Generous Donors

Graham Center Gift, Vermeer

Melinda Vermeer Papadeas, Nancy Vermeer, Michael Vermeer and Luann Vermeer De Haan stand with their mother Bernice ’50 at the dedication ceremony of the Harry and Bernice Vermeer Banquet Hall.

In honor of alumni and friends of Central College, three gathering spaces on campus have been officially dedicated to celebrate significant contributions to the college.

Sutphen Common Room           

The Dave ’61 and Ardie ’64 Sutphen Common Room, the meeting room in the Graham Annex, was named in May. Ardie served the college as the assistant to the president for the majority of her 33 years at Central, retiring last August. Dave began working at Central in 2000 and retired as the vice president of advancement in April, but continues as a part-time consultant

With support from the numerous faculty and staff present for the surprise announcement, President Mark Putnam thanked the Sutphens for their dedication to the college.

“What we are celebrating is an important legacy,” Putnam said. “Dave and Ardie are people who define an era and they are people who are uniquely Central College.”


Vermeer Banquet Hall

The newly renovated Graham Conference Center has been the center of community events, hosting countless dinners, conferences, speakers and weddings. The banquet hall is now named the Harry and Bernice ’50 Vermeer Banquet Hall.

Bernice attended Calvin College for one year before coming to Central to finish her two-year teaching degree. She taught for two years and then joined her husband at his military base in Alabama. Harry served in the Army for two years during the Korean War, then returned to Pella to join his brother Gary at Vermeer Manufacturing, which Gary founded in 1948. Harry was part-owner of the internationally successful company until he passed away in 2006.

Harry and Bernice contributed a significant gift to Central toward the banquet hall renovation. Bernice continues to cherish her family, which consists of her four children and their spouses, her nine grandchildren and their spouses, and her six great-grandchildren. Bernice enjoys concerts, plays and other community activities.


Brunsting Fireside Lounge

In honor of long-time communication faculty member Bette Brunsting ‘56the Graham Hall fireside lounge has been named the Brunsting Fireside Lounge.

Brunsting followed two sisters to Central, Evelyn Kuyk ’47 and Joyce Vander Well ’50. She graduated with a degree in speech theatre and later earned a master’s degree from Northwestern University (Ill.) before returning to Central as the dean of women in 1964. Three years later, Brunsting joined the communication department and worked at Central for 34 years.

“With this naming, we celebrate a very special Central alumna and Brunsting family member,” said Central president Mark Putnam. “Central was fortunate to have Bette continue the Brunsting family tradition of attending Central College. Much like she was an inspiration to her students, she is one to the Central family. Central is a special place and it’s alumni and faculty like Bette who make it great.”

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