Making the Turn

“The combination of academics, values and activities, along with allowing me to be closer to home made Central the best place for me. Looking back now, I know it was the right decision.”

— Cole McGriff ’24 

Hometown: Grinnell, Iowa
Major: Philosophy
Minor: History
Campus Activities: Mock Trial, Student Senate, Football, Golf
Career Goal: Take a gap year and then go to law school.

Cole McGriff ’24 has found his sweet spot here at Central College. From bombing tee shots on the golf course to learning from some of the brightest minds in the classroom, he’ll tell you there’s no need for a mulligan when it comes to enjoying his college experience.

Growing up in Grinnell, Iowa, McGriff fell in love with the game of golf at an early age.

“I grew up playing every single day in the summer,” he says. “From there, I just developed a love for the game.”

At Central, McGriff has been able to continue to grow in his passion for golf as a member of the men’s team, while also leaving plenty of time for academics and other activities.

“I’ve learned a lot of time management skills,” he says. “And here at Central, as part of the golf team, I get to not only grow as a person but also as an athlete.”

However, his journey to Central wasn’t a straight shot. McGriff had originally committed to attending school in Kentucky.

“Early on in looking at different schools I really thought I wanted something out of state and further away from home,” he says. “I committed to going to a school in Kentucky, but after a week or so of further reflection on that decision I decided what was best for me was choosing somewhere closer to home.”

And Central fit McGriff’s eye perfectly.

“The combination of academics, values and activities, along with allowing me to be closer to home made Central the best place for me,” he says. “Looking back now, I know it was the right decision.”

A big part of the Central experience is residential living. McGriff has enjoyed the school-life balance that is promoted through life on campus.

“I’m so close to everything, so I can walk to class or to the library, pretty much anywhere,” he says. “Residential living at Central allows you to have an active life, where you’re out working hard, but also having fun.”

McGriff has also been able to lean into his faith on and off campus. He’s involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and serves as a youth leader for middle school students at one of the local churches.

“On Wednesday nights I get to spend about two hours with middle school students, helping them grow deeper in their faith,” he says. “It’s been such a positive experience. I’ve been able to make some really strong connections and it is really fun to see them grow in their faith as well.”

As a philosophy major, one of the ways McGriff sees Central standing out is through the relationships he has been able to have with his professors. “All of my professors have been very supportive and positive,” he says. “I love the way they teach. And with being on the golf team, there are times I’ve had to miss class. But my professors are always keeping me on track and making sure I’m not falling behind.”

At Central, McGriff has embraced the joy in learning. Nothing says this more than how he approaches finals week.

“Finals week can be stressful, but the professors work with you and give you what you need to study,” he says. “Coming in, I was approaching finals with a mindset of just being done once they were over. But now, finals are like a celebration of learning. You get to think back and reflect on all that you have learned over the course of the semester. I’ve found that I have a huge sense of pride and gratitude for all that I have learned from all of my professors.”

For McGriff, the value of a Central education extends far beyond the classroom as well. And no matter where life takes him, whatever the course, he knows that his time at Central will continue to guide him in his approach.

“Central creates an environment where you can grow in a positive way,” he says. “Central has helped me in developing who I am as a loving and caring individual. I’m becoming a better person — knowing once I leave here, I’ll be able to be a better and more positive member of society.”


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