May 18, 2020

Dear Central College family,

Now that the spring semester has officially ended, and I think about the days in this semester – many of which felt a lot like Groundhog Day – I think not only of the challenges but also of the many amazing successes.

You all have worked diligently to make the good happen during a challenging time. First there was the incredible group effort to move classes to a remote learning setting. We also witnessed many individual achievements, including members of our family receiving the prestigious Goldwater and Udall scholarships. Two members of our community earned accolades from the Iowa Campus Compact. And we can’t forget to mention how renovations are buzzing along on our P.H. Kuyper Gymnasium.

All of us have appreciated the ways in which you have worked together to overcome the tremendous challenges brought by the coronavirus. Thank you.

While our challenges are certainly not over, many changes and opportunities to connect and celebrate are on the horizon.


Thank you, everyone, for selecting your preferences for refunds and credits around spring semester housing and dining costs. We have finalized that work and, depending on your preferences, the checks are being mailed or credited to your account for next year today, Monday, May 18. I also wish to thank the many of you who donated your refund or credit to the college to use for Journey Scholarships and the Central Cares Fund. We are humbled by your generosity.


Current Central students eligible for funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act will receive funds once federal disbursement guidelines are resolved. The act provides emergency aid to federally eligible current students for expenses related to disruptions caused by the pandemic.

Central Cares Fund

We continue to accept applications to the Central Cares Fund to help students navigate barriers created by COVID-19. This fund is made possible by donations. If you are in need of assistance, please fill out the application. We will review and respond to you promptly.

COVID-19 Class

Don’t forget current students are invited to join a special remote learning course this summer called An Interdisciplinary Conversation on COVID-19. We are very grateful to the nearly 20 faculty and staff members who are working together to offer this course to stay connected to our students. Every participant who completes the course will receive two credits toward their academic work at Central at no cost. Classes will be held from 6-8 p.m. Thursdays from May 28 to Aug. 6. If you are interested in this course, please register by May 22.

Summer Visits

In the past few weeks, the State of Iowa has begun to lift restrictions. Informed by the latest guidance from local, state and federal officials, I am pleased to share the college will begin offering in-person visits to campus for prospective students beginning June 1. We have implemented a number of safety measures to help protect visitors and the Central community.

Fall Opening

We continue to focus on how we will restart campus for the Fall 2020 semester. Many members of the Central community are developing our return-to-work and in-person instruction plans. Be assured we are strategically considering all scenarios to allow for learning on campus while following all appropriate guidance and health recommendations. As always, our Central family is the focus of this work so that we may ensure every member of our community is safe and healthy. I will communicate information about these plans when they are finalized.

Homecoming and Commencement

I wish to once again extend my congratulations to the members of the Class of 2020. Hoo-Rah! We are very proud of you! Please share your home graduation celebrations with us by posting on social media with #CentralGrads2020 and #BeyondCentral. In light of the exceptional circumstances of this semester, we continue to work on plans to hold Commencement on Sunday, Sept. 27, following the college’s Homecoming. Please mark your calendars and plan to come to campus to help us celebrate the incredible accomplishments of our graduates as well as enjoy a Homecoming that will be more special than ever. We continue to monitor state and local guidelines and will provide details about our plans around these events later this summer.

In closing, I hope you and your family are staying as healthy and safe as possible. Moving forward it is my intent to communicate with you as needed to share updates about the work we are doing to return to campus safely. Thank you for your hard work and dedication this semester.

Go Dutch!

Mark Putnam

COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that can cause several symptoms including fever, coughing, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. Central College is closely monitoring the outbreak of 2019 Novel Coronavirus, also being called COVID-19, and following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other authorities. This is an evolving world health situation. Please check with the CDC and this page regularly for updates on the COVID-19 situation and Central’s response.