Annual Report

For the academic year ended June 30, 2023

Dear Friends of our Central College Community,

I’m pleased to provide you with Central College’s 2022-2023 academic year successes and financial report. The collaboration, creativity and innovative work happening on campus in classrooms, on athletics teams and fields of play and in the communities where we live and work is astonishing.

The stories we share continue the narrative of a servitude culture that has been passed on decade after decade after decade. As I celebrate my 13th year at Central, I focus on our mission and that everything we have at Central is an inheritance of our predecessors. Our work now will be for our successors — future generations of innovators and change-makers.

Mark Putnam



The year’s accomplishments took us both into and out of this world.

NASA astronaut Raja Chari and his wife, Holly Schaffter Chari ’99 joined students on campus to talk about his time aboard the International Space Station. Holly enlightened students and community members as she explained what it is like to live with an astronaut. Students in our ABET-certified engineering program attended classes with Raja, who delved into the physics and engineering side of aeronautics.

In 2022, students began exploring the world again after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted. Central students discovered culture, language and world views in Germany, Spain, Costa Rica, the United Kingdom and France.

Central continues to demonstrate the importance of service with special recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, creating a day focused solely on a shared vision for justice by students and the community. The student body, faculty and staff hosted workshops, completed service projects and engaged with guest speaker Bettina Judd, associate professor of gender, women and sexuality studies at the University of Washington. MLK Day is one of the many opportunities for Central students to develop hearts of service to others. Coordinated through Central’s Career Development and Civic Engagement Office, more than 90% of students participated in service projects, internships, off-campus experiences or research.



Central added new degree options with the Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry and chemistry. We added data science tracks to mathematics and computer science major options, and business analytics tracks were added to the business management and secondary education majors.

Focusing on other additions to the campus, Central added women’s wrestling to the official list of NCAA Division III sports that joins the 20 other student-athlete programs.

Much momentum for our athletics programs is partnered with the strength and conditioning program, which earned recognition as the first college in Iowa accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Strength and Conditioning Programs. In 2023, the program also earned accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs upon the recommendation of the Committee on Accreditation of the Exercise Sciences.


Living our values

The Board of Trustees has and continues to dig deep into the strategic plan that will prepare the college and students for the future.

In 2022-23, all incoming students received a Journey Scholarship. This lift to making a college education affordable is possible through the generosity and compassion of Central donors. They pay it forward to future generations. With financial support from donors, Central intends to continue giving all incoming students a Journey Scholarship and continue the scholarship in their four years.

The Central heart of servitude is best demonstrated by service-learning opportunities.

An impressive 334 Central students volunteered 4,832 hours of their time in the communities served. The value of a volunteer hour according to Independent Sector is $31.80. That equals $153,657 given to area nonprofits, charities and schools by Central students.

Our annual Service Day 2022 had a record-breaking 701 participants giving 2,227 hours.


Welcomed Leadership

Joseph Vande Kieft ’99 was appointed as the new chief information officer. He oversees the Information Technology Services department.

Jill Anderson joined Central as the new chief talent, equity and engagement officer, and directs the core functions of hiring, onboarding, benefits and overall employee well-being.

Karmen Ten Napel, vice president for student development and dean of students, joined the leadership team.



Central’s family of faculty, staff, students and alumni received so many recognitions throughout the year. They have published books, presented at industry and academic conferences, earned awards and led new programs. Central’s news page lists them. Here are a few highlights.



Central is one of five Iowa institutions collaborating on a $20 million National Science Foundation EPSCoR grant. Jay Wackerly, associate professor of chemistry, is Central’s principal investigator. This grant brought half a million dollars in funding for student and faculty research.

The Upward Bound program, led by Pre-college Trio Director Kristin Lewis, housed at Central received $992,000 in funding from the U.S. Department of Education. Funds help income-eligible students, who would be the first members of their families to earn degrees, prepare for and enroll in college.

Kristi Leonard ’97 received a lifetime achievement for wellness award from the National Wellness Institute.

Central College’s Jennifer Diers, associate professor and director of the education program, and Sarah Van Waardhuizen, associate professor of music, were awarded Lilly Faculty Fellowships.

Andrew Green, professor of political science, was appointed as director of institutional research.

Keith Jones, Mark and Kay De Cook Endowed Chair in Character and Leadership Development and professor of psychology, received the 2023 Midwest Psychological Association Excellence in Mentoring Award.

The Mathematical Association of America selected Russell Goodman, professor of mathematics, to serve as a board member.

Óscar Reynaga, senior lecturer of Spanish and dean of the Class of 2023, was selected for the Chicago Semester’s Summer 2023 Scholar-in-Residence Program.

Terence Kleven, professor of religion, was awarded a Fulbright extension to remain in Amman, Jordan, and research Arabic political philosophy.



From building shelters for refugees to becoming CEOs and special education teachers, Central’s alumni continue to amaze and astound with their achievements. You’ll find many of their achievements on the In the News webpage.

Blaine Hawkins ’22 won the NCAA Top Ten Award — the top award the NCAA gives in Division III, combining athletics, academics and service. It was presented at the NCAA Convention in San Antonio in January.

The estate of Henry Van Leeuwen ’50 bequeathed nearly $225,000 for endowed scholarships to students.

Harold Kolenbrander ’60 and Judy Gosselink Grooters ’60 decided to establish an endowed scholarship to support the next generation of Central students.



The Central Cheer and Dance teams made program history winning the National Cheer and Dance Championship, Game Day division title, in Daytona Beach, Florida. The team also brought home the American Rivers Conference title.

Sam Beatty ’23 won the NCAA Division III national title in the men’s high jump in the NCAA indoor meet at Birmingham, Alabama.

Men’s 2022-23 basketball team captured its 18th conference championship in February.

Women’s 2022-23 golf team won Central’s 11th American Rivers Conference title in fall 2022 and ranked 22nd in the NCAA Div. III women’s golf championships in Florida in May.



Central’s 48-Hour Challenge for the Journey Scholarship Fund in 2022 raised $166,787.

The 2022 Giving Tuesday secured $126,437, a new record amount on the global day of giving.

Hoo-Rah Day 2023 generated $360,000 from 420 donors.

Capacities to support future generations of Central alumni depend on endowed scholarships. During the fiscal year, nine new endowed scholarships were established for students. Central offers 312 total endowed scholarships that support Central students.


Giving by sources

Total $5,666,167.29

Total giving to Central from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023: $5,666,167.29

Total donors: 3,864 — a 3% increase over the previous year’s number

$2,743,575 $1,881,382 $1,039,821
Alumni Corporations
Friends, Churches and Non-alumni parents

Scholarship Support

Total $3,201,133

Current endowment/investments value: $82,089,614

$1,722,625 $1,478,508
Endowed Scholarships Journey Scholarship



A strong college works in partnership with a strong community to build momentum for the future. The Pella Area Community and Economic Alliance works collaboratively with Central, the City of Pella, business partners and the Marion County Development to advance the growth and success of the Pella area. In 2022, Marion County witnessed an 11% increase in tourism revenue.

The City of Pella earned recognition as the second safest city in Iowa and #19 on the top 100 best small towns in the United States. Pella’s K-12 education excels in preparing students for college and work. The average ACT score for Pella high school students was 25, exceeding the national average of 21.


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