Pella Chronicle

October 15, 2010

Inauguration set for next week

The Chronicle

Pella — The Central College community welcomes students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni and friends to celebrate the installation of the college’s 21st president. The inauguration of President Mark L. Putnam is Friday, Oct. 22, at P.H. Kuyper Gymnasium on Central’s campus at 2 p.m. A post-inauguration reception follows on the lawn east of the Ron Schipper Fitness Center.

Central College’s inaugural year theme, Horizons of Opportunity, gives the Central College family a unique occasion to think broadly and deeply about the college’s past and present and explore the potential range of interests that could help define the future.

Keeping the focus on Central College, Putnam will speak about rediscovering academic community in his inaugural address titled “Enduring Values.”

“This is a celebration about Central College and its future,” said Putnam. “We have a responsibility to sustain our heritage and roots of this institution in order to make a difference in the world through our students.”

Helping the college celebrate the inauguration of Putnam will be Central alumnus Harry Smith, co-anchor of CBS “The Early Show;” David Wesselink, board of trustees chair; Rev. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, general secretary of the Reformed Church in America; and delegates from higher education institutions. The Central College A Cappella Choir, College-Community Orchestra and Symphonic Wind Ensemble will also perform.

Putnam previously served as senior vice president for executive affairs, chief of staff and chief planning officer at Northeastern University in Boston, Mass., where he held a succession of leadership roles over 10 years. He also held key senior administrative appointments and positions at Connecticut College, Alliance Theological Seminary (N.Y.), Pace University (N.Y.) and Nyack College (N.Y.), where he began his career in higher education as an admission counselor.

Putnam earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from Nyack College and Master of Arts, Master of Education and Doctor of Education degrees at Teachers College, Columbia University (N.Y.), focusing on organizational theory and leadership in higher education.

His career in higher education has concentrated on strategic planning and organizational effectiveness. He has been a frequent lecturer, conference presenter and consultant on strategy formation, change management and leadership. Often Putnam has been an evaluator for reaccreditation teams, served in the leadership of several national projects in higher education, and taught as an adjunct assistant professor at Teachers College, Columbia University, in the areas of organizational theory and the literature of higher education.

A talented writer, Putnam has had many articles published and also launched a blog titled “Mark: My Words” on Central’s website Follow Central College President Mark Putnam on Facebook and Twitter.

He and wife Tammy have two daughters, Emma, a sophomore at Northeastern University (Mass.), and Greta, an eighth grader at Pella Middle School.

Rather than focusing on solely the inauguration this year, Horizons of Opportunity is a collaborative learning experience with events and activities throughout the year anchored by an intellectual framework that calls the college community to imagine a future that is rooted in creativity, innovation and sustainability. Other upcoming inaugural year events include Ellen Bryan Voigt, poet-in-residence, Thursday, Nov. 4, in Cox-Snow Recital Hall at 7:30 p.m.; Kevin Doyle, president of Green Economy, Wednesday, Nov. 10, in Cox-Snow Recital Hall at 7:30 p.m.; and Recycled Percussion Saturday, Nov. 20, in Douwstra Auditorium at 8:30 p.m. For a listing of inaugural year events, go to

Central College is a private, coeducational, four-year, residential liberal arts college in Pella offering 39 majors along with pre-professional programs and advising. Central was recognized in U.S.News & World Report’s annual rankings of the best liberal arts colleges in the nation. Central’s study abroad program was included in the programs to look for section.