Around the Pond – Spring 2024

Maggie Fisher Schlerman ’02 working with students

New Major and Two New Minors Launched

Central College now offers a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting in addition to the Bachelor of Arts degree. Maggie Fisher Schlerman ’02, associate professor of accounting, explains that the B.S. in accounting curriculum focuses on preparing students for the certified public accounting exam and meeting the CPA licensure requirements in Iowa. The new B.S. in accounting encompasses theoretical and applied financial accounting topics with courses in auditing and taxes, needed for public accounting.

Additionally, Central students are now able to pursue new minors in data science and social justice studies. The data science minor will prepare students to extract, explore and examine data to solve problems and support a variety of industries, from government and healthcare organizations to Fortune 500 companies and not-for-profit organizations. The new minor in social justice studies seeks to prepare students to apply knowledge and develop skills to make positive changes for minoritized groups.

Central has more than 60 major and minor programs available to students. It continuously evaluates programming to meet the needs of the workforce and society in order to develop programs that make a positive difference in the world.

48-Hour Challenge Raises Over $175,000

The Central College community launched into the new academic year with gifts totaling $175,470 during the 48-Hour Challenge to support the Journey Scholarship Fund. During this concentrated two days of giving, 356 donors contributed to the Journey Scholarship.

The college is grateful to the generous challengers for their incredible support. All gifts up to $50,000 were matched. An additional $25,000 match was offered by challengers after the $100,000 goal was exceeded. Lead donors who funded the matching gifts include Dianne and Arlo Stoltenberg ’60, Verlan ’61 and Norma De Bruin Van Rheenen ’61, Steve De Cook ’65, Robert ’69 and Charlotte Poppen Foreman ’69, Mary Anderson ’78, Michele and Mark VanderLinden ’78, Jeff Oliver ’79, Julie and Mark De Jong ’81, Lance and Judi A. Clauson Vogel ’82, Paul ’83 and Nancy Thies Van Farowe ’86, John ’87 and Julie Pothoven Fisher ’90, Stephen Mc Williams ’96, Dave Kravitz and Anna Swanson ’03, Gene and Carol Williamson and other anonymous donors.

Central students walking on campus

Central College Selected for Iowa Private Transfer Collaborative Grant

Central College joins 16 other Iowa private colleges and universities to participate in a three-year grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations and the Teagle Foundation awarded to the Iowa Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. The $350,000 grant is a part of the foundations’ shared Transfer Pathways to the Liberal Arts initiative.

The grant will fund work across the state aimed at bringing together faculty from community colleges and four-year institutions to ensure the seamless transfer of academic credits and placing a greater emphasis on the retention rate for transfer students from community colleges to four-year institutions.

Two cans of Forever Dutch Lager

Introducing Forever Dutch® Lager

Central released Forever Dutch® Lager at Homecoming weekend. Central was the first private college in Iowa to partner with a local brewery (Gezellig Brewing Co. in Newton, owned by Betsy Duffy and Mindi Vanden Bosch) and a local business partner (Pella Hops Co., owned by BJ Stokesbary) to offer a signature craft beer. Fifteen percent of Forever Dutch Lager sales go toward the Journey Scholarship Fund. This collaborative effort showcases a community coming together to raise funding for scholarships at Central.

Lori Witt receiving endowed chair plaque from President Mark Putnam

Lori Witt Installed as Endowed Chair

Lori Witt, associate professor of history, was installed as the Kenneth J. Weller Distinguished Professor of the Liberal Arts.

Witt has taught at Central since 1998 and was promoted to associate professor in 2008. Most recently, Witt and her students have been doing extensive research and writing the history of Central. As a past recipient of the Hutch Bearce Community-Building and Faculty Leadership Award, Witt was recognized for seeking to build community and interdisciplinary perspectives including her Stonewall riots presentation sponsored by Common Ground and her work with the Pella Historical Society. She has served as History Day District Coordinator for the Historic Highways District for over a decade and on the board of the State Historical Society of Iowa since 2017.

Students working on a project outdoors

Upward Bound Receives John Deere Foundation Grant

Central’s Upward Bound program received a $43,000 grant from the John Deere Foundation. The college’s long-standing Upward Bound program serves students in Des Moines Public Schools who are low-income, potentially first-generation college students who want to attend college. The program supports students to finish high school strong, prepare to be successful in college and secure good-paying jobs.

Kristin Lewis, director for pre-college programs, estimates that this grant, along with the U.S. Department of Education funding, will provide additional STEM-specific services to 190 students. Central’s Upward Bound summer program includes hands-on STEM experiences, STEM components on field trips as well as a mentoring program at John Deere facilities for 11th-grade students.

Student Senate Officers Announced For 2023-2024

Central’s Student Senate seeks to establish an effective and representative government for the students of the college. The senate implements policies that benefit all Central students and strives to encourage collaboration among faculty, administrative staff, student senators and students.

Senators are elected by their peers to bridge a connection among students and administration, faculty, staff and the college’s board of trustees. The senate’s priority is the creation, recognition and financial support of student organizations.

Executive officers for the 2023-24 academic year are as follows:

  • Jenna-Marie Hernandez was elected as Student Senate president. A biochemistry and biology double major and Spanish minor from Slater, Iowa, Hernandez will graduate in 2024.
  • DelTon Alexander of Iowa City, Iowa, is continuing in his role as senate leader for a third year. He is majoring in sociology and is also in the Class of 2024.
  • Cassie Elliott of Cumming, Iowa, is the new parliamentarian. She is a member of the Class of 2026 with a psychology major and English minor.
  • Gunner Hutton of St. Charles, Iowa, is serving his second term as treasurer. Hutton is an art and business management major in the Class of 2025.
  • Mya Ehresman of Huxley, Iowa, Class of 2026 with an undeclared major, assumes the role of secretary.

Student Senators, elected by the students, for 2023-24 can be seen on Central’s website at

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