Coe College President David McInally announces plan to retire

David McInally
David McInally

This weekend David McInally announced his decision to retire as president of Coe College after the 2020-2021 academic year. Dave took office as the 15th president of Coe College on July 1, 2013. 

“Serving as Coe's president has been the greatest privilege of my professional life. My wife, Janice, and I love Coe with all of our hearts and will miss being part of the daily life of our campus. However, we do plan to stay in Iowa and look forward to continuing to be part of the Coe community,” Dave said. “Coe is strong and growing, and we are in an excellent position to recruit our next president.” 

“While we would have liked for Dave to continue working at Coe in this capacity for a longer period of time, we are grateful for the years we had and appreciate Dave and Janice’s service to Coe. We wish them well,” Coe Board of Trustees Chairman Ken Golder ’82 said.

During his tenure, Dave launched efforts to increase Coe's enrollment, improve student success rates, enhance facilities and elevate the college's visibility and connections within the region and beyond. Along with introducing the Make Your Move Campaign in fall 2015 — which initiated the largest building projects in Coe’s history — Dave was instrumental in creating the college's current five-year strategic plan, A Bolder Coe.
Under Dave’s leadership, Coe welcomed the seven largest incoming classes and full-time enrollments in its history. Improved retention rates, reduced endowment spending and enhancements to campus infrastructure also are attributed to Dave’s presidency.
The 2015 strategic plan introduced the Learning Commons, a holistic learning environment providing academic support and guidance to help Kohawks get the most out of their Coe experience. It also paved the way for the creation of the C3: Creativity, Careers and Community center. C3 connects current students with alumni, business partners, internships and career opportunities. C3 has been a catalyst for Coe’s inclusion in The Princeton Review’s Top 25 Best Schools for Internships in the Nation for the last three years.  
Completion of the Make Your Move Campaign enhanced academic space for Kohawks and put Coe on the map with one of the best athletic and wrestling facilities in the region. In fall 2019, expanded athletic opportunities were announced including a clay target team, women’s bowling, women’s triathlon, archery, esports, men’s bowling and men’s triathlon. 
With Dave at the helm, Coe has seen more than $40 million in campus renovations. The campus has been transformed into an Urban Field Station through a variety of sustainability initiatives including energy reduction, renewable energy generation, water management, organic landscaping, installation of the green roof on Gage Memorial Union, rain gardens throughout campus and solar panels on Clark Racquet Center. 
In addition to enrolling the most diverse incoming classes over the past seven years, Dave’s focus on diversity and inclusion initiatives resulted in the 2016 dedication of the James Randall Intercultural Center, Reflection Room and LGBTQIA+ Resource Center. 
During Dave’s time as president, the college also introduced a new logo and marketing campaign, “Coe makes it possible. You make it happen.”

“Dave’s strong leadership has generated significant improvements across all areas, and thankfully, he will be leaving us with great positive momentum as we start the search for Coe’s next president,” Golder said. The Coe Board of Trustees will move quickly to identify a search consultant, appoint a representative search committee including faculty, staff and students, and begin working with campus on the leadership transition.


During Dave’s tenure at Coe College, both he and his wife have forged deep bonds with the Coe and Cedar Rapids communities. They enjoy giving of their time and energy to several community organizations and professional associations. They are both active members at First Presbyterian Church of Cedar Rapids where Janice also serves on the session and multiple committees. In addition to their commitment to First Presbyterian Church, they each are dedicated to serving in other capacities. 

Dave has served on the board at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Willis Dady Emergency Shelter, Diversity Focus, Revival Theatre Company, Onward Bank, Iowa College Foundation, Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and Iowa Campus Compact. In 2016, he was elected to a two-year term as board chairman of Iowa Campus Compact, a statewide association of college and university presidents who are committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education. He currently serves as a member of the national Campus Compact board of directors. 

Janice has served on the boards at the Alzheimer’s Association chair and Waypoint as well as several other clubs and community associations. 

A first-generation college student and National Merit Award winner, Dave earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and a Master of Arts degree in English language and literature, both from the University of Akron. He received his Doctor of Education degree from the University of Pittsburgh in administrative and policy studies. Prior to his time at Coe, Dave served as the assistant dean of students, dean of students, secretary of the college and vice president for finance and planning at Allegheny College, beginning in 1986. 
Coe College offers superb academics and exciting co-curricular activities in a thriving urban setting that promotes student growth and success. Established in 1851, Coe has a national reputation for academic excellence enhanced by a student-centered, highly supportive campus environment. Coe’s vibrant Cedar Rapids location provides an abundance of internships for students and career opportunities for graduates.

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