E-News - July 16, 2021

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

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Dave and Janice McInally

McInally becomes president emeritus of Coe College

Coe’s 15th President Dave McInally became president emeritus and life trustee of the college when he officially retired from Coe on June 30. Dave transitioned from his role as president at the end of 2020 and served Coe as chancellor until the end of June.

In a message to Coe’s Board of Trustees, Board Chair Ken Golder ’82 thanked Dave and former Coe First Lady Janice McInally for all they have done for Coe. “We will be forever grateful for their positive impact on every corner of Coe and for raising our expectations and uplifting our spirits. Dave is leaving Coe in a very strong place and has ensured our future success,” Golder said.

Congratulations, Dave and Janice!


Peters retires after 40 years as Coe Athletics equipment manager

On June 30, longtime Kohawk equipment manager Dougie Peters ’81 announced his retirement after 40 years on the job. He is looking forward to having more time to play pinball, eat steaks and visit with neighborhood friends. Congratulations, Dougie! Thank you for everything you have done for Coe!

If you would like to send a note to Dougie, leave a comment on this video on the Coe College Athletics Facebook page.


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Michael Geneser ’06 and
Rachel Rayman

New director of alumni engagement, annual fund director join Office of Advancement

Coe recently welcomed Michael Geneser ’06 as director of alumni engagement and Rachel Rayman as annual fund director in the Office of Advancement.

Geneser majored in business administration at Coe, participated in Collage and Concert Choir, played on the golf team and served as a tour guide for the Office of Admission. After graduation, he moved to Chicago for an internship with the Chicago Bulls and lived in the city for seven years. He later earned his master’s degree in college student development from DePaul University in 2013. He returned to Iowa and worked at the University of Iowa for five years and most recently spent two years as the director of alumni engagement at Cornell College.

Geneser lives in North Liberty with his wife, fellow Coe alumna Sheila Farrey Geneser ’07, and their two children, Lincoln and Ruth.

“As a Coe alumnus, I am so excited to return to a place that is so special. Being in a position to engage and support our alumni is an incredible opportunity, and I look forward to meeting fellow Kohawks as I get settled back into campus,” Geneser said.

Connect with Geneser via email at mgeneser@coe.edu or by phone at 319.399.8663.

Rayman began working in nonprofit fundraising, marketing, public relations and event management in 2005. She helped run a medical association housed in a medical school in Parker, Colorado, for seven years. She moved to Iowa in 2013 and earned her degree in marketing and organizational leadership from St. Ambrose University in 2018. Prior to joining the Coe Office of Advancement, she worked for Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity.

Rayman loves to cook, exercise and play music. She lives in Cedar Rapids with her partner, Will Bartachek, and three children, Alex, Lucas and Allyson.

“I am honored to become part of the impressive culture here at Coe, and I’m excited to hit the ground running!” Rayman said.

Connect with Rayman via email at rrayman@coe.edu or by phone at 319.399.8569.


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Joan Lipsky

Remembering an influential Kohawk who shattered glass ceilings and paved the way for opportunities

Coe College attracts those who are bold, passionate and engaged, even if they don’t find their way to campus until later in life. Joan Lipsky is a prime example of someone who had the qualities of a Kohawk well before becoming a member of the Coe community.

Joan joined the Kohawk family at the age of 63 in 1982. She was a member of the Coe Board of Trustees and later was elected the first female chair of the board in 1997. Her position as chairperson, though, was just one of many firsts in her life — as her journey to Coe started decades earlier.

Joan earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Northwestern University in 1940. She completed graduate studies in child psychology at the University of Iowa and became the first psychology intern at the University of Chicago hospitals. Later, while Joan worked as a clinical psychologist in Cedar Rapids, she noticed a gap in women elected into leadership positions. With the support of a coalition of women’s groups, Joan joined the Cedar Rapids Community School District Board of Education. Her interest in politics grew, and her talent caught the attention of a Republican Party official who encouraged her to run for a seat in the state Legislature election of 1966.

It “sounded like a great challenge,” Joan is recalled to have said.

She followed their advice and was the first woman elected to represent Linn County in the Iowa General Assembly.

Her work as a state representative focused on advancing women’s legal, economic and social equality. She influenced the Equal Rights Amendment and supported educational and occupational programs for women including reforming women’s prisons in Iowa, providing leaves of absence for pregnant women and condemning sex discrimination in insurance coverage. She juggled state representative duties while serving as the assistant minority leader of the Iowa General Assembly and as a member of the Midwest Conference of State Legislators. She was named Cedar Rapids Woman of the Year and was awarded outstanding legislator by the Iowa Welfare Association.

She also garnered the attention of Coalition Organized for Equality, a Coe-based women’s rights organization at the time. The group invited Joan to speak on campus for Women’s Awareness Week in 1975. The Coe Cosmos featured Joan’s visit and her belief that women’s week should be women’s year.

“In government as in private employment women seldom get top jobs. The fact is that women do not move up in government administration as they should. Even in programs designed to help women, we get short changed. Not through ill will, but through traditional attitudes towards women,” she is quoted in the article.

She was destined to return to Coe as a leader with an invitation to the board from President Leo Nussbaum and a unanimous vote from the Board of Trustees.

In her official capacity as a board chair, her support for the college was unwavering. She provided strong leadership with the expansion of campus including Hickok Hall lecture room renovations and Peterson Hall of Science renovations. She made gifts to support Stewart Memorial Library, Friends of Music at Coe and the Art Department. Her generous financial support of the college established the Joan and Abbott Lipsky Chair in Political Science and the Lipsky Graduate Application Fund for Coe students applying for admission to graduate programs. At the time Joan said, “Supporting education is the most satisfying thing you can do as an individual to enhance life for everyone.” Joan herself went back to college at the University of Iowa law school where she met current board member Kent Herink ’76.

“Joan was 61 years old at the time! She impressed everyone with her intelligence, advocacy skills and keen interest in justice. On the Coe Board of Trustees, not a meeting went by without Joan bringing up diversity and inclusion. Her tireless efforts on these issues laid the foundation for the board’s new committee on diversity, equity and inclusion. She would be very proud,” he said.

She practiced law at Shuttleworth & Ingersoll in Cedar Rapids after graduating with a Juris Doctor from the University of Iowa in 1980. Joan was an active member of the Cedar Rapids community and held various leadership roles in the Mayor's Commission on Housing, Mayor’s Commission on Alcoholism, Employment Security Advisory Council, Cedar Rapids Women’s Club, American Association of University Women, Altrusa, Delta Kappa Gamma, Hadassah, Sisterhood of Temple Judah and the Cedar Rapids chapter of the National Organization for Women.

In 2014, Joan served as Commencement speaker and received an honorary doctorate from Coe. She died on August 18, 2015. Joan’s legacy continues to thrive through the thousands of Iowa students attending private colleges in the state. She is credited with the creation of the Iowa Tuition Grant program. It remains an essential resource to many Iowa students who attend Coe and other private colleges.

Joan’s path to social justice and gender equality first led her to Coe for Women’s Awareness Week in 1975, but she was meant to be a Kohawk all along.


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.


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Homecoming 2021: Home Sweet Coe!

Coe College will celebrate Homecoming October 21-24 with the theme "Home Sweet Coe!"

Since alumni, friends and community members could not gather on campus last year, Homecoming 2021 promises to be an especially memorable weekend filled with activities and fun.

Among the featured events are the All-Alumni Celebration and Silent Auction, as well as the Coe College Award Recognition Program. The annual Homecoming Showcase Concert will be held, as well as athletic contests, including Kohawk football versus Luther.

Reunion celebrations will include those from the classes of 1970-1971, 1980-1981, 1989-1991, 1994-1996, 2000-2002, 2010-2011 and 2014-2016. There also will be a Phi Kappa Tau 100+1 Anniversary Celebration and a Lambda Chi Alpha 75th Anniversary Celebration.

Go to www.alumni.coe.edu/homecoming21 for more information and watch your mailbox for your official Homecoming invitation later this summer.


New data science major begins this fall

A new interdisciplinary data science major begins this fall on campus, which is a forward-thinking step for Coe as less than one-third of colleges in Iowa offer a similar degree. With data permeating nearly every aspect of our daily lives, there is a wealth of opportunities for graduates in the field to create world-changing innovations at a rapid pace. Check out this video for a glimpse at what Coe students can expect from the data science program.


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MyKeisha Wells ’22

Coe student receives U.S. Department of State Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship to study in Turkey

With the sweet smell of fresh-baked bread clinging to the hot summer air, MyKeisha Wells ’22 and her mom tearfully embraced. Away from any customer’s view, they gently swayed from side to side for a moment. They were working in a bakery when Wells learned she would be trading Coe’s campus for the bustling streets of Istanbul as a recipient of the prestigious U.S. Department of State Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.

“There was a lot of excitement and joy that overcame me when I found out because I worked really hard. I realized everything I do in my life is driven from wanting to just be there for other people through tough times,” she said.

Wells will be studying in Turkey this fall. Coe’s robust study abroad program, which features 22 exchange programs and more than 40 off-campus study opportunities around the world, spiked her interest as a first-year student. Although 40% of Kohawks study off campus during their time at Coe, Wells didn’t think she would be able to until Associate Professor of German and Director of Off-Campus Study John Chaimov introduced her to the Gilman Scholarship.

The scholarship program supports underrepresented students. It was created in 2001 to honor late Congressman Benjamin A. Gilman and promote the cultural exchange of ideas gained from studying abroad. The U.S. Department of State funds a $5,000 award for each recipient.

“Dr. Chaimov said it’s really competitive, which scared me, and he encouraged me to apply. I liked that their target populations are students who come from backgrounds like me and who look like me,” she said.

The rising senior decided to approach the application process in a way that made her feel the most comfortable — she simply told her story.

For Wells, a Gilman Scholarship will enable her to step outside of the Midwest for the first time. The first-generation student wants to study abroad to enhance her cultural awareness with aspirations to serve a diverse community as a counselor. Her own experiences volunteering for a youth mentorship program through 4-H revealed the need for providers of color with emphasis on the Black community.

“In the Black community, we don’t talk about mental health very much. This is a really big thing that has encouraged me to want to be a counselor. I’m a psychology and social criminal justice major. I have been learning and discussing what multicultural competency and cultural humility is going to look like in my field. I want to put this into action,” Wells said.

“I think it's important to actually put yourself in a place where you're going to be really uncomfortable because it’s a language and culture different from your own. The main thing for me is to learn from others and what their experiences mean to them because as a counselor I'm going to be working with so many different populations,” she added.

Wells specifically chose Turkey because of the community-centered culture.

“They're really big on community and connection, and I felt like I was going to feel safe and secure. I’m a member of the Black community, and we’re also really connected. We use terms like we and we're all about family and culture, and they're also all about those things,” Wells said.

An equally important reason for studying in Turkey is to attend Altinbas University in Istanbul. The school’s psychology program is ranked as a leading institution in the field. Wells will be taking courses in social and cognitive psychology, and fulfilling her last sociology minor requirement with a history of Turkey class. She is looking forward to getting involved in extracurricular activities, volunteering in the community and sightseeing.

“I'm just really excited to go, explore and learn,” she said.

Wells’ ultimate goal is to attend graduate school. She aims to work with domestic violence and sexual assault survivors. Naturally, Wells’ passion for helping people doesn’t stop with counseling. She wants the focus of her scholarship follow-on service project to be in support of Coe students who may feel study abroad is out of reach.

Wells will be leading a Gilman Scholarship information session with Coe’s TRIO Academic Achievement Program, an educational assistance team supporting underrepresented students on campus.

“I want to let them know there are opportunities and resources if they want to study abroad. I’m going to talk about my time in Turkey and go over the Gilman process. Essentially, I want to encourage them that studying abroad is possible, and they can also apply for the scholarship,” she said. “I’m pretty sure it’s going to be life-changing. I’m going to come back and see things from new perspectives and have a whole new outlook on the experiences I have. I think it’s really beautiful to encourage someone else to go and have those same experiences wherever they decide to go.”

Because Wells’ fall term in Istanbul is set to end after Christmas, Assistant Professor of Psychology Scout Kelly, one of Wells’ favorite professors, currently is helping her prepare for graduate school applications to apply to in the fall.

“I'm going to be eternally grateful for this scholarship opportunity,” she said.

Wells’ only regret is not filming her reaction to receiving the news with her mom.


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Kent Herron

Herron invites alumni to Aspen

Kent Herron encourages alumni to join him March 13-16, 2022, for a grand reunion of a half century of Coe College skiing in Aspen! Doc has been skiing with his students in Aspen since 1972 and is excited about the opportunity to gather with them again since the pandemic delayed plans for a reunion.

Details and registration will be available in the coming months at www.alumni.coe.edu/events.


Princeton Review rankings highlight real opportunities for Coe students

Coe earned two rankings in the prestigious Princeton Review list of best colleges this spring. The college jumped six spots to #10 nationally for Best Schools for Internships, private college category, and earned its first ranking for Best Alumni Network, private college category at #20.

While these are enviable bragging points, they also reflect an arduous effort by faculty and staff to provide Coe students with meaningful advantages in kick-starting their careers. Learn more about those advantages in this video.


Dining on campus can be pretty sweet!

Not every college and university makes fresh-baked goods from scratch in campus kitchens, but Coe does. Learn a little more about the process in this video and why the extra effort goes a long way. And if you make it back to campus for Homecoming, be sure to dine at The U and try some of these delicious treats for yourself!