It’s no secret Central has great alumni. They are working, volunteering and leading around the world, a community more than 20,000-strong. Four alumni award recipients will be honored Saturday, Sept. 23, during Central’s Homecoming celebrations. The award recipients are Richard ’62 and Mary Roorda Glendening ’62, Ammanuel Mehreteab ’70 and Kellie Gorsche Markey ’88.
Visit central.edu/homecoming for a full schedule of homecoming activities.3
Richard ’62 and Mary Roorda Glendening ’62
34 consecutive years of giving toward the betterment of Central
Few people can say they graduated from eighth grade, high school and college with their spouse. But Rich and Mary Glendening shared those milestone moments together and have since seen all four of their children graduate from Central as well. While Rich and Mary first came to Central with differing career aspirations, both pursued a similar path post-graduation – teaching.
The Glendenings are being recognized for their lifelong dedication to advancing Central’s mission in the classroom and within the Pella community. Rich is professor emeritus of economics with Central, and Mary is a retired elementary teacher for the Pella Community School District. They have influenced many generations of students through their passionate and compassionate teaching styles.
Mary had a childhood aspiration to be a creative teacher just like the one she’d had in the fourth grade. She has loved introducing first- and second-graders to the world of reading and creativity.
“It’s been the most fantastic career,” Mary says. “I really enjoy getting kids interested in the world around them. My students had contact with schools in Australia, Mexico, Wales … I could always do this through literature and include people from around the world.”
Rich, on the other hand, says he fell into the teaching career. As a business major who wanted to go into banking, Rich found that he loved studying. Long-time, late Central professor Don Butler suggested to Rich that he go to grad school, and he pursued a different career path in educating on economics.
“The interaction with the students was always invigorating,” Rich says. “I enjoyed the subject matter, my colleagues, the environment… In my years at Central, I think the level of faculty commitment and interest in the student body was very high. I liked the fact that I knew my students.”
The Glendenings spread the Central spirit not only in their professions as educators but through their volunteer work and philanthropy. The couple are members of the Central Red Society, Central Club, Heritage Club and Heritage Roll of Honor. They are active in their community, serving as Central class reunion chairs and in leadership roles on many boards including the Pella Historical Society and Pella Regional Health Center.
The college recognizes their 34 consecutive years of giving toward the betterment of Central. For their influence in the classroom, selfless leadership and giving of their time, talent and treasures to the Central and Pella community, Central College presents Richard and Mary Glendening with a 2017 Alumni Award.
Ammanuel Mehreteab ’70
Continual demonstration of the Central spirit of learning and leadership
Ammanuel Mehreteab has always loved creating challenging goals for himself, which helped him achieve a long, successful career as a researcher and educator. With an engaging personality and a passion for science, Mehreteab was a chemistry major at Central.
A native of Eritrea, in Africa, Mehreteab enrolled at Central at the suggestion of a beloved Peace Corps teacher who lived in the Des Moines area. After graduating, he went on to attend larger universities, but he says he gained confidence during his time in Iowa.
“Central was my home away from home,” Mehreteab says. “It was my first time away from my parents, and the friendly teachers were like family members. Iowa shaped my personality in a positive way.”
Although he focused on his studies and getting the most out of his education, his talents went beyond the classroom. Coach Ron Schipper recognized Mehreteab’s athletic abilities, and after many repeated urgings, Schipper convinced him to join the track and cross country teams. Mehreteab became one of the top runners in track and cross country.
After Central, Mehreteab continued his education in chemistry. He earned a master’s degree and Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and was awarded a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. Afterward he taught chemistry as a visiting professor at Florida Atlantic University and Haverford College.
Mehreteab says, although he enjoyed teaching, he decided to go to industry and work in a basic research setting and thus joined New York-based Colgate-Palmolive Company. Mehreteab served in various capacities within the research department. He has been granted 24 patents and has published 39 scientific articles. Mehreteab steadily rose through the ranks to recently retire as Worldwide Director of Scientific Capability Development/Global Technology.
“I always believed and worked as though the company belonged to me,” Mehreteab says. “Its growth is my growth. Its success is my success. Its failure is my failure. That’s what kept me going. I never entertained the idea of what’s in it for me.
“I treated my work as a challenging game of solving problems,” Mehreteab says. “I like having a goal that’s hard to achieve, like creating or improving products, then making a strategy on how to achieve that goal. I like breaking it into smaller problems to solve.”
Now retired, Mehreteab says he still creates goals for himself.
“I don’t run out of things to do,” Mehreteab says. “I didn’t retire because I was tired. I loved my job but decided not to keep doing it forever so that I can pursue other interests and hobbies.”
Central recognizes Mehreteab with an Alumni Award for his contributions in his respected career field and his continual demonstration of the Central spirit of learning and leadership.
Kellie Gorsche Markey ’88
Selfless compassion to help others who need rescued and her leadership in the community
Kellie Markey pursued communications and international studies during her time at Central, which led to her career as a marketing professional and ultimately vice president at eBay. But after years of strenuous travel and long hours, Markey decided to reassess and move from San Francisco to her hometown of Des Moines.
“I had some of the most memorable times of my life at Central,” Markey says. “When I was younger I wasn’t philanthropic and I didn’t volunteer, but my experience there gave me so many opportunities. The international studies program and urban studies program really gave me the opportunity to succeed in the career I wanted.”
When she returned to Des Moines, Markey began volunteering as a way to connect with the community while she figured out her next career move. What she didn’t know was that her volunteerism would change her life and lead her down an entirely new path.
“I was working with teen girls and was shocked by the nature and severity of abuse I was seeing and it didn’t seem okay to me,” Markey says. “It led me to be a foster parent.”
As a foster parent, Markey realized that average people don’t have the resources necessary to affect change for kids who have undergone severe trauma experiences.
She was also flipping houses as a living at the time, and she says she tripped over two properties that gave her a greater vision for the problem.
In October 2014, Markey founded and opened Dorothy’s House, a program that is creating a safe haven for victims of sex trafficking and exploitation. She bought and renovated the two houses and opened the doors to Dorothy’s House in 2016.
“I always knew I wanted to work with teen girls in crisis because I’d been so fortunate in my own life and had so many great experiences,” Markey says. “I thought I had something to give back.”
The homes accommodate up to eight women, and the program supports women over the age of 18 who have had similar trauma profiles. Markey says her big initiative for 2017 is to find the solution to care for girls under the age of 18.
“The earlier we interrupt the cycle of abuse, the better chance they have for recovery and healing,” she says.
Central College recognizes Kellie Gorsche Markey with an Alumni Award for her selfless compassion to help others who need rescued and her leadership in the community.