Central has been the beneficiary of several gifts from generous donors over the past several months. Thanks to these donors, Central has been able to update facilities, work more efficiently and use grants for student initiatives.
The Vermeer Charitable Foundation
To support Central’s renowned commitment to a global community on campus, the Vermeer Charitable Foundation awarded a $500,000 grant to support the international student initiative.
With the five-year pledge, Central will begin work on the international student initiative, an element of the academic strategic plan. It will enable the college to recruit more international students, enhance the infrastructure of support for international students and create a campus community that is more international in character as well as composition.
“The Vermeer Charitable Foundation is one of our most treasured partners and we are extremely grateful to the foundation and the families for this transformative gift,” says Mark Putnam, president. “Their support lifts our capacity to recruit international students, which is a key element of the broader framework of our international student initiative as defined in our academic strategic plan. We look forward to extending our partnership with Vermeer Corporation and exploring additional opportunities that emerge from the generosity and momentum represented by this pledge.”
Central is a nationally recognized leader in study abroad, sending more than 10,000 students from over 400 American colleges on its semester, year-long and summer programs since 1965.
PPI Daktronics Scoreboard
Thanks to a significant gift from PPI (Precision Pulley & Idler, Inc.) of Pella, a new Daktronics video display scoreboard was installed at the Central Ron and Joyce Schipper Stadium in September. The scoreboard measures 27 feet wide by 35 feet, 6 inches tall, including a video display board that’s 21 feet, 7 inches wide and 12 feet tall. The video display is the largest in the Iowa Conference. It was installed on the north end of Schipper Stadium. Aside from use during football games, the video board can be synched with automatic timing systems and display placewinners and times at track and field meets. The scoreboard was first used during homecoming weekend Sept. 28.
“This will create a much improved overall game- day experience for both student-athletes and fans,” says athletics director Eric Van Kley. “We greatly appreciate our partnership with PPI, which made this happen. It’s part of our overall initiatives to continue facility enhancement, which is important not only for our student-athletes but for recruiting as well. This underscores the commitment we are making to our program. It builds on the Central tradition and increases our ability to compete at a national level moving forward.”
Central’s football and track and field programs are cornerstones of the Dutch athletics tradition. The football squad owns a record 30 Iowa Conference titles with 20 NCAA Division III playoff appearances and no losing seasons since 1960.
The Dutch men’s track and field squad has posted 13 top-20 NCAA team finishes, with 15 league outdoor
crowns, including four since 2009. The women have seven national top-20 team finishes, including one NCAA team championship, with five league titles.
An improved FieldTurf surface was also installed this summer.
“I like what we have to offer now with our facilities and our field.” says football coach Jeff McMartin. “We’ve got some great things going on and this puts us in a good place.”
Athletics Seating Projects
The soccer and baseball fields at Central College’s A.N. Kuyper Athletics Complex are getting a facelift with new seating projects underway at both facilities.
The Hillside Seating Project at the soccer field will transform the east side of the playing field, just west of the complex parking lot. About 100 permanent aluminum bucket seats will be installed along with grass and limestone tiers which will allow lawn chair and blanket-style seating. The project is slated for completion in late fall.
Fundraising continues for a future construction phase which will provide for a spectator plaza with a concession stand, covered seating, field lighting and restrooms. Cost for the entire project is estimated at $1.2 million.
“I want to thank the administration as well as the parents and alumni who have already contributed,” says men’s soccer coach Garry Laidlaw. “We’re very fortunate to have one of the best soccer fields around and this puts a topper on a fantastic existing facility.”
Meanwhile at the Dutch baseball field, the Step Up to the Plate Project has kicked off with the construction of new dugouts. Backstop netting is being installed and the old dugouts have been demolished.
New dugouts will be ready for the spring season for the Dutch, who captured the 2012 Iowa Conference championship. Construction will also include stadium seating behind home plate. The project cost for this phase is estimated at $157,000.
“These are donor-initiated and supported projects,” says athletics director Eric Van Kley. “No college funds are being used. We are extremely grateful to have donors who are so committed to serving our student-athletes.”
Both projects have a seat naming opportunity. For $1,000, permanent seats can be engraved as gifts in honor of players, family members or coaches. Fundraising is continuing and giving information for both projects is available at www.central.edu/alumni/ways-to-give/where- to-give.
John Deere Facilities Equipment
Thanks to support and generosity from John Deere and Central College board of trustee member Jim Israel, President of the Worldwide Financial Services Division of Deere & Company, John Deere has donated new equipment to the facilities planning and management team.
John Deere has provided a ProGator and front mount mower and attachments. The generosity of John Deere has provided essential upgrades to the facilities planning and management fleet as well as enhanced the work of the facilities staff members.
“We could not be more grateful to John Deere for this generous gift,” says Bill Northup, vice president for advancement. “Our grounds needs are like those of any sizable college campus, many and wide-ranging. So it is essential that we have the best possible equipment to get the job done, and we feel very fortunate to have the quality of John Deere to help keep our campus looking its best.”