Tigers Roar into NAIA - PG. 36 President Christine Plunkett - Iowa Wesleyan ...

Tigers Roar into NAIA - PG. 36 President Christine Plunkett - Iowa Wesleyan ...
                         THE CHALLENGES OF

                           PG. 18

                      Tigers Roar
                        into NAIA
                               PG. 36
PG. 4

PG. 12

61     02     21
Tigers Roar into NAIA - PG. 36 President Christine Plunkett - Iowa Wesleyan ...
 Strengthening International Bonds                      4        SCC Partnership

 Forging Meaning ful Partnerships                       6        Growing Forward

 Learning & Community                                  12        Christine Plunkett: An Introduction

 Faith & Service                                       SPECIALS
 Discovery & Action                                    18        Learning in the midst of COVID-19

 Courage & Passion                                     22        “Our Front Porch” Campaign

 Athletics / Hall of Fame                              23        Susan Mosely Grandison Fund

 Class Notes                                           24        Agribusiness & Philanthropy: A
                                                                 Family Affair at Iowa Wesleyan

                                                       48        Valerie Unkrich Retires

    Iowa Wesleyan
    University is a
learning community
 whose passion is to
 educate, empower
and inspire students
 to lead meaningful
  lives and careers.

 VOL           NUM        WINTER

 61            02           21

    ON THE COVER: Eric Bonds, Jr '24. IN THIS SPREAD (left to right): Ryan Hutchison '21, George Chapple '21, Kara Krieger '24, Trinity Nolan '23, Gwyneth Williams '23

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Tigers Roar into NAIA - PG. 36 President Christine Plunkett - Iowa Wesleyan ...
         IN EVERY ISSUE                          Christine Plunkett
         27   Graduate & Professional Studies
                                                 University Provost
         28   Student Success                    Dr. DeWayne Frazier

         32   Academic Innovations               Vice President for
                                                 Enrollment, Marketing, and
         34   Alumni in Action                   Communications
                                                 Meg Richtman

         36   Athletics                          meg.richtman@iw.edu

                                                 Vice President for Student
         49   Class Notes                        Development and Title IX Coordinator
                                                 Dr. Rebecca Beckner

         EVENTS                                  Vice President for
                                                 Advancement and Athletics
         26   2021 Homecoming                    Derek Zander

                                                 Director of Marketing and
                                                 Amanda Rundquist

                                                 CONTRIBUTING WRITERS
                                                 Courtney Carl
                                                 Kendra Hefner
                                                 Jen Koch
                                                 Meg Richtman
                                                 Delaney Van Ness
                                                 Anna Villareal

                                                 Meg Richtman

                                                 LAYOUT & DESIGN
                                                 Jen Koch

                                                 Amy Becker
                                                 Courtney Carl
                                                 Kendra Hefner

                                                TELL US WHAT YOU THINK
                                                     Story ideas? Comments?
                                                     Questions? Corrections?
                                                    We want to hear from you!
                                                    E-mail marketing@iw.edu

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Tigers Roar into NAIA - PG. 36 President Christine Plunkett - Iowa Wesleyan ...

         Soar & Roar
          Iowa Wesleyan University announces alliance
               with Southeastern Community College
    After two years of                                                                                                         presidents, boards of
seeking a partnership,                                                                                                         trustees, and accreditations.
Iowa Wesleyan University                                                                                                       SIHEA will exist as
is proud to announce                                                                                                           a separate non-profit
a collaboration with                                                                                                           organization, with SCC
Southeastern Community                                                                                                         and IW as its founding
College (SCC) with the                                                                                                         members. The organization
formation of the Southeast                                                                                                     will oversee a board of
Iowa Higher Education                                                                                                          six directors, including
Alliance (SIHEA). The                                                                                                          both presidents and two
announcement, made                                                                                                             additional representatives of
in a joint press release                                                                                                       each institution.
on January 12, 2021,                                                                                                               Carefully delineated
was received with great                                                                                                        academic pathways will
excitement by students,                                                                                                        allow students who begin
staff, and faculty at both                                                                                                     their collegiate careers at
institutions and signs of                                                                                                      SCC to transfer seamlessly
support were given from the                                                                                                    to IW to complete
                                    From Left to Right: SCC mascot "Champ" the Blackhawk; Dr. Michael Ash, SCC President;
regional community and state                     Chris Plunkett, IW President; and IW mascot "Wesley" the Tiger.             bachelor’s and master’s
legislators.                                                                                                                 degrees in their chosen
    SIHEA is among the first                       The shape of higher education in                              fields of study. IW and SCC will grant
partnerships between a public and a                years to come is increasingly uncertain,                      transfer scholarships that allow students
private institution in the State of Iowa.          and the national pandemic magnifies                           to complete a four-year degree within
Unlike existing partnerships that focus            that uncertainty. In the face of these                        the same system at an affordable price.
primarily on academic advantages,                  challenges, all institutions must adapt.                      “We’re missing some good students who
SIHEA offers a creative and innovative             This alliance brings two institutions                         choose not to go to college,” stated Dr.
approach to strengthening the region’s             together to create a strong educational                       Michal Ash, SCC President. “We want
economy and providing more options                 system that will serve a wider region.”                       to help make college more affordable
for students. SIHEA plans to invite                     The mission of SIHEA is to increase                      and help students better understand
other educational institutions, regional           educational opportunities through                             the academic and career paths that are
businesses, and community organizations academic pathways, collaborate with                                      available to them.” This partnership
to become involved, enabling the alliance employers to enhance the regional                                      allows students to earn their bachelor’s
to contribute to economic growth within            workforce, and support local business                         degree from a private institution at a
Southeast Iowa. “For Iowa Wesleyan,                development. Although this partnership                        competitive rate with state colleges while
this is really about serving the region,”          will provide the opportunity for                              remaining close to home.
stated Chris Plunkett, Iowa Wesleyan               shared faculty and staff positions, joint                         The alliance hopes to break down
President. “This is an example of how              marketing campaigns, and collaborative                        barriers that students face in reaching
communities in rural regions of the                state and federal grants, each institution                    their educational goals. “Our partnership
country can be strengthened through                will continue to operate independently.                       research showed that thirty percent of
innovative educational partnerships.               IW and SCC will maintain their existing students who enter SCC intend to

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Tigers Roar into NAIA - PG. 36 President Christine Plunkett - Iowa Wesleyan ...

                                                                   “As a
                                                                   graduate of
                                                                   both Southeastern
“We will work diligently to identify the                           Community College and
barriers students face and guide them to the                       Iowa Wesleyan University,
pathways that allow them to reach their goal                       I was pleased to hear the recent announcement
of obtaining a four-year degree.”                                  of a new joint partnership between the two – the
President Chris Plunkett, Iowa Wesleyan University
                                                                   Southeast Iowa Higher Education Alliance.
        pursue a four-year bachelor’s degree; however, only
    half of those students achieve that goal,” Plunkett said.      By creating seamless degree pathways between
    “We will work diligently to identify the barriers students     SCC and IW, this public-private partnership in
    face and guide them to the pathways that allow them to
    reach their goal of obtaining a four-year degree.”             higher education will offer students affordable
        The partnership will provide IW and SCC students           educational opportunities for continuing
    with the opportunity to enroll in elective courses at either
    of the two institutions. Beyond academic programming,          education beyond an associate’s degree.
    plans are underway to share a Student Activities
    Coordinator, focusing on cross-campus exchanges in
    intramural athletics, social activities, and the arts.
                                                                   While I always had a desire to earn my bachelor’s
        Both institutions anticipate increased enrollment          degree, there was an unintended gap between my
    through this partnership. IW will continue to serve
    students seeking a traditional four-year liberal arts          graduation from SCC and IW. Many students,
    experience, supplemented by an increased number                myself included, enroll at a community college
    of SCC transfer students. SCC anticipates that the
    affordability and expanded academic opportunity will           with the goal of transferring to a four-year
    attract new students who may not have otherwise
                                                                   university, but investigating various transfer
    considered a bachelor’s degree. Working with student
    success advocates, students can select a four-year program     pathways and selecting courses to maximize
    that will qualify them for a rewarding career in the
    regional workforce or beyond.                                  transferable credits can be daunting. The increased
        President Plunkett praised the Board of Trustees           professional resources offered through the
    for its support during the complex partnership process.
    “Board Chair Annette Scisezinski has always held high          SIHEA system will prepare students to achieve
    aspirations for the University,” stated Plunkett. “As we       their educational goals quickly, seamlessly, and
    move forward with this exciting alliance, we are grateful
    for her exemplary and collaborative leadership as she          affordably.”
    guided the University towards this innovative future.”
                                                                                                         Amy Hill ’18
    IW.EDU                                                                                                             5
Tigers Roar into NAIA - PG. 36 President Christine Plunkett - Iowa Wesleyan ...

     In recent years, higher education
institutions have experienced a dramatic
shift. Enrollment and retention for
universities have experienced major
downfalls. In order to be sustainable,
universities must invest in institutional
and regional strengths.
     Iowa Wesleyan University has been
proactive in approaching these issues
and has identified key opportunities
that will help the University to grow
forward. The opportunities will not only
allow the institution to grow in financial
sustainability but will revitalize the core
of what we are: a learning community
filled with passionate individuals striving
to make personal connections.

Agribusiness                                  IW Agribusiness students in the field. The IW Agribusiness program will prepare students for careers in a
                                              number of fields, including seed, grain, livestock and equipment sales, agricultural finance, quality control,
                                              agricultural journalism, policy analysis and more.

   Tim Furlong joined the Tiger family
in March 2020 with the goal of helping        “What I do is take things I’ve learned,                       Professor Furlong and Dr. DeWayne
Iowa Wesleyan grow an Agribusiness            and say this is what I’ve seen work and                   Frazier, University Provost, agree that
program. Professor Furlong worked in          this is how you need to look at it, but                   the Agribusiness concentration is likely
the Agribusiness field for over 30 years      you need to make up your own mind.”                       to grow to over 50 students within the
before he started teaching. Having            Professor Furlong intends to work                         next few years, recognizing that the
Professor Furlong on campus means that        with students on how they can apply                       average major offered by Iowa Wesleyan
students get to learn from somebody           classroom knowledge to the field.                         hosts approximately 70 students. “I
who has worked in the field and can
share real-life experiences. Professor        “One out of every 12 jobs in the economy is connected in some way,
Furlong notes of his teaching style:          shape, or form to what happens on the farm.”
                                              Tom Vilsack, former US Secretary of Agriculture.

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Tigers Roar into NAIA - PG. 36 President Christine Plunkett - Iowa Wesleyan ...

think this program has the chance to           on this planet in 30 years and we have to
be one of the fastest-growing,” said Dr.       feed them so we need agriculture people,
DeWayne Frazier. “Iowa is one of the           and that doesn’t mean just farmers. But
most important states when it comes to         there’s some tremendous... opportunities
agriculture.” Professor Furlong notes          in agriculture.” Iowa Wesleyan is
that in order to grow, “We have got to         encouraging students to learn about and
get in front of these students... and that’s   experience agribusiness outside of the
not by email. You don’t date anyone over       classroom through internships.
an email, and this is the same thing.”
Iowa Wesleyan has been reaching out to
local schools and FFA programs to make
                                                        Learn more at
connections with prospective students.                  iw.edu/agribusiness
    Iowa Wesleyan is also pleased
to welcome Kansas State Fulbright
Scholar and Ag Economist, Dr. Agness           Athletics Growth
Mzyece as an Assistant Professor of
Agribusiness. A Fulbright Scholarship
                                                   The presence of athletics has long
is one of the highest honors of
                                               been a cornerstone of Iowa Wesleyan,
academia. Iowa Wesleyan recognizes
                                               and with over 77% of the fall 2020
that farming, particularly within Iowa,
                                               incoming class being involved in
is a global industry and Dr. Mzyece will
                                               athletics, and a total of 341 student-        Kailyn Clay '24 with IW Wrestling Head Coach
demonstrate the global impact and the                                                        Shawn Contos. Read about IW Wrestling on page 38.
                                               athletes, it’s not hard to see the strength
diversity involved in the agri-world.
                                               of that community. In an effort to
    Additionally, IW alumna and FFA
                                               expand the number of athletic teams,          “Athletics plays a unique
member Gail Kunch, who successfully
worked as a high school biology teacher
                                               IW considered the growth of high              role at Iowa Wesleyan
                                               school wrestling in the region and across
for the past several years, has joined Iowa
                                               the entire country. In April of 2018,         University. A large proportion
Wesleyan as an Assistant Professor of
Biology. Kunch is the only person in
                                               Iowa Wesleyan publicly announced the          of our students compete in
                                               addition of both men’s and women’s
Iowa who has taken every certification         wrestling with the intention of starting      intercollegiate athletics. The
for teaching in the Curriculum for
Agriculture in Science Education.
                                               the program in fall 2020. This made           tools they learn within their
                                               Iowa Wesleyan the first NCAA Division
Dr. Frazier states that “our students will     III university in Iowa to sponsor             athletic experiences assist with
be privileged to learn from these highly
qualified and experienced faculty." ”
                                               women’s wrestling.                            their efforts in the classroom,
                                                   Mark Willis, class of 1970, and 2017
    In addition to the fantastic faculty       inductee into the IW Tiger Athletics          and life after Iowa Wesleyan.”
involved in the new Agribusiness               Hall of Fame, and his wife, Sandy Willis,     Derek Zander, Vice President for Advancement and Athletics
program, Iowa Wesleyan provides                donated $250,000 to the creation of a
a unique curriculum. Currently,                state-of-the-art wrestling training center.
Agribusiness is a concentration within                                                       Coach Contos serves as the head men’s
                                               The Mark and Sandy Willis gift was
the Business major, allowing students                                                        and women’s wrestling coach and is
                                               given as a challenge to other alumni and
to focus their education on leadership                                                       joined by Jake Kadel, assistant coach,
                                               IW Tiger fans to continue to add and
and sales skills while still addressing                                                      Stephen Holloway, graduate assistant,
                                               expand athletic programs on campus.
the biological components. This                                                              and Cash Wilcke, graduate assistant.
                                               The facility was renovated fall 2020 and
business-first approach is better suited                                                     These three assistant coaches come to
                                               currently serves over 40 student-athletes
to meeting the needs of local companies                                                      Iowa Wesleyan after successful careers
                                               who enrolled at IW in the first recruiting
based on market research conducted by                                                        wrestling at the University of Iowa.
Dr. Frazier. He noted that, “we have a                                                           The Tigers wrestling program is
                                                   Iowa Wesleyan is pleased to
moral obligation to be involved in the                                                       not the only program that is creating
                                               welcome Shawn Contos as the Head
economic development of the region.”                                                         a buzz on campus and across the
                                               Wrestling Coach. As a four-time
The new Agribusiness program seeks                                                           Mount Pleasant Community. The
                                               USA All-American Wrestler with 20
to connect IW graduates with local                                                           Iowa Wesleyan football program has a
                                               years of experience coaching wrestling,
employers in Southeast Iowa. Professor                                                       long-standing history and tradition and
                                               Contos will help Iowa Wesleyan build a
Furlong adds, “From a world standpoint,                                                      is known at the Division I and NFL
                                               successful wrestling team and program.
we’re going to have 2 billion more people                                                    level for being the home of the Air Raid

IW.EDU                                                                                                                                               7
Tigers Roar into NAIA - PG. 36 President Christine Plunkett - Iowa Wesleyan ...

offense. In December of 2019, Coach                     NAIA, where we have so many great              Success & Inclusive Support (OASIS),
Marvelander Daniels was appointed                       memories of tradition and success. Our         located on the top floor of the campus
as the new head football coach. Coach                   Tiger fans across the country should get       library. “This is where a lot of students
Daniels and his staff have hit the ground               ready for an exciting ride.”                   hang out,” Aranda states. “I think
running and brought in a talented group                                                                through the relationships we have built
of student-athletes in just 8 months at                                                                with the students, they see us as a safe
the helm.                                               Increasing Retention:                          place to ask questions.”
    “This is an exciting time for                       Student Success                                    Students often would go to the
Iowa Wesleyan University and Tiger                                                                     OASIS with questions about financial
Athletics,” said Derek Zander, Vice                     Center                                         aid or how to choose a major, which
President for Advancement and                                                                          showed Aranda and her team that there
Athletics. On October 5, the National                       Iowa Wesleyan University has always        was a need for a more structured student
Association of Intercollegiate Athletics                offered support to students through            success initiative. The primary change
(NAIA) approved Iowa Wesleyan                           academic advising and tutoring, but            implemented is the addition of Student
Tigers to return to the NAIA. After                     took it a step further with the expansion      Success Coaches. Each new student is
evaluating a possible transition out of the             of the Student Success Center. The             assigned a Student Success Coach who is
National Collegiate Athletic Association                Student Success Center allows students,        trained to help answer their questions or
(NCAA), it was determined that IW’s                     even before they come to campus, to            provide a clear direction of where to find
mission, academic programs, geographic                  have a one-stop-shop for any issues they       additional resources.
location, and commitment to quality                     may have. Katie Aranda, the Assistant              Iowa Wesleyan encourages students
athletics aligns with the philosophy and                Dean of Student Success Initiatives,           to ask for help when they need it and
goals within the NAIA. “I would like to                 notes that the new structure is a “more        offers support systems where they’re
personally thank the NAIA membership                    intentional” avenue for students to            needed. Additionally, the Student
team for assisting us through the                       receive assistance. This reformed              Success Center goes beyond being a
application and evaluation process. We                  Student Success Center emerged                 support system for students to reach
are looking forward to our return to the                naturally from the Office of Academic          out to. Success Coaches initiate
                                                                                                       conversations, providing guidance as
                                                                                                       students navigate through the challenges
                                                                                                       of starting college. New students
                                                                                                       connect with their Success Coaches
                                                                                                       along with the rest of the Student
                                                                                                       Success Center team. These connections
                                                                                                       let the team “celebrate those little wins,”
                                                                                                       Aranda stated. “We have students who
                                                                                                       didn’t think they would be able to go
                                                                                                       to college.’ [When] they get those first
                                                                                                       midterms grades and they did well, we
                                                                                                       get to cheer with them and celebrate
                                                                                                       with them.” This program is important
                                                                                                       for the Iowa Wesleyan student body as
                                                                                                       roughly 60% of our 2020 freshman class
                                                                                                       are first-generation college students.
                                                                                                           The Student Success Center also
                                                                                                       works with families. Iowa Wesleyan
                                                                                                       is proud to be a diverse campus, with
Katie Aranda, Assistant Dean of Student Success Initiatves, works with IW student Daisy Scholz '24     students coming from across the country
at the OASIS center.

“For some of our students, an IW education is
transformational not only for them but for their families.”
Dr. DeWayne Frazier, University Provost

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Tigers Roar into NAIA - PG. 36 President Christine Plunkett - Iowa Wesleyan ...

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Tigers Roar into NAIA - PG. 36 President Christine Plunkett - Iowa Wesleyan ...

10        IOWA W E SLE YA N UNI V ERSIT Y   |   W INTER 2021

“For an institution like Iowa Wesleyan, an online program enhances the campus
experience and allows students to graduate faster. It's another way for people
in the surrounding area to achieve their goals and grow personally. I think it’s
valuable for Southeast Iowa to have graduate and four-year degrees that students
can earn online.”
Valerie Henessee, Director of Graduate and Professional Studies

and the world, but we recognize that
there are many challenges associated
                                                  First Class of                               to grow. Like other concentrations
                                                                                               within the MAML program, there is
with traveling for school. The Student            Master’s Graduates                           a business-centered approach to the
Success Coaches will help families                                                             Criminal Justice concentration, making
prepare for the start of the student’s first           In August 2019, IW Online saw           it unique to Iowa Wesleyan.
year of college.                                  its first two graduates of the Master of         The success of the current programs
                                                  Arts in Management and Leadership            has IW Online considering the strategic
                                                                                               expansion of graduate program offerings
Fall 2020 Record                                  (MAML) program, launched in January
                                                  2018. IW Online has since seen more          in the coming years. This growth will
Enrollment                                        than 10 graduates in less than three years   help the University reach potential
                                                  and the classes continue to grow in size.    online students who may otherwise be
IW Online                                              Through the Fall 2020 semester,         unable to get a locally-based education.
                                                  IW Online is proudly serving over 50
    The online higher education                   graduate-level students through the two
competition is fierce. With larger                masters programs. In addition, 40%           Undergraduate
universities having staked their claim            of these students have returned after
years ago, Iowa Wesleyan University has           completing their undergraduate degree            IW Online is proud to offer a large
been shifting significantly to compete in         with Iowa Wesleyan.                          selection of undergraduate courses,
the online market. IW Online was a key                                                         providing students with the schedule
factor in helping Iowa Wesleyan have a                                                         flexibility that enables them to be
record-breaking enrollment for Fall 2020          MECI & MAML                                  involved on campus or in their local
                                                                                               community without concern for missing
despite challenges associated with the
COVID-19 pandemic. The University
                                                  CJ Concentration                             classes. IW Online also allows students
saw a 13% increase in enrollment across                                                        to work on finishing their degrees
all programs and a 25% increase in                    In fall 2019 IW Online launched          without coming to campus.
the online Graduate and Professional              the new Masters of Education in                  Currently, IW Online is helping over
Programs.                                         Curriculum and Instruction (MECI)            50 undergraduate students work toward
    As IW Online continues to grow                program. This innovative program helps       their degrees, a current record for the
and expand, students continue to                  students to learn about education and        program.
benefit from a small-school community             teaching. Five graduate students are
environment. "Students from around                enrolled in the MECI program as of
the globe become like neighbors in IW             Fall 2020.
Online," according to University Provost,             Fall 2020 brought the addition of a
Dr. DeWayne Frazier.                              new concentration within the MAML
                                                  program: Criminal Justice. This
                                                  program has invited three new students
                                                  in its first semester and is expected

IW.EDU                                                                                                                               11

the Charge
Get to know President Christine Plunkett

   In August 2019,                  You’ve been a member of this              and better understand our enrollment
                                campus community since 2015.                  patterns and academic strengths. These
Christine Plunkett became       How did the transition to President           are “legs of the stool” that must support
the 30th President of Iowa      come about?                                   a financially sustainable institution, and I
                                    I came to the Iowa Wesleyan               was asked to extend my stay each year to
Wesleyan University and         community from Vermont in July 2015           continue my work in these areas.
the first female president in   as the Vice President for Finance,                My transition into the role of
its storied 178-year history.   expecting it would be an interim position     President in 2019 reflects one of the
                                for one to two years. Over the next           current realities in private higher
Below is a candid interview     couple of years, I immersed myself in         education. The traditional path to the
with President Plunkett         the University’s finances. My initial         presidency of a college or university has
                                focus was an initiative to restructure        been through academic ranks, perhaps
about her journey, the first    our institutional debt through the Rural      from professor to department chair
year of her presidency, and     Development offices of the USDA.              to dean to the president. In today’s
what she sees for the future    I also applied my financial analysis          challenging regulatory environment and
                                background to improve our long-term           difficult economic climate, however,
of Iowa Wesleyan.               budgeting and cash management systems         and given the dramatic shifts in

12                                                                          IOWA W E SLE YA N UNI V ERSIT Y   |   W INTER 2021

demographics and student enrollment         outside the community. Furthermore,         particular end.
patterns, there is an increasing interest   with the challenges for the immediate           My foundation for lifelong learning
in having leaders who are well-versed in    future revolving around financial           was laid early. I grew up surrounded
financial matters, comfortable navigating   management and regional economic            by the 700 beautiful acres of my
complex legal and regulatory concerns,      sustainability, identifying a leader with   family’s northern Vermont farm with
and entrepreneurial in spirit.              financial understanding was imperative.     no television in sight. I began early in
    When President Steve Titus                                                          my life to appreciate the time spent
announced his retirement in 2019, the           Please share your background and        outdoors with family and friends. My
University was involved in a complex        how you got into higher education           mother was a science and math teacher
process, seeking to secure a more viable    leadership.                                 who encouraged her children to closely
financial future through a partnership          I did not set out to become a           observe everything from the smallest
with another university. I believe          college president. As I worked my way       animal footprint or tiny wildflower to
the Board of Trustees felt that fully       through my undergraduate and graduate       the largest mountain ranges. My father,
implementing such a partnership would       studies, corporate employment, self-        a microbiologist, spent his time with
require a constancy and focus in the        employment, apple farming (!), and          us carrying out kitchen sink science
University’s leadership that wouldn’t be    educational administration positions, I     experiments, gardening, teaching us
met by bringing in someone new from         was not following a prescribed path to a    how to plaster the walls of our hundred-

IW.EDU                                                                                                                        13

year-old farmhouse, or leading us on                    learned along the way have led me to    to manage our campus COVID-19
the adventure of a midnight moonlit                     where I am today.                       response, whether through modified
snowshoe hike. We spent much of                                                                 teaching methods, administering
our remaining free time immersed in                      What have been your greatest           COVID-19 tests, looking after ailing
reading: absorbing stories, poems, and               challenges that you have faced             students, sanitizing the campus,
news articles that we shared during                  in your first year and a half as           managing technology needs, or finding
dinner-table conversations.                          President? And what have been your         creative ways to work at a distance from
    On its face, my professional                     greatest achievements that you have        one’s peers. I cannot adequately express
opportunities have always grown out of               accomplished thus far?                     how much I appreciate the patience
my financial background and expertise.                   Certainly, the emergence of the        that our entire IW community has
Because of my family’s academic                      COVID-19 pandemic has been a               demonstrated throughout this incredibly
background and my personal enthusiasm                tremendous and unanticipated challenge     challenging time.
for supporting under-served students,                that has consumed much of our time             It is striking that one of our greatest
however, my professional journey                     over the past eight months. In addition    achievements has come against the odds
has predominantly steered me in the                  to providing a foundation for lifelong     of the COVID-19 pandemic. This past
direction of educational institutions.               learning, universities offer an important  fall, we had the highest undergraduate
I have now spent nearly twenty-five                  opportunity for discourse and social       enrollment in ten years, increasing
years in educational environments,                   engagement. The necessity for social       by 13% over last year at a time when
including ten years at a private secondary           distancing, mask-wearing, quarantining,    undergraduate enrollments nationally
school and seven as the CFO and then                 and isolating is at odds with the          decreased by an average of 4%. Our
president at a small Vermont college.                traditional campus experience. While       enrollment of first-year students
    There is no “right” path to a higher             our students have been responsible and     increased by a remarkable 54% over
education career, and my path is simply              respectful of our COVID-19 policies,       last year, while first-year enrollments
an example of one person’s course.                   we know that the hybrid model of           nationally declined by an average of 16%.
Growing up in Vermont within an                      virtual and face-to-face classes and the       I attribute this remarkable success
independent-minded family, a frame                   unnatural social separation has been       to the campus-wide Student Success
of mind that perceives no obstacles has              stressful for them. We also see the stress initiative that our entire IW community
naturally become a part of who I am.                 impacting our faculty and staff members, has fully embraced over the last couple
This mindset, unexpected professional                almost all of whom are essentially         of years. We have come to recognize
opportunities, wonderful strong women                working two jobs: fulfilling their         that our unique strength is our ability
as my mentors, and some basic lessons                regular job responsibilities and helping   to attract and serve traditionally under-
                                                                                                                     resourced students:
                                                                                                                     those who are first-
“This past fall, we had the highest undergraduate enrollment in ten years,                                           generation, low-
increasing by 13% over last year at a time when undergraduate enrollments                                            income, non-white,
nationally decreased by an average of 4%.”                                                                           and those from other
                                                                                                                     countries. These
                                                                                                                     students thrive here
                                                                                                                     because of the safety
                                                                                                of our small, rural community. They
                                                                                                thrive here because of the small classes
                                                                                                and close relationships they can form
                                                                                                with faculty and staff members. They
                                                                                                thrive here because our small size means
                                                                                                they have plenty of opportunities to
                                                                                                participate and compete in our athletic
                                                                                                programs. They thrive here because
                                                                                                they are seen, and they have countless
                                                                                                opportunities to become engaged and
                                                                                                become leaders. And they thrive here
                                                                                                because on the most diverse campus in
                                                                                                Iowa; they feel that their differences are
                                                                                                    Understanding our unique niche has
When the novel coronavirus complicated 2020 Spring Commencement, President Plunkett traveled to allowed us to focus on strengthening
students when possible to provide a private graduation ceremony. Pictured: Nijole Laverd '20.

14                                                                                              IOWA W E SLE YA N UNI V ERSIT Y   |   W INTER 2021

our support services for students. We
have significantly expanded our already
active Student Success Center by hiring
several success coaches who understand
the unique challenges faced by many
of our students. We have a talented
team of admissions counselors who can
identify applicants who will be a good
fit at the University and a dedicated
team of financial aid counselors who
begin the sensitive conversations about
how to finance a college education.
Our professors and athletic coaches
understand the importance of personal
relationships in the classroom and on
the playing field, and it is their personal
attention that keeps our students here.
    I am fortunate to have a team of
administrative colleagues committed
first and foremost to our students.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has
impacted us in many challenging ways,
our commitment to students remains
steadfast. We are all working together to
ensure that our recent successes continue
into the future.

    Part of your transition to President
included the continued work on
future partnerships/affiliations for the      President Plunkett became the first female President of Iowa Wesleyan University.
university for a more secure future.
Could you share an update on this?            and other extracurricular activities,                  methods. Some of our students,
    My Cabinet colleagues and I have          and present ourselves as a single                      particularly those who live outside the
enjoyed getting to know Dr. Michael           entity with two unique campuses. An                    country, were unable to return to campus
Ash, the president of Southeastern            important aspect of the alliance will be               this fall due to travel restrictions. Other
Community College, and his colleagues         to strengthen relationships with regional              students spent as much as two weeks of
over the past year. In July, we entered       employers and develop targeted curricula               the semester in quarantine or isolation
into a Memorandum of Understanding            to meet their educational needs. A                     here on campus. Others needed to
with SCC to work towards a partnership        robust educational system can provide                  return home mid-semester due to
between our two institutions. Since           a backbone for the development of a                    COVID-19 related family challenges.
then, we have completed a thorough            regional workforce. We believe the IW-                 It has been necessary for our faculty
due diligence process and worked              SCC partnership will play an important                 members to be agile and responsive
collaboratively to develop a unique           role in further developing the strength                to our students’ needs by offering
alliance between SCC, a two-year public       and vitality of Southeast Iowa.                        both face-to-face and virtual learning
career-focused community college,                                                                    opportunities. Similarly, our employees
and IW, a four-year private liberal               In what ways have you needed to                    have had to adapt to occasional periods
arts university. Under the proposed           adapt or think differently as you lead a               of working exclusively from home due to
partnership, each institution will retain     university through a pandemic?                         either temporary closure of the campus
its own identity, accreditation, board,           The pandemic has necessarily led to                or the need for individual quarantine or
and president under the umbrella of a         new thinking about the ways in which                   isolation.
regional non-profit organization. The         students learn and the ways in which                       There has been global speculation
intent is to develop numerous academic        employees work. Last spring, our faculty               of a more permanent shift to online
pathways for students, identify areas for     members became students themselves                     learning and remote employment
shared expenses, create cross-campus          as they learned new technologies and                   because of the pandemic. It has certainly
opportunities in intramural athletics         expanded their classroom teaching                      been helpful to discover that we can

IW.EDU                                                                                                                                        15

change direction quickly to meet
unanticipated challenges. I have never
lost sight that we are an institution built
on personal relationships. However, we
have seen firsthand that our community
suffers when we cannot be together in
our work and our studies. The pandemic
has underscored the importance of these
relationships, and we are all eager to
return to a more familiar environment.

    What hopes and desires do you
have for the future of Iowa Wesleyan
    Iowa Wesleyan University is a vital
part of Southeast Iowa’s educational
landscape and regional economy. The
University’s economic impact is more
than $55 million annually, and the
collective economic impact of IW and
Southeastern Community College
is nearly $200 million. Beyond the
economic impact are the community
and cultural contributions the
University provides, including orchestra
performances, gallery exhibitions,
celebrations of our international
students, STEM festivals, speaker
symposiums, and more. I fervently
hope for a future where Iowa Wesleyan
University continues to be a cornerstone
of the Mount Pleasant community
while remaining nimble and creative
in addressing significant shifts in the
nation’s higher education landscape.
    It is critical that vital educational
resources in rural America be preserved
                                              Chris and her husband, John Watson, on the porch of the Harlan-Lincoln House on the northern edge of the
and sustained in the face of economic         Iowa Wesleyan University campus.
challenges. It is my hope that the
IW-SCC affiliation grows to become            make a difference in its students’ lives.                You and your husband, John, are
a broader coalition of educational            There is a large population of under-                 very active outdoors. Tell us more
institutions, regional employers, and         served students across the country                    about how you enjoy your time together
social service agencies working together      seeking to better their lives through                 in Mount Pleasant.
to enhance opportunities for people who       education. It is not only their own lives                John and I both grew up in New
live and work in the region. We believe       they are improving. They contribute                   England within an easy drive of the
the affiliation could become a national       their intellect and knowledge to the                  mountains and the ocean. We have
model for revitalizing higher education       country’s social and economic landscape,              always spent a lot of time outdoors
in rural areas.                               playing a vital role in medicine, business,           hiking, camping, swimming, bicycling,
    Most of all, I wish for the University    criminal justice, education, research,                and skiing. One of the things we love
to thrive financially and continue to         social work, science, technology, law, and            about Iowa is the beautiful rolling
                                              more.                                                 landscape. We frequently ride our
“Most of all, I wish for the University to                                                          bicycles on the Cedar Valley Nature
                                                                                                    Trail between Solon and Urbana and
thrive financially and continue to make a                                                           occasionally on the Racoon River Trail in
                                                                                                    the Des Moines area. We feel fortunate
difference in its students’ lives.”                                                                 that right here in Mount Pleasant, we

16                                                                                                IOWA W E SLE YA N UNI V ERSIT Y    |   W INTER 2021

Chris, her daughters and their families, from left to right: Sarah (daughter); Brian (son-in-law);
Teddy (grandson); Brett (son-in-law); Paige (daughter); Chris.

                                                                                                          Chris's daughter Audrey takes family dog (and
                                                                                                          unofficial IW mascot) Finnegan for a walk in

                                                                                                              Rumor has it that you have had a
                                                                                                          new grandchild born each year you have
                                                                                                          been with IW. How have you been able
                                                                                                          to stay connected with your growing
Chris and her son Evan, taken during a recent visit.     Chris with two of her grandsons: Cal(left) and   family while you are here in Iowa?
                                                                                                              Yes, our first grandchild, Teddy,
                                                                                                          was born in November 2015, just a
                                                                                                          few months after I arrived in Mount
                                                                                                          Pleasant. Since then, five more
                                                                                                          grandchildren have arrived: Tenzin,
                                                                                                          Parker, Calvin, Elizabeth, and Matilda,
                                                                                                          one each year! A seventh one is on the
                                                                                                          way in January.
                                                                                                              Until the pandemic impacted us,
                                                                                                          John and I made regular trips during the
                                                                                                          winter holidays and the summers to visit
                                                                                                          our five children and our grandchildren.
                                                                                                          We love to travel, and with children in
                                                                                                          Denver, Boston, Florida, Virginia, and
                                                                                                          Montreal, we have always had a great
                                                                                                          choice of destinations! We particularly
                                                                                                          enjoy train travel, and Mount Pleasant is
Chris and John with their family during a visit to the Boston Children's Museum in South Boston, MA.      fortunate to have an Amtrak stop right
                                                                                                          here on campus. Like everyone else in
have easy and quick access to East Lake                  In the winter, they love to romp and             the world, we have struggled with the
Park and the beautiful trail from the                    wrestle in the snow in the fields around         separation caused by the pandemic. We
lake over to the Old Threshers grounds.                  the lake. And, of course, we love walking        haven’t seen any of our family members
During the summer, I can easily fit in                   with the dogs around the beautiful Iowa          since Christmas 2019, and we haven’t
a daily ten-mile bike ride after work                    Wesleyan campus. There is nothing they           met our newest grandchild yet. We
before it gets dark. East Lake is also                   love more than receiving affection from          talk to all of our children on the phone
a favorite spot year-round for walking                   the students!                                    regularly, and we try to make regular
our two big dogs, Finnegan and Mocha.                                                                     video calls to keep in touch with our
IW.EDU                                                                                                                                                    17

     March 12, 2020                        of online learning across the nation,
                                           many Iowa Wesleyan students continue
                                                                                        to feel like they’re part of the classroom
                                                                                        environment, Iowa Wesleyan has been
marked a historic moment for Iowa          to prefer the in-person, traditional         doing everything possible to maintain
Wesleyan University as students were       classroom. The majority of students said     the on-campus environment without
asked to transition from the traditional   that while the transition to online was      compromising the safety of its students,
classroom to online learning for their     necessary for Spring 2020, they did not      faculty, or staff.
health and safety due to the Novel         want to be online for the fall semester.
Coronavirus global pandemic. Within            Iowa Wesleyan faculty and staff
the extended two-week spring break,        worked tirelessly to help bring students     The Virtual Campus
every class was recreated in the online    back to campus for the 2020-2021
classroom, Canvas. Students were           academic year. From the development of          Iowa Wesleyan University has always
encouraged to stay home after spring       virtual tours to randomized COVID-19         encouraged prospective students to visit
break if they were able and finish the     testing and hiring of a full-time campus     the campus of any college or university
semester remotely.                         nurse to the creation of hybrid classes,     they are interested in. We recognize the
    Despite the increasing popularity      which allows distance learning students      importance of having a campus feel like

18                                                                                    IOWA W E SLE YA N UNI V ERSIT Y   |   W INTER 2021

home. Due to the safety issues associated
with bringing groups of potential
students to campus in conjunction with
travel restrictions, Iowa Wesleyan has
temporarily restructured how campus
visits are conducted.
    Scheduled virtual visits were offered
for the incoming fall 2020 class. This
virtual visit included a scheduled
meeting with advisors and a peer-
led tour of campus, all done virtually,
allowing students to have an on-campus
experience from home. This method also
allowed student-athletes to meet their
coaches in a one-on-one setting and
musicians to complete their auditions.
While the virtual tour experience may
not feel the same as stepping onto
campus for the first time, we recognize
the limitations our students have in
visiting campus and want to provide a
real feel tour as much as possible.
    While on-campus visits will continue
to be encouraged, we hope to continue
providing this virtual visit service to
prospective students who can’t travel to
campus even after COVID-19 concerns
subside.                                    a rapid results spit-test. If they tested   and it’s not just an ‘oh they’re students,
                                            positive, they were moved to isolation.”    they’re not following the guidelines.’
                                            Students who tested positive spent ten      It’s everybody that needs those helpful
Moving to Campus                            days in isolation.                          reminders. Students that get [tested]
                                                Testing has continued throughout        positive, they’re still students, it’s not like
    Planning to bring students back         the semester. The health team ensures       they did anything wrong.” The health
to campus began almost as soon as           that athletes are regularly tested to       team has created a culture of acceptance
they left. In March, Iowa Wesleyan          avoid an outbreak within a team while       and inclusion, without negating the
University began planning how to            also completing weekly random tests         importance of the issue, which helps
screen each student and family as they      within the residence halls. This random     students who expect that they have been
arrived on campus. This process started     testing helps the health team identify      in contact with or may have contracted
with creating a health team, composed       positive cases before an outbreak can       COVID-19 to come forward. Klundt
initially of Matt Klundt, Assistant Dean    occur, mainly since most of the positive    stated that he has known of several
for Health, Careers, and Service and        cases have been asymptomatic. Students      students who have willingly stepped
campus nurse Nancy Wagner M.S.N.,           are also encouraged to visit the campus     forward to be a part of contact tracing
R.N. With the beginning of the Fall         nurse if they are concerned about having    after learning about a positive test case.
2020 semester, three graduate assistants,   been exposed to COVID-19 or if they         With regards to how Iowa Wesleyan has
Hunter Davis, Justin Noble, and Jacyln      are having some of the symptoms.            been able to avoid an outbreak, Wagner
Schwieger, joined the health team. The          While there have been positive          attributed it to “teamwork, we are
health team was instrumental in creating    cases, Iowa Wesleyan has avoided a          working together.”
and executing specific procedures that      major outbreak in large part due to             As the academic year progresses,
brought students back to campus. “At        the dedication of the health team           Iowa Wesleyan will continue to adapt
the beginning, we staggered check-ins,”     and the cooperation of the students,        to the challenges posed by COVID-19.
said Matt Klundt. “Our policy was that      faculty, and staff. While Iowa Wesleyan     Wagner recognizes learning about this
if a student came from a hot-spot... they   enforces social distancing and mask-        virus and how to handle it is “a learning
were quarantined [in their rooms] for       wearing, Klundt encourages everyone         curve. It’s a lot of moving parts, and you
four days, then they were tested through    to remember that “we are all humans,        just have to adjust.” As routine testing

IW.EDU                                                                                                                               19

and following CDC recommended                   supported this decision by students and
guidelines continue, the health team has        their families and has developed ways for
also been looking at ways to go above           students to learn online without feeling
and beyond to serve students in isolation.      isolated from the classroom.
Isolated students are allowed to spend
time outdoors within specific parameters
to avoid spreading COVID-19 to the              The New Classroom
local community. The health team has
also offered to pick up pre-paid groceries          IW Online played a crucial role in
for students or deliver pizzas during           finishing the Spring 2020 semester
mealtimes.                                      after the COVID-19 pandemic forced
    As Iowa Wesleyan looks to the               the Iowa Wesleyan University campus
future, we retain the goal of keeping           to close temporarily. Iowa Wesleyan
                                                                                                        Dr. Agness Mzyece teaches in September.
our students, faculty, and staff safe both      staff spent the two weeks of spring            Transparent face shields are one of several options
on and off campus. Wagner notes the             break manually transferring every                            for faculty during in-person classes.

goal of hiring a nurse practitioner. In         active on-campus class to Canvas              done and was very focused on taking
the short term, the nurse practitioner          (learning management system) and              care of the students.” IW Online was
would assist in the testing and treatment       creating training videos for students         able to automatically generate Canvas
of COVID-19. Wagner hopes to offer              and instructors on how to use and learn       companions for every on-campus
students tests and treatment for other          within the Canvas platform.                   course offered in the Fall 2020 semester,
illnesses, such as strep or mononucleosis.          “It was challenging, but it was fun,”     providing the opportunity for students to
“I see a lot of potential for improving the     said Valerie Henessee, Director of            stay online through hybrid classes.
health of the students.”                        Graduate and Professional Studies. “It            Dr. Jeffery Martinek, Professor of
    Still, many students opted not to           was really satisfying to see the results.     English, spearheaded the transition
return to campus. Iowa Wesleyan has             Everybody pulled together and got it          to hybrid learning for the Fall 2020

“I think Iowa Wesleyan’s dedication to students comes through i
like that. It’s really gratifying to see… I just think our personal c
students helped get us through.”
Valerie Henessee, Director of Graduate and Professional Studies

20                                                                                          IOWA W E SLE YA N UNI V ERSIT Y    |   W INTER 2021

                                                                                                                                    Masked and 6 feet apart, incoming
                                                                                                                                   freshmen pause for a Class of 2020
                                                                                                                                                  group drone photo.

      semester. “I remember,” stated Dr.            social media and online interactions were               enforced due dates. “It requires more of
      Martinek, “March 11 was the day I             increasingly sneaking into the classroom                the students to have more of their own
      realized that COVID-19 was going              even in the days before COVID-19. Dr.                   motivation and to go and get things
      to be as bad as we were seeing in             Martinek has been working tirelessly to                 done.” Dr. Martinek hopes that the
      Europe. It had the potential to close         reconsider teaching in higher education                 students find the in-person classes to
      institutions. I thought from the start that   within this new societal context.                       feel more like a voluntary gathering. “It’s
      we were going to be forced to rethink         Through this, the structure of the                      an essential part… but what’s nice is it’s
      the classroom and what we mean by             classroom has become “more of a team,                   flexible. Sometimes you meet just to sort
      education and how we can deliver it.”         it’s not all on [the professor]. In that, it’s          of huddle up, and sometimes you meet
          The primary concern students had          more like a contemporary workplace; the                 to begin working together. It just makes
      regarding online classes in the Spring        structure tends to be more horizontal.                  the meeting time more like a real-world
      was the potential to feel isolated from       The professor is no longer the source of                situation.”
      classmates and professors. While there        all wisdom, but it is more of a facilitator                 While Iowa Wesleyan is seeing
      are discussion boards, students prefer        and coordinator [relationship].” Dr.                    a shift towards online learning, our
      speaking with their professors and            Martinek is using the Fall 2020 semester                professors are committed to maintaining
      each other in a face-to-face setting.         to experiment, treating the in-person                   the small-school feel that we do best.
      Dr. Martinek has developed a teaching         classroom meetings as a chance to                       “You have to be able to keep the human
      method in a classroom and online              workshop with students while treating                   element,” states Dr. Martinek. The goal
      simultaneously, offering his distance         Canvas as the place for assignments and                 of Iowa Wesleyan’s online environment
      learning students a chance to be included                                                             is to create a community for students
      and involved in the classroom.                                                                        who may not be able to be on campus.
          “What we’re doing in some ways                                                                    “I think there’s a niche in creating a
      is an experiment. We’re flipping the                                                                  21st-century experience that has a large
      classroom.” Dr. Martinek addresses the                                                                digital and social media component but
      shift in the student culture, noting that                                                             also puts small-scale and community at
                                                                                                            the center as a cardinal value.”

h in moments of crisis
  connections to
                                                       All students, faculty and staff are asked to wear
                                                        masks indoors, particularly where appropriate
                                                                       social distancing is not possible.

      IW.EDU                                                                                                                                            21

      Often discussions regarding historical artifacts focus              and east side of her Mount Pleasant home.” Less than an inch
  on delicate, hand-held family heirlooms, ornately carved                and a half tall and just one sentence in length, this newspaper
  furniture, or vibrant art pieces. But for structures like the           segment grounds the museum’s modern knowledge of a major
  Harlan-Lincoln House at Iowa Wesleyan University, the                   structural change occurring at the home just before the turn of
  building itself is a historical artifact which has to be carefully      the century.
                                            cared for. Since 2005, the        The 2020 facilities plan for the Harlan-Lincoln House
                                            new front porch of the        museum included maintenance work to stabilize porch posts,
                                            Harlan-Lincoln House          add a non-slip sealant to its floorboards, and refresh the entire
                                            museum, a reproduction        structure’s iconic yellow paint. Unfortunately, the events of
                                            of the 1895 porch, has        July 19th expedited the necessity for the planned work. That
                                            welcomed visitors, hosted     morning, a storm blew through Mount Pleasant, bringing
                                            social gatherings, fostered   down one of the beautiful maple trees from the west lawn onto
                                            leisurely talks among         the museum, damaging the reproduction porch. “Overall, the
                                            friends, and provided a       situation could have been so much more detrimental,” recalls
                                            shaded spot to relax and      Director of the Harlan-Lincoln House Anna Mullen Villareal,
                                            take in the vista of the      “The original 1876 section of the building was untouched and
                                            Iowa Wesleyan University      all artifacts inside safe. But, it is an important reminder of how
                                            campus.                       our tangible history is constantly challenged by the natural
                                                It was Mary Harlan-       environment.”
                                            Lincoln, Senator James             To respond quickly to the damage, the Friends of the
                                            Harlan’s eldest daughter,     Harlan-Lincoln House created the “Our Front Porch”
                                            married to Robert Todd        campaign. This campaign seeks to raise $30,000 to repair the
                                            Lincoln, who added the        storm damage, complete the 2020 facilities projects, replant
                                            porch to the family’s         trees on the museum’s west lawn, and develop new external
                                            residence in 1895. Both       educational signage. As of November 1, over 66% of the
                                            written notations and         campaign’s goal had been met. For more information on the
A storm on July 19, 2020 felled a beautiful historic photographic         museum or the “Our Front Porch” campaign, visit
maple tree on the west lawn of the Harlan-  prints provide insights       iw.edu/harlan-lincoln-house. Donations can be sent to
    Lincoln House. The damage increased
  urgency for necessary restoration work.
                                            into the 1895 porch’s         Director, Harlan-Lincoln House, 601 N. Main Street in
                                            construction and design.      Mount Pleasant, Iowa.
                                            For example, a brief              The mission of the Harlan-Lincoln House at Iowa
                                            mention in the historic       Wesleyan University is to interpret the home to the public for
                                            Mount Pleasant Journal on     its significance to the Harlan and Lincoln Families, to reinforce
                                            September 5th, 1895 reads,    the relationship to the University, and to fulfill the home’s
                                            “Mrs. Robert Lincoln is       vital role in the living history of the University and the Mount
                                            [erecting] a fine colonial    Pleasant community.
                                            [porch] around the south

                                                     For more info, visit iw.edu/harlan-lincoln-house
  22                                                                                             IOWA W E SLE YA N UNI V ERSIT Y   |   FA LL 2020

    In addition to the COVID-19 global pandemic, 2020 is a             pursue a college degree. She served as an instructor at Clark
year defined by a paramount social justice reform movement in          Atlanta College, now Clark Atlanta University, and Bennett
the United States. On June 1st, after the senseless and tragic         College in Greensboro, North Carolina.
death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Iowa                      Established with personal donations from the Iowa
Wesleyan University President Chris Plunkett spoke directly to         Wesleyan University Cabinet members, the Susan Mosely
the students; “Both personally and on behalf of the entire Iowa        Grandison Diversity and Inclusion Fund will be used to fulfill
Wesleyan community, I want to express solidarity with those            the institution’s commitment to deepening the understanding
of you who suffer daily from the fear of racial discrimination,        of diversity and face challenges relating to equality and
who experience the ongoing sting of economic injustice, and                           inclusion. It will allow Iowa Wesleyan University
for whom a sense of despair and outrage has become a fact                                to establish affiliations and memberships
of life…It is not enough for the leaders of this University                                with national student organizations focused
to say that we will provide you with a safe and supportive                                  on diversity and inclusion, host facilitators
community within which to study…We must double                                              for awareness and educational training
down on [our] commitment to impact change through                                           on campus, sponsor student attendance at
education.”                                                                                national conferences on race and diversity
    The first step in demonstrating its commitment                                        issues, and support programming and speaker
to the institution’s values of diversity, equality,                                      events. The intention is for the fund to become
and inclusion is the establishment of the                                               a fully established endowment, ensuring the
Susan Mosely Grandison Diversity and                                                      continued support of diversity initiatives
Inclusion Fund. Announced in celebration of                                                  at Iowa Wesleyan. “Iowa Wesleyan has
Juneteenth, the fund is named in honor of                                                     long been an institution of diversity and
Susan Mosely Grandison, the first African-                                                     inclusion,” notes University Provost Dr.
American graduate of Iowa Wesleyan                                                             DeWayne Frazier. “We pride ourselves on
University in 1885.                                                                           being a place of opportunity for students
    According to historical records,                                                            from all backgrounds.”
Susan’s parents, Moses and Maria,                                                                     This campus, its administration,
were born into slavery, as was Susan                                                              faculty, and staff, are committed to
herself in the Confederate State of                                                                working for racial equality and social
Missouri. After the 13th Amendment’s                                                               justice.
ratification, the Mosely family relocated                                                               Donations to the Susan Mosely
to Mount Pleasant, Iowa, with Moses                                                                  Grandison Diversity and Inclusion
working as a drayman for G.W.                                                                         Fund can be made online at
Crafts and later a stonemason. The                                                                     advancement.iw.edu/diversity or
Moselys were committed to providing                                                                    mailed to the Office of University
educational opportunities for their                                                                    Advancement at 601 N. Main
children. In return, Susan dedicated                                                                 Street in Mount Pleasant, Iowa.
her life and career to ensuring that
black students had the same chance to
                                              The Susan Mosely Grandison Fund for Diversity and
                                           Inclusion is named in honor of the first African-American
                                                graduate of Iowa Wesleyan University in 1885.

IW.EDU                                                                                                                                 23
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