E-News - November 2, 2020

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

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David Hayes & Dave McInally

Coe College announces interim president

Vice President for Advancement and Professor of Business Administration and Economics David Hayes will serve as interim president of Coe College. On January 1, 2021, Hayes will begin serving in this role, and current president Dave McInally will become chancellor to ensure continuity prior to McInally’s retirement in June.

“We are very fortunate to have someone with David Hayes’ deep Coe roots, strong community connections and considerable experience as a faculty member and senior administrator to serve Coe during this time of change,” said Board of Trustees Chair Ken Golder ’82.

Hayes graduated magna cum laude from Coe College in 1993. He earned a Juris Doctor with high distinction and master's degree in international and comparative law from the University of Iowa College of Law. He began his professional career as an attorney with the Shuttleworth & Ingersoll law firm, working there from 1996-2001. He returned to Coe in 2001 as director of gift planning and an adjunct professor before joining the faculty full time. While working as a full-time professor, he also served as legal advisor to the president. Prior to transitioning to the role of vice president in 2014, he directed Coe’s pre-law and environmental studies programs, led courses at Coe’s Wilderness Field Station, was twice named the recipient of the Charles J. Lynch Outstanding Teacher Award and held the Louis J. & Ella Pochobradsky chair.

As vice president for advancement, Hayes led the fundraising efforts for a number of important campaigns including development of the Learning Commons to repurpose the library to facilitate student success, an athletic growth initiative and several campus beautification projects. Under Hayes’ leadership, Coe’s average annual fundraising has increased by nearly 40% over the last five years. In addition, he directed the Make Your Move Campaign, securing nearly $15 million of external support to enable a renovation and expansion of the college’s humanities building, Hickok Hall, and athletic and recreational facilities. He has been an important campus partner for a number of sustainability initiatives including a solar installation, green roof and award-winning water management program.

Due in part to Hayes’ leadership in the development of the C3: Creativity, Careers, Community center, engagement between Coe and the Cedar Rapids community is at an all-time high. As a result of this innovative approach to external stakeholder engagement, Coe has been recognized nationally as one of The Princeton Review’s Top 25 Best Schools for Internships in the nation three years in a row.

“I am honored to continue serving my alma mater alongside my faculty and staff peers. Together with Dave McInally, I am eager to build on the momentum Coe has experienced during his tenure,” Hayes said.

Since taking office in 2013, McInally has generated significant improvements across all areas including the college’s largest and most diverse enrollments in history, numerous enhancements to programs and facilities, a powerful emphasis on community engagement and local partnerships, a significant increase in annual fundraising and strong leadership in the areas of strategic planning and financial management.

A national search process for Coe’s next president will resume as soon as public health conditions allow for a safe and full search to be conducted.


Students plant 120 donated trees across campus

Coe’s campus hasn’t looked the same since the August 10 derecho that destroyed over 200 trees and damaged 28 buildings and many outdoor spaces and athletic facilities. But thanks to some generous alumni and friends, as well as many dedicated students, campus is starting to come alive again.

On October 21 and 22, over 100 students braved rain, wind and chilly fall temperatures to plant 120 trees that were gifted to the college.

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We extend special thanks to Paul Bachman ’73 and Bachman's Nursery, Clark McLeod ’68 and the Planting Forward initiative, Living Lands and Waters, Cargill and the city’s ReLeaf Cedar Rapids program for providing these trees. We also thank the many generous donors who have supported the Storm Relief Fund and the Coe Fund over the last several months. Among them are several Greek life alumni groups who challenged each other to bring in gifts, including Delta Delta Delta, Sigma Nu and Lambda Chi Alpha. Nearly $20,000 has been raised through fraternity and sorority challenges.

While putting these new trees in the ground was a big step forward in restoring campus to its former glory, there is still much work to be done. Those who would like to support Coe's campus restoration efforts financially can do so at www.alumni.coe.edu/stormrelief.


Maddye Cavanagh Drive Donations
Maddye Cavanagh ’21

Coe Greek life organizes storm relief donation drive

After witnessing the devastation of the August 10 derecho, Cedar Rapids native Maddye Cavanagh ’21 wanted to help her hometown and college town recover. As the Coe College Panhellenic Council Vice President of Philanthropy, Cavanagh organized a storm relief donation drive for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cedar Rapids and East Central Iowa.

“I’ve grown up here my whole life so it was really hard to see all this stuff,” Cavanagh said. “I am in a Facebook group that was helping with storm relief, and I asked what organizations needed help. Someone from Big Brothers Big Sisters reached out to me.”

With the support of the Panhellenic Council and Coe’s four National Panhellenic Council (NPC) sororities, Cavanagh created an all-campus donation drive. Students collected nonperishable food items, hygiene products, laundry detergent, cleaning supplies and gas gift cards. Big Brothers Big Sisters will be passing out these donations to families affected by the storm and in need of assistance.

“It’s hard, even for students who aren’t from Cedar Rapids,” Cavanagh said. “I think people are just wanting to help the community they call a second home. To have so many people reach out and ask about donating felt really nice to know we’re all giving back to the community. I also think that is a big part of Greek life that often gets overlooked, but it’s a big part of who we are.”

Coe sororities and fraternities complete an average of 5,000 service hours and raise over $25,000 for charity every academic year.


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Joe Demarest

Engaging students on and off campus for success

Joe Demarest and his role as director of community and civic engagement at Coe College is a match made in...upstate New York with a soccer ball nearby. Trading the soccer field for Coe’s nest, Demarest is living his dream after joining Coe’s C3: Creativity, Careers, Community center four years ago as an internship specialist.

“It was a journey for me to realize what made me happy. I remembered the happiest I’d ever been was working as a coach and counselor at a soccer camp in New York. It opened my eyes that I get the most satisfaction when I help others reach their goals. I got more pride watching my players become successful than I did over my own successes,” he said.

Demarest looked to higher education as the perfect opportunity to utilize more than 15 years of human resources experience to coach students. As part of the C3 team, he guides Kohawks through the internship application process from resume to cover letter writing and directs community and civic engagement programming.

“When students reach out and say ‘I got that internship I wanted’ or ‘I finally registered to vote,' that makes my day. I want students to achieve their dreams. I work with them to identify what needs to get done to make it a reality,” he said.

An important process for Demarest is getting students out in the community. Demarest collaborates with CoeVotes, a student-run and student-led organization focused on voter education and registration. Together, they encourage and facilitate student participation in local, state and presidential elections.

“I love that we have a group educating their peers. I think it’s important for students to hear from each other as opposed to just me. The students in CoeVotes make a huge difference in educating others on why voting matters and why it’s important,” he said.

Demarest also oversees hands-on community work with agency service agreements between Coe and local nonprofit organizations. The main focus is off-campus federal work-study opportunities for students to work several hours a week at a local nonprofit, or they can participate in the Campus Compact AmeriCorps Program and complete 300 hours of service to earn an educational stipend.

“These AmeriCorps positions have more responsibilities than on-campus work-study. This is career development through a lens of civic engagement. Students gain skills that are important to have in the workforce like how to interact in an office environment, and it’s also a great way for them to experience life outside college,” he said.

Demarest calls these opportunities resume builders. His experience in human resources reviewing thousands of resumes and applications from new college graduates highlights how important it is for students to show they’ve worked and engaged in the community. Students are encouraged to participate in research projects and attend conferences, showing they are both academically accomplished and involved outside of the classroom, which makes a difference with employers.

“I can edit a student resume and they’ll say, ‘Wow, that looks great,’ and I say, ‘You did these things. You accomplished these things. While I've helped with the formatting and presentation of your resume and how to best highlight the work you’ve done and skills you possess, the focus is really on you and your accomplishments,’” he said.

Through service and civic engagement, students become responsible citizens while they learn new skills. Demarest takes great pride in helping students access these resources and most importantly advising how they can use this experience to develop a career path that leads to success and happiness.


Sean Donaldson
Sean Donaldson ’17

Donaldson redefines the definition of education

For as long as Sean Donaldson ’17 can remember, he knew he didn't want to work in a cubicle. “I love telling stories and history so I pursued teaching while I was at Coe College. Along the way I fell in love with the idea of museums and public history,” he said.

His professor, mentor and advisor, Dr. Brie Swenson Arnold, was a pivotal influence for Donaldson’s career path. It all started with her invitation to have Donaldson join her in a research project about African American civil war veterans who settled in Iowa.

“It was very impactful and enlightening. I had an interest in African American history, but this research project really drove it home for me. Through this project we spent time working with the African American Museum of Iowa. I realized there were other ways I could use my teaching and history skills. I wanted to know how I could explore that more,” he said.

Dr. Swenson Arnold encouraged him to intern at the museum, which led to a part-time position after graduating from Coe and student teaching. Today, he’s working as the museum educator at the African American Museum of Iowa overseeing the creation and execution of all programming and education, as well as using his experience to help guide Coe students interning at the museum.

With Coe’s wide range of classes and course flexibility, Donaldson customized his studies to fit his interests. Ultimately, the jazz musician was able to combine his two worlds with a course in African American history.

“The greatest thing for me was being able to study what I cared about at Coe. One assignment in the African American History course was to write about local African American history. I wrote about the jazz program at Coe. I was fascinated by the big names who performed here like Louis Armstrong. It was a cool element to make a local and personal connection to history versus reading a textbook,” he said.

But Coe wasn’t all work and no play for Donaldson. He had the opportunity to participate in an archeological dig in Greece, perform across Eastern Europe with the band, meet his partner and serve as vice president of the student body for two years. He even had the opportunity to run two Flunk Days through his Student Senate leadership role, which happens to be his favorite Coe tradition.

“Coe is a really special place. It has so many opportunities. It’s unique. It’s a small campus that allows close connections to not only other students but faculty. You get to know them. The relationships and easy connections make Coe an exciting place to be,” he said.


A decade of Coe football highlights

Even though this year’s Kohawk football season is postponed, we can still get into the game day spirit. Take a look at some of the greatest gridiron moments from the last decade.


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Save the Date: Giving Tuesday is December 1!

Whether you give your time through volunteering, make a financial gift or use the power of your voice in your local community, #GivingTuesday is a day to unite, celebrate and give back.

Coe is proud to participate in #GivingTuesday again this year. On December 1, we ask you to support the college in our efforts to ensure our students are safe during the pandemic and aid us in campus restoration from the August derecho.

Busy on December 1? Make your gift early and it will count on Giving Tuesday.

Due to the economic impact of the pandemic and the suffering many are experiencing in the aftermath of natural disasters, we understand that supporting Coe financially at this time may not be possible. Thank you for your support, however you are able to give.


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Planning forward in times of uncertainty

These are challenging times for all of us, and earlier this year some new tax changes went into effect that may be relevant to you in your current situation. We appreciate all you do for Coe, so please let us know how we can be of help to you and your family. If you have questions or want more information, please contact the Advancement Office at 319.399.8555 or visit our planned giving website here.