities I see in the graduates around me.”
In addition to the conferral of degrees, awards were presented to an outstanding faculty member and a member of the Coe community for their dedication and service to the college. The C.J. Lynch Outstanding Teaching Award, as voted on by students, was presented to Associate Professor of Biology and Biology Department Chair Cassy Cozine. And recognized for more than 25 years of service to Coe and its students, the Eliza Hickok Kessler Outstanding Service Award was presented to Director of Physical Plant Lisa Ciha.
Dr. Jane O. Ebot-Bish, senior advisor at the Center for Government Excellence at the Johns Hopkins University Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, addressed Kohawk graduates as Coe College’s 2022 Commencement speaker.
Dr. Ebot-Bish, Coe Class of 2008, is a sociologist and demographer who sharpened her expertise by examining how social determinants impact health and mortality in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. In her current role with the Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Ebot-Bish collaborates with global city leaders to strengthen cities’ data systems and practices with the end goal being to create equitable and sustainable solutions to challenges and barriers of city residents.
Prior to joining the Center for Government Excellence, Dr. Ebot-Bish was an assistant faculty member at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health where she led monitoring and evaluation activities in over 100 international cities for The Challenge Initiative at the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health. Dr. Ebot-Bish was a technical advisor for the United States Agency for International Development, where she supported the implementation of family planning and reproductive health and education projects in more than 10 countries as part of the UN Sustainability Development Agenda to End Preventable Child and Maternal Deaths.
Dr. Ebot-Bish earned her master’s and doctorate degrees in sociology with a specialization in demography from The University of Texas at Austin. She holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology, religion, and philosophy from Coe.
“I know for a fact I wouldn't be where I am now if I hadn't had a core group of mentors and professors at Coe who saw me for me — who saw my experiences as an immigrant Black woman as meaningful enough to coach me through my failures and celebrate with me during my spectacular successes,” Dr. Ebot-Bish said.
In her Commencement address, Dr. Ebot-Bish called to mind the challenges the senior class has faced head-on during their time at Coe and also openly shared what she knows about the world Coe graduates are about to enter.
“As Commencement approaches, I am feeling a tremendous amount of grace. Coe was my home for four spectacular years and was the platform from which I learned to say ‘yes’ to challenging experiences. I've worked with midwives in Agra, mayors in Tanzania and sat on a very special team of data scientists that brought you that little thing known as the Johns Hopkins University COVID Dashboard. Coming back to Coe is my way of thanking everyone for coaching me to achieve my dreams,” Ebot-Bish said.
We need you to keep up the momentum of #KohawkDay
Let’s keep our energy going! Kohawks came through and united like never before on Coe’s 8th Annual Day of Giving. Thanks to our #KohawkDay investors, we had the most successful day to date raising over $745,000 in gifts and pledges for Coe!
Our Board of Trustees created huge momentum for this day by donating early money for our engaging challenges and giving additional gifts on the day to our Annual Fund.
Then, you all responded and made an impressive impact that is felt across the entire campus. You are providing important scholarships and financial aid, and the ability for our campus to provide students the transformative experiences that help set them up for success.
We need your help to keep this power going and raise even more funds for our students before June 30.
- Missed #KohawkDay? No problem - you can make a gift today!
- To continue to affect change and help write our future stories, consider becoming a monthly investor
- Help us continue to reach your fellow classmates = share your own story about why you give
Need assistance or have questions? Contact Rachel Cohen, annual fund director, at 319.399.8569 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. If you haven’t already done so, we hope you will visit our #KohawkDay website to see more about our record-breaking results.
Coe named a best school for Internships for the fifth consecutive year; alumni network recognized for a second consecutive year
Coe College remains the only college or university — public or private — in Iowa to make both the Best Schools for Internships and Best Alumni Network lists by The Princeton Review. Across all private colleges and universities in the country, Coe is the #10 Best School for Internships and has the #20 Best Alumni Network. The 2022 rankings were released April 26 as part of The Princeton Review’s Best Value Colleges.
This is the fifth year in a row that Coe has been nationally ranked for internship opportunities, and Coe is one of only five private colleges nationwide to be ranked for internships in each of the last five years.
Only 209 colleges in total were recognized by The Princeton Review for meeting its best value criteria, placing Coe in the top 7% of four-year undergraduate colleges and universities in the country.
This annual review names the public and private colleges that have earned the highest return on investment rating—a score the company tallies using more than 40 data points including academic offerings, cost/financial aid, career placement services, graduation rates, and student debt as well as alumni salary levels and job satisfaction.
In its profile, The Princeton Review cites Coe students who laud the college’s academics, emphasis on experience, faculty support and community.
“These recognitions are a result of a campus wide effort,” said Coe President David Hayes ’93. “They reflect an arduous effort by faculty, staff and alumni to connect our students with people, organizations and resources on campus and throughout the Corridor. That’s truly one of the defining points of Coe — an education that invites real world experience into the learning environment.”
Much of Coe’s achievements in connecting students to internships and alumni can be attributed to the vision and development of the C3: Creativity, Careers and Community center. The on-campus resource assists students with career exploration, networking, interviewing, application critique and identifying volunteer opportunities.
Coe guarantees each student access to an internship, research or off-campus study before graduation. The Cedar Rapids metro area provides hundreds of internship possibilities, including with Fortune 500 companies, but Coe students also engage with national companies and organizations like Google, Corning, FOX Sports, the Chicago Board of Trade and the United States Senate. The valuable hands-on experience and networking opportunities are just two reasons why nearly 100% of Coe graduates are either employed, in grad school or engaging in service within nine months of graduation.
Scholarly work featured at Student Research Symposium
On April 12, the annual Student Research Symposium provided students a chance to showcase research they have been conducting throughout the year, whether independently or as a part of a student and faculty team.
This year’s keynote speaker at the symposium was Katherine P. Blanchard '10, assistant director of professional services at the Smithsonian Science Education Center. In this role, she leads educational initiatives across the United States and around the world. Katherine works with teachers, schools, districts and communities to build support for science and STEM education that intersects with social issues and sustainable development (STEM4SD). She also directs the Network for Emergent Socio-Scientific Thinking (NESST), where she gets to engage her passion for connecting with others who are engaging students and professionals across geographic borders, disciplines, and generations. During her nine years at the Smithsonian, Katherine has led professional development workshops, leadership institutes, and has worked on the development of new initiatives including the Smithsonian Science for Global Goals project.
While at Coe, Blanchard majored in theatre arts and political science. During her time at Coe, she worked in the Writing Center, and participated in CESAW, the Coe Alliance, and Offstage Players. She participated in a May Term in Serbia, a summer course at the Wilderness Field Station, New York Term, and the ACM India Studies program in Pune, India. After graduating from Coe, she completed a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Belgrade, Serbia, and worked in theatre production in both Serbia and her home state of New Mexico. In 2016, she completed a master's degree in International Education from The George Washington University.
Chantel Olufsen named new vice president for advancement
After an extensive national search, Coe College President David Hayes '93 has appointed Chantel Olufsen as the new vice president for advancement. In this role, Olufsen will be responsible for development efforts and alumni relations for the college. She is the first female vice president for advancement at Coe College. The position was previously held by Hayes prior to being named president.
A native of Northeast Iowa, Olufsen has spent her career as a leader across education with deep experience in advancement, communications and marketing as well as admission. She is committed to serving mission-aligned organizations while building sustaining relationships and creating opportunities and access for all individuals. Currently serving as the Chief Advancement Officer of the Awty International School in Houston, Texas, her portfolio includes oversight of both fundraising and admission. Through Olufsen's leadership, her teams produced $50 million in revenue annually, increased annual fund revenue by 56 percent and launched the school's most successful capital campaign to date. She holds a Master of Education from the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse and a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science from Luther College.
“I am confident that Chantel will have a substantial impact on the Coe experience, serving as a wonderful partner with colleagues, alumni, parents and friends of the college," said Hayes. “As a product of a liberal arts institution, Chantel's knowledge and appreciation of Coe's academic mission and culture as well as her strong communication skills and impressive track record of fundraising success, prepare her well to serve the college. I am delighted she will be part of the Coe team at this time of great opportunity.”
Olufsen said she is thrilled to join the team at Coe College and noted the deep care and universal passion each individual expressed when talking about Coe during the interview process.
"From the moment I arrived on campus, I witnessed Coe's mission statement in action. I am excited to partner with President Hayes, and the team, to build on the solid foundation they have created in the Office of Advancement and C3: Creativity, Careers, Community. I can't wait to help construct the next successful chapter at Coe and to become part of the Kohawk family," Olufsen said.
The William S. Carson Band Tour Endowment was recently established through the generosity of Joe Lilly '99, and his wife Kim.
“Giving back to Coe by creating or participating in an endowment is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. After conversations with my wife, we decided that a fund designed to advance Dr. Carson’s tour work is the best way for us to not only support Coe, but also to say thank you to Dr. Carson for everything he has done to benefit so many Coe music alums.”
To further honor Alma A. Turechek Professor of Music and Director of Bands Bill Carson, the Lillys hope their gift inspires others to give. We invite you to participate in their matching challenge. The Carson Band Tour Endowment provides much-needed support for band trips by helping reduce the cost of the trip for students or enhance the tour itinerary.
Please consider donating to help double the impact of the Lilly’s gift, and give Coe students a unique opportunity to tour and perform. You can make your gift online at alumni.coe.edu/bandtour.
The 2022 Physics Reunion will take place June 23-26 on Coe’s campus and you are invited to attend. Physics alumni near and far will gather at Coe to reconnect with former classmates and faculty and hear about the newest happenings in the Coe Physics Department. There will be opportunities to interact with current Coe physics students and take part in panel discussions about the newest and most exciting developments in the world of physics. See more information and register here.
On the road again with President Hayes
Since his appointment as Coe’s 16th president, President Hayes has been visiting alumni all around the United States to share updates about Coe and his vision for the college moving forward. He has enjoyed getting to once again gather with Kohawks and is looking forward to more events in the coming months. Plans are underway for upcoming events in Denver, Boston, Chicago, Washington D.C. and more. Be on the lookout for more information as it becomes available and sign up to visit with President Hayes when he’s in your area.
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