E-News - September 4, 2020

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

A photo of the damage on campus from the Derecho

Midwest derecho impacts Coe College

On August 10, Coe’s campus sustained substantial damage in a severe and unexpected hurricane-strength windstorm known as a derecho that impacted Cedar Rapids and much of the region.

The derecho hit at a time when some new and returning Coe students had already moved in, and others were due to move in throughout the week. Thankfully, no students, faculty or staff were injured by the event, and despite the adverse conditions of the storm’s aftermath, Coe staff assured all students received the support, food and resources they needed.

The storm caused property losses and cleanup costs of approximately $2.25 million, with damage to 28 campus buildings and many outdoor areas and structures including athletic spaces, patios and campus lighting. Over 200 trees were blown down or had to be cut down due to damage, and many more required trimming and care to be salvaged.

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Coe’s physical plant staff worked tirelessly to clean up debris and make repairs, and they had help from many volunteers. A group of more than 100 students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of Coe took part in Charlie’s Campus Cleanup on August 14. They spent the day picking up debris and trash and moving tree limbs to the edges of campus for removal. Several athletic teams also have helped with cleanup efforts, and other members of the Coe community have stopped by to lend a hand over the last few weeks.

The city of Cedar Rapids was hit especially hard by the storm, and many Kohawks have been volunteering in the community to help those in need. Coe’s Office of Community Engagement coordinated with local organizations to provide information about how and where to volunteer. Over 100 students, faculty and staff have been assisting with debris cleanup and providing hot meals and other outreach in neighborhoods throughout the city. As recovery efforts progress, Coe will continue to find opportunities for Kohawks to give back and provide help to the people of Cedar Rapids.

For those who would like to support Coe financially as we work on campus landscape restoration, a derecho storm relief fund has been established. Your gifts will help fund repairs to buildings and structures as well as the planting of new trees and other landscape recovery efforts. Gifts can be made online at www.alumni.coe.edu/stormrelief or mailed to:

Coe College Storm Relief Fund
Coe College Office of Advancement
1220 First Ave. NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402

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Coe College breaks enrollment records for eighth year in a row

Over the past eight years, Coe College has welcomed the largest classes in the history of the college. As the fall term began, Coe welcomed the largest domestic first-year class ever. In addition, we welcomed the second largest first-year class ever.

“Despite the challenges of the current public health crisis and the extensive damage sustained as a result of the August 10 derecho that swept through Iowa, we remain focused on our mission of providing access and affordability to students who want to pursue a nationally ranked education,” said Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Josh Kite.

“This year we are welcoming a dynamic incoming class. Students hail from 20 states and eight countries with more than 55% coming to Coe from outside the state of Iowa. This class is also one of the most diverse in Coe’s history with nearly 27% coming from underrepresented backgrounds. In addition, 40% of incoming class members identify as first-generation college students,” added Kite.

The last few years have proven to be a highly competitive market in higher education, and the last six months have been no exception. Coe is bucking the trend by providing academic excellence at an affordable price. The school's superior academics continue to attract high school graduates ranking at the top of their class. And 99% of all Coe students receive financial aid, more often than not, making it more affordable than a state school.

Coe College ranks as the best school for internships in Iowa and number 16 nationally out of more than 4,000 colleges and universities (The Princeton Review). “Our location and alumni network allow students to have a unique college experience. The internship and research opportunities available to students offer real-world application to what they learn in the classroom,” said Vice President for Enrollment Julie Kleis Staker ’93.

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Protecting his investment by investing in Coe students

Like many Kohawk alumni, Trè Cotton ’16 loved his four years at Coe. And as a business administration and public relations major who now works as a financial institution specialist for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), he sees the value in protecting his investments. That’s why he’s been a loyal donor to Coe ever since his senior year.

As a student, Cotton was known as someone who was involved in almost everything. He was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, was on the Student Activities Committee (SAC), worked in the Admission Office, helped fundraise for the college as a Phonathon caller and served as a resident assistant, among many other activities. He also took part in once-in-a-lifetime experiences such as a May Term in Italy. “I still don’t know how I managed it all, but I would do it all again,” Cotton said.

Cotton began supporting Coe by giving to his senior class gift campaign in 2016, and he continues to donate to the annual fund each year on #KohawkDay or through Phonathon. He also gives his time and talents to the college as one of the newest members of the Alumni Council.

Cotton treasures the lifelong relationships he built at Coe and stays in contact with many of the friends, faculty and staff he got to know while on campus. His path since graduation has led him in directions he never expected to go, and thanks to his Coe experience, he feels prepared for anything. He also recognizes that when Coe thrives, he and his fellow alumni thrive as well. “Giving back is so important because the value of your degree increases based on what programs and opportunities the college can provide to all students,” he said.

Through his giving, Cotton strives to help Coe preserve its outstanding legacy and reputation that attracts students from around the world. When he was choosing a college, Cotton was drawn to Coe’s inclusive and welcoming environment, and he is proud to help make that same environment available to future students now that he is an alumnus. “Whether it be starting a new club, studying abroad or having access to improved facilities, I hope my gifts will give other students the opportunity to take advantage of all that Coe has to offer,” he said.

To join Cotton in providing future students with their own valuable Coe experiences, click here to make a gift.

Thursday Forum

Coe College announces 2020-2021 Thursday Forum virtual lecture topics

Coe College is proud to provide the Cedar Rapids community with over 30 years of Thursday Forum. The lecture series is an open invitation for older adults interested in learning from Coe’s elite faculty.
Due to ongoing public health concerns, the 2020-2021 Thursday Forum will be offered in a virtual online format. The online forums will be free of charge with an optional contribution to support the program. The 2020-2021 Thursday Forum lecture series includes:

  • September: Apocalypticism — Joseph E. McCabe Associate Professor of Religion Meira Kensky will examine apocalyptic literature in Judaism and Christianity. This will study how times of oppression, injustice or instability relate to apocalyptic groups across history.
  • October: The 1918 Influenza Pandemic — Associate Professor of History Bethany Keenan will cross analyze the current public health crisis with an overview of the 1918 Spanish Influenza pandemic. The presentation will look into the social and cultural factors that went into the evolution and treatment of the disease and end with a review of the current pandemic in Cedar Rapids.
  • November: Thunder Gods and Flood Stories: A Universal Approach to Mythology? — Associate Professor of History Angela Ziskowski will explore the social meaning behind myths, stories and legends that have withstood the test of time. The primary focus will be on ancient Greek and Roman myths but will touch on Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Norse and Native American myths.
  • February: Scenic Long-Distance Hikes in the United Kingdom — Emeritus Professor of Biology Floyd Sandford will take individuals on a virtual journey through the most stunning and popular landscapes of Scotland and England. The sessions also will cover the historical background of these destinations including the impact of the English Civil War on Cotswold Villages.
  • March: What’s in Your Water? Water Quality in Iowa (and Beyond) — Ben Peterson Professor of Chemistry Marty St. Clair will dive into water quality in Iowa and the history of water technology and regulation in the United States. Discussions will include the impact of pollutants on human health and the environment.

In-person Thursday Forums will resume when it is safe to do so in subsequent seasons.
An optional contribution of any amount can be made at any time at www.alumni.coe.edu/thursdayforum or by mail to Coe College Advancement Services, 1220 1st Ave. NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402 (please make out checks to “Coe College” and indicate “Thursday Forum” in the memo line).
For more information visit www.coe.edu/thursday-forum.

A photo of the Coe College cement and brick sign

Creating a brighter future

Transforming the future of Coe College and our students begins with the Heritage Club. The Heritage Club recognizes those who have committed to the long-term future of the college through their estate plans or other planned gifts. When you make a legacy gift to Coe, you have the satisfaction of knowing you contributed to the continued excellence of the college and made an impact on the lives of our students. For more information and a copy of our Heritage Club brochure, visit our website here.

Upcoming Alumni Events

September 17 — Constitution Day from your Couch — Celebrate Constitution Day 2020 with three Coe College faculty reflecting on the U.S. Constitution and answering your questions. William P. and Gayle S. Whipple Associate Professor of History Brie Swenson Arnold will discuss the historical context of the framing of the Constitution, including the Articles of Confederation and Shays' Rebellion. Professor of Political Science Bruce Nesmith will talk about the behavioral assumptions behind the system of checks and balances and why it might not work as intended. Attorney at law and Assistant Professor of Business Administration Josh Christensen will talk about contemporary applications of the First Amendment right to freedom of speech in the 2017 U.S. Supreme Court case of Matal v. Tam.