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Central College (Iowa)

Central College
Former names
Central University of Iowa
Established 1853 (1853)
Type Private liberal arts college
Affiliation Reformed Church in America
Endowment US$63.1 million
President Mark Putnam
Academic staff
89 full-time faculty members, 91% Ph.D.
Students 1,650
Location Pella, Iowa, USA
Campus Urban 130 acres (53 ha)
Colors Red and White
Athletics NCAA Division IIIIIAC
Sports 17 varsity teams
Nickname Dutch
Affiliations CIC

Central College is a four-year private liberal arts college located in Pella, Iowa, and affiliated with the Reformed Church in America and NCAA Division III athletics. The College was founded in 1853 and has been fully accredited by the North Central Association since 1942.[5] Central has a student body of approximately 1,400 undergraduates and 73 academic programs.[6][7] The College is noted for its picturesque campus and strong study abroad programs.[8]


  • History 1
  • Campus 2
    • Major buildings 2.1
  • Academics 3
  • Athletics 4
  • Student Life 5
  • Notable alumni 6
  • Notes 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


Central College's oldest building, Jordan Hall

The Baptist Convention of Iowa founded Central University of Iowa in 1853 and it officially opened on October 8, 1854. The first class totaled 37 people. Central was a Baptist institution until 1916, when it was transferred to the control of the Reformed Church in America. Since 1886, Iowa Baptists had shifted their post-secondary education interests to Des Moines College, and hoped to reduce Central to a feeder school.[1][9][10]

The college was called Central University of Iowa (CUI), at least until 1991.[4] It renamed itself "Central College" in 1994.[11]

It is home to local radio station 89.1 KCUI-FM.

Central has a history of interesting architectural features. The first buildings of the new college in 1853 are Dutch Colonial and part of what was recently known as Strawtown Inn. The first dormitory, Cotton Hall, is noted for its ornate Victorian porch and stained glass windows. Building innovation continues with the addition of "green" buildings.[12]


Central College’s 130-acre campus is a few blocks from Pella’s downtown square, two minutes from Iowa’s largest lake and 40 minutes from Des Moines. Central is a residential campus where students can live in dormitories, townhouses, and apartment style "green pods."

The college’s emphasis on sustainability has led to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) ratings from the U.S. Green Building Council. The Vermeer Science Center was Iowa’s first LEED-rated building, and Howard McKee Hall received the first gold rating in the state. The newest building, Roe Center, received a platinum rating.[13]

Major buildings

Maytag Student Center—During the summer of 2014, the student center underwent a $3.1 million renovation to Maytag Student Center made possible by the Fred Maytag Family foundation. The renovations include a new workout facility, a new Student Activity Center and additional Fred’s dining area.

The Roe Center—Named after Central’s 20th president, Dr. David H. Roe, was completed in the fall of 2009. The $17 million facility houses the education, psychology and communication departments, as well as Community-Based Learning. Central was awarded a platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) for the design of the Roe Center. The facility features environmentally friendly building practices and an energy efficient building design, such as a green roof, natural ventilating system, radiant floor heating/cooling system and daylight harvesting systems.

Vermeer Science Center—Underwent a $20 million renovation in 2003, and was the first building in the state of Iowa and the first science building in the nation to be recognized as a green building by the U.S. Green Building Council. It was subsequently given a silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating. The mathematics, computer science, physics, biology and chemistry departments are located in this building. Vermeer features many study spaces and quiet tables located outside the professors’ offices are to encourage student/faculty interaction.

Weller Center for Business and International Studies—Built in 1999, it was Central’s first step in green building featuring natural light, solar panels and carpet out of recycled materials in every room. It contains the business, foreign language and international studies departments.

Central Market—Central's main dining facility. It is designed to resemble a European marketplace.

Geisler Library—Holds nearly a quarter of a million resources including books, magazines, newspapers, music, reference periodicals, microfilm, historical information and art.

Kuyper Athletic Complex—The Ron and Joyce Schipper Stadium received new Fieldturf in the summer of 2013. The field is surrounded by a 400-meter BSS 1000 polyurethane track which also house dual runways for jumping events and a two-way pole vault pit. The H.S. Kuyper Fieldshouse houses a 200-meter track and five tennis courts. The surface is Mondotrack, which is the same surface used in the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing.


Central offers 73 academic programs and pre-professional advising, including the college’s newest major, engineering. The 14 pre-professional programs include medicine, law, nursing and pharmacy. Academic programs include: accounting, athletic training, biology, communication studies, computer science, education, music, natural science, physics and languages.[14] 85 percent of faculty have a PhD or terminal degree. The average class size is 18 students and the student to faculty ratio is 12-1.

About 50 percent of Central students study abroad at some point. Central offers year-round programs around the world. Summer programs are also available in many locations.


Central College playing football against Simpson College on October 9, 2010.

Central has 19 sports programs and competes in the IIAC of the NCAA. Sports include: football, wrestling, volleyball, softball, baseball; men’s and women’s golf, track, soccer, basketball and tennis. Cheerleading, dance team and intramural sports are also offered.[15]

Highlights of Central athletics programs include:

  • The football team has not had a losing season since 1960.
  • The softball team has 25 Division III tournament berths and 13 finals appearances. They were national champions in 2003.
  • The volleyball team has three national titles—1998, 1999 and 2000.
  • The track and field team combined has 35 individual championships. The men’s program has 15 individual championships, with seven in the multi-event category.

Central College's athletic teams include:[16]

Student Life

Central has over 100 clubs and activities for students to get involved with on campus. Students are also given the opportunity to create their own club and have it officially recognized by the college.

Clubs and Organizations Include intramural sports, mock trial, non-national Greek life, Campus Ministries, and more.

There are honorary organizations for theatre, chemistry, mathematics, art, music, history, political science, psychology, English and biology.

There are also 18 music ensembles available for participation on campus including a cappella choir, steel drum ensemble, pep band, jazz band, woodwind ensemble, community chorus and chamber singers.

Notable alumni


  1. ^ a b Mak, Christine; Thostenson, Josephine E. Patrick Roland, ed. "Central College celebrates its Sesquicentennial: 1853-2003". Central College. Retrieved 1 June 2011. 
  2. ^ "Fast facts - Admission - Central College". Central College (Iowa). Retrieved 31 May 2011. 
  3. ^ "Central College School Facilities - Pella, Iowa - Undergraduate Search at".  
  4. ^ a b Uhlig, Mark A. (April 7, 1991). "Mexico's Leader to Defend Trade Pact in U.S.".  
  5. ^ "Higher Learning Commission". Retrieved 2015-06-02. 
  6. ^ "Central College | Central College Pella | Best College | US News". Retrieved 2015-06-02. 
  7. ^ "Central College". Retrieved 2015-06-02. 
  8. ^ "Central College". Iowa Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. 2011. Retrieved 31 May 2011. Complete an internship, study abroad, sing in the choir, play on a national championship athletic Central you can do it all. Founded in 1853, Central College is a private, liberal arts institution affiliated with the Reformed Church in America. Central is located in Pella Iowa, a town of about 10,000, and only forty miles from Des Moines. 
  9. ^ Mak, Christine; Thostenson, Josephine E. "Central College celebrates its Sesquicentennial: 1853-2003 (2nd page)". Central College. Retrieved 1 June 2011. 
  10. ^ van der Zee, Jacob (2003) [1912]. "XXXIV CENTRAL UNIVERSITY OF IOWA". Hollanders of Iowa.  
  11. ^ The Chronicle of higher education almanac. 44-46.   Original from the University of Michigan, Digitized Aug 17, 2010
  12. ^ "Making the varsity green team" (Fee, via   Gale Document Number: GALE|A195980732
  13. ^ "Central College - Global Sustainability". Central College. Retrieved 2015-06-02. 
  14. ^ "Central College - Majors". Central College. Retrieved 2015-06-02. 
  15. ^ Information, Central. "Athletics - Central College". Retrieved 2015-06-02. 
  16. ^ Athletics
  17. ^ NCAA Division III Records
  18. ^ "Brooke Bouma". Retrieved 2015-06-02. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Where Are They Now? Central College's Tom Koos". Retrieved 2015-06-02. 
  21. ^ "#360 Central College -".  


  • Clarkson, Anna Howell (1903) [1899]. "XVI Central College - Forty-sixth Year". A beautiful life and its associations (2nd output, autograph ed.).  

External links

  • Official website
  • Athletics website

Jack Lindine, Actor

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