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Encyclopedia > Coe College

Coe College

Motto "Veritas Virtusque" (Truth and Virtue)
Established 1851
Type Private
President James R. Phifer
Faculty 80
Undergraduates 1,300
Location Cedar Rapids, IA, USA
Campus 50 acres
Nickname Kohawks
Affiliations Presbyterian Church (USA)
Website http://www.coe.edu/

Coe College is a private four-year liberal arts college located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It was founded in 1851, and is historically affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Its current president is James R. Phifer. It is one of the smaller universities to have a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. It is one of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM). The ACM is comprised of 14 academically excellent, independent liberal arts colleges located in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Colorado. Member schools are among the oldest, most prestigious undergraduate institutions in the region, and each has a distinctive identity and set of traditions. At the same time, the ACM colleges share many characteristics, especially a fundamental commitment to the liberal arts as the best preparation for life, employment and contributing to society. A motto (from Italian) is a phrase or a short list of words meant formally to describe the general motivation or intention of an entity, social group, or organization. ... The date of establishment or date of founding of an institution is the date on which that institution chooses to claim as its starting point. ... 1851 (MDCCCLI) was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Friday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Private schools, or independent schools, are schools not administered by local, state, or national government, which retain the right to select their student body and are funded in whole or in part by charging their students tuition rather than with public (state) funds. ... University President is the title of the highest ranking officer within a university, within university systems that prefer that appellation over other variations such as Chancellor or rector. ... A faculty is a division within a university. ... In some educational systems, undergraduate education is post-secondary education up to the level of a Bachelors degree. ... Nickname: Location in the State of Iowa Coordinates: , Country United States State Iowa County Linn County Incorporated 1849 Government  - Mayor Kay Halloran Area  - City  64. ... Capital Des Moines Largest city Des Moines Area  Ranked 26th  - Total 56,272 sq mi (145,743 km²)  - Width 310 miles (500 km)  - Length 199 miles (320 km)  - % water 0. ... The athletic nickname, or equivalently athletic moniker, of a university or college within the United States of America is the name officially adopted by that institution for at least the members of its athletic teams. ... Emblem of the PC(USA) The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) or PC(USA) is a mainline Protestant Christian denomination in the United States. ... A website (alternatively, Web site or web site) is a collection of Web pages, images, videos and other digital assets that is hosted on one or several Web server(s), usually accessible via the Internet, cell phone or a LAN. A Web page is a document, typically written in HTML... Liberal arts colleges in the United States are primarily liberal arts colleges with an emphasis upon undergraduate study in the liberal arts. ... Nickname: Location in the State of Iowa Coordinates: , Country United States State Iowa County Linn County Incorporated 1849 Government  - Mayor Kay Halloran Area  - City  64. ... 1851 (MDCCCLI) was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Friday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Emblem of the PC(USA) The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) or PC(USA) is a mainline Protestant Christian denomination in the United States. ... The Phi Beta Kappa Society is an honor society which considers its mission to be fostering and recognizing excellence in undergraduate liberal arts and sciences. ... The Associated Colleges of the Midwest, ACM, is a consortium of fourteen leading liberal arts colleges located in Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. ...



Amstrong/Douglas Hall

Coe College claims the shortest name of any American institution of higher education, but the school has actually carried five titles through its history. When the Rev. Williston Jones founded the college in 1851, he called it The School for the Prophets. Cedar Rapids’ first resident minister opened the parlor of his home to a group of young men with the goal of educating them for the ministry to serve churches in the Midwest.

Sinclair Auditorium, Coe College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Two years later, while Jones was canvassing churches in the East for money to send three of his students to Eastern seminaries, a Catskills farmer named Daniel Coe stepped forward with a pledge of $1,500 and urged Jones to start his own college in the frontier town of Cedar Rapids.

Legend has it that the $1,500 raised by Coe was brought from New York west, sewed into the petticoat of a lady visitor traveling by stagecoach to Iowa. Coe gave this generous gift with the stipulation that the proposed institute should be "made available for the education of females as well as males." Accordingly, Coe was coeducational from its founding.

With Jones' blessing, the Cedar Rapids Collegiate Institute was incorporated in 1853 by a group of Cedar Rapids leaders chaired by Judge George Greene. They used Daniel Coe's money to purchase two downtown lots for the school and 80 acres of farmland on what was then the edge of town. The farm would evolve into today’s campus.

In 1868, the trustees renamed the school Parsons Seminary in a failed attempt to secure the Lewis Parsons estate. After a period of severe financial difficulties, the institution was reestablished in honor of its original benefactor as the Coe Collegiate Institute in 1875.

Nassif Admission House

T.M Sinclair, founder of the Sinclair Meat Packing Company, played the key financial role in the final step toward the firm establishment of Coe College. Sinclair liquidated all the debt from Parsons Seminary and the Cedar Rapids Collegiate Institute. The Sinclair gift made it practical for the property of the Coe Collegiate Institute - including the original land paid for by Daniel Coe - to be transferred to Coe College with the Iowa Presbyterian Synod to assume major responsibility for the institution.

Coe College has operated continuously since its incorporation under that name on Feb. 2, 1881. From the first, the college was committed to intellectual excellence. It has continued in this tradition ever since.

The compact campus on the east edge of Cedar Rapids grew with many building projects in its early years, including Old Main (1868), Williston Hall (1881), Marshall Hall (1900), the first gymnasium (1904), and the first T.M. Sinclair Memorial Chapel (1911).

In 1907, Coe earned accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Universities. Over the decades, Coe’s reputation as a superior liberal arts college has continued to grow. One recognition of this came in 1949, when Coe was granted a Phi Beta Kappa chapter, a distinction reserved for fewer than five percent of all American colleges and universities.

Central to the educational philosophy of Coe College is the belief that a liberal arts education is the best preparation for life. Students have the opportunity to experience a variety of subjects outside their respective programs of study. Coe offers more than 40 areas of study that cover a range of fields. The college awards the following degrees: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Bachelor of Music (B.M.), and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.). A Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) may also be earned.

There are a number of factors that contribute to Coe College’s strong academic quality. The key to Coe’s tradition of excellence in academic quality relates directly to small class sizes and the interest shown by professors to make learning a personalized experience. At Coe, the average class size is 16, and the student-faculty ratio is 13:1. Classes are taught by our involved and committed faculty, 95 percent of whom hold the highest degree in their field. This means classes are taught by experienced professionals who have in-depth knowledge of their subjects.

Along with quality instruction from superb faculty, Coe offers an abundance of out-of-class opportunities including student-faculty collaborative research, honors projects and internships, to provide students with a well-rounded experience and solid preparation for the future. Within six months of graduation, 98% of Coe graduates are working or in graduate school.

Greene Hall

Since 1989, Coe has nearly doubled in size with the addition of the east campus. New facilities on east side of College Drive include Clark Racquet Center and athletic fields (1989), Clark Alumni House (1993), Nassif Admission House (1999), and four student apartment buildings (Morris House and Schlarbaum House in 2000, Brandt House and Spivey House in 2002).

McCabe Hall (2005), named in honor of former Coe President Joseph E. McCabe houses the offices of the president, dean of faculty, and advancement and alumni relations, making way for the remodeling of Coe’s oldest building, Stuart Hall, and the first significant addition of classroom space since Peterson Hall was built in the 1960s.


Coe offers more than 40 majors: Accounting, African-American Studies, American Studies, Art, Asian Studies, Athletic Training, Biochemistry, Biology, Business Administration, Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics, Education, English, English as a Second Language - ESL, Environmental Science, French, French Studies, Gender Studies, General Science, German, German Studies, History, Historical Studies, Interdisciplinary, Literature, Mathematics, Molecular Biology, Music, Nursing, Philosophy, Physical Education, Physics, Political Science, Pre-Professional Programs, Psychology, Public, Relations, Religion, Sociology, Spanish, Spanish Studies, Speech, Theatre Arts, Writing.

Coe College awards the following degees:

  • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
  • Bachelor of Music (B.M.)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.)

Coe College also offers the Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T)

Stewart Memorial Library

Image:Stewart memorial library.jpg
Stewart Memorial Library - Coe College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Stewart Memorial Library houses more that 202,000 books and other materials. There is also a wide variety of artwork displayed in the Stewart Galleries, featuring the paintings of Grant Wood. The library includes carrels, tables, group study rooms, honor thesis study areas, comfortable couches and chairs, microcomputer and non-print media work stations, viewing rooms and a classroom. Also located in the library are two computer labs.

Stewart Memorial Library was renovated and expanded in 1989 through a generous grant from the Hall Foundation. The original building was a gift from Colonel Robert W. Stewart, chairman of the board of Standard Oil company, in 1931.

National Rankings

Coe is recognized by a variety of widely respected college ranking publications. U.S. News & World Report regularly includes Coe in its "America's Best College's" publication, which ranked Coe tied for 95th among national liberal arts colleges in its 2007 edition. Coe is also included in the latest editions of The Princeton Review's "361 Best Colleges" and "Peterson's Guide to Selective Colleges." Barron's "300 Best Buys in College Education" ranks Coe as "Very Competitive."

Department of Music

Coe College is known for a strong Department of Music, with a long history of excellence. Approximately one out of every four students participates in music each year. Dr. William S. Carson is chair of the Department of Music, which has been accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) since 1962. Performing ensembles include a concert band, concert choir, a chamber choir (known as Crimson & Gold) women's chorale, jazz band and orchestra. There also is a student-led drumline that operates independently of the music department. The department sponsors chapters of two musically oriented social fraternities, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and Mu Phi Epsilon. The ΦΜΑ Sinfonia (usually referred to as Sinfonia rather than ΦΜΑ) is a collegiate social fraternity for men of musicianly character. ... Mu Phi Epsilon (ΜΦΕ) is a co-ed international professional music fraternity and honor society. ...

Greek life

Coe has an active Greek social community; four men's fraternities and three women's fraternities (sororities). The groups, all of which are chapters of national organizations, include fraternities Lambda Chi Alpha, Sigma Nu, Phi Kappa Tau and Tau Kappa Epsilon; and sororities Alpha Omicron Pi, Alpha Sigma Alpha and Delta Delta Delta. Other Greek organizations once existed at Coe, but those chapters have gone dormant, including Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity, and Alpha Xi Delta and Chi Omega sororities. ΛΧΑ (Lambda Chi Alpha), headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, is one of the largest mens general fraternities in North America with more than 250,000 initiated members and chapters (called Zetas) at more than 300 universities. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... ΦΚΤ (Phi Kappa Tau) is a U.S. national college fraternity. ... Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE or Teke, pronounced T-K-E or IPA , as in teak wood) is a college fraternity with chapters in the USA, and Canada, and affiliation with a German fraternity system known as the Corps of the Weinheimer Senioren Convent (WSC). ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Alpha Sigma Alpha (ΑΣΑ) is a US national sorority founded on November 15, 1901 at Longwood College (now University) in Farmville, Virginia. ... Delta Delta Delta (ΔΔΔ), also known as Tri Delta, is a national collegiate sorority founded on November 27, 1888. ... Alpha Sigma Phi (ΑΣΦ, commonly abbreviated to Alpha Sig) is a social fraternity with 68 active chapters, colonies, and interest groups. ... Alpha Xi Delta (ΑΞΔ) was founded in 1893 by ten women at Lombard College, Galesburg, Illinois, who shared a vision of an organization dedicated to the personal growth of women. ... Chi Omega (ΧΩ) is the largest womens fraternal organization in the National Panhellenic Conference. ...

Writing Center

Coe's Writing Center is one of the largest undergraduate writing centers in the nation. There are about 65 students on staff for the 2006-2007 academic year. Its director is Dr. Robert L. Marrs, rhetoric professor.


The attractive Coe campus, located near the center of Cedar Rapids, has doubled in size in recent years with the addition of new apartment-style residential facilities. The campus features a newly renovated dining hall with multiple food stations, an expanded Stewart Memorial Library, a well-equipped science facility and a modern fine arts center. Coe's oldest building — Stuart Hall — was recently rejuvenated to create nearly 36,000 square feet of new and renovated classroom space, laboratories and faculty offices. The renovation has produced a traditional interior look combined with the latest technology and amenities to create an inviting and highly functional academic environment to serve Coe students.

Notable alumni

Marvin Daniel Levy (born August 3, 1925 in Chicago, Illinois) is currently the General Manager and Vice President of Football Operations for the Buffalo Bills. ... The Pro Football Hall of Fame is the hall of fame of the National Football League (NFL). ... City Orchard Park, New York Team colors Navy blue, light blue, Red, light Red, White, Royal, and Nickel Head Coach Dick Jauron Owner Ralph Wilson General manager Marv Levy Mascot Billy Buffalo League/Conference affiliations American Football League (1960-1969) Eastern Division (1960-1969) National Football League (1970–present) American... The term general manager is a descriptive term for certain executives in a business operation. ... Fred Jackson (born February 20, 1981 in Forth Worth, Texas) is a running back for the Buffalo Bills of the NFL. Fred Jackson played his college football at Coe College, a Division III school in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. ... Fran Allison (b. ... Kukla, Fran and Ollie was an early television show using puppets, originally created for children but soon watched by more adults than children. ... Paul Engle (1908-1991) was a noted American poet, writer, editor, and novelist. ... Bill Fitch (born 1935) is an NBA coach who has been successful in making teams playoff contenders throughout his coaching career. ... James Good James William Good (September 24, 1866 November 18, 1929) was an American politician from the state of Iowa. ... Fred Hickman is an anchor for ESPN. In 1977, Hickman began his broadcasting career as a news anchor at KLWW-AM in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. ... ESPN, formerly an acronym for Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, is an American cable television network dedicated to broadcasting sports-related programming 24 hours a day. ... Jason Kottke (born September 27, 1973) is a well known American blogger and former web designer currently living in New York City. ... Edward Alsworth Ross (1866-1951) was an American sociologist and a major figure of early criminology. ... William Lawrence Shirer (1904 - 1993), U.S. historian & journalist. ...

External links

  • Official site
  • Unofficial alumni network

  Results from FactBites:
Coe College - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (229 words)
Coe College is a private four-year liberal arts college located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Coe College is known for a strong Department of Music, with a long history of excellence.
Coe • Cornell (Iowa) • Dubuque • Loras • Luther (Iowa) • Simpson • Wartburg
  More results at FactBites »



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