Lucas Novotny '08
Lucas Novotny '08 graduated from Coe, majoring in business administration with a minor in economics. A native of Madrid, Iowa, Novotny was active in baseball, Student Activities Committee, Greek Life as a TKE, and residence life. After Coe, he went on to earn a Master's of Education degree in educational leadership and policy studies from Iowa State University and an MBA from Creighton University in Omaha.
In his current role as the assistant director of residence life at Creighton, Novotny heads the Department of Residence Life's marketing and technology efforts, as well as oversees the daily operations of the Summer Conference Program. He also leads departmental programming, advises Inter-Residence Hall Government (IRHG), and assists in departmental outreach. Novotny's educational interests include student involvement/engagement, men's identity development and technology integration. Novotny co-facilitates Creighton's Men's Leadership program (EQV), manages Creighton's Social Media Brand, BluejayLife, and coordinates Creighton's Late Night Programming Series, CU Afterdark.
Novotny credits his Coe experiences for leading to the professional opportunities he has today.
"I had an opportunity to be involved in many student leadership experiences while at Coe, and ultimately it was these involvements that led me to where I am today, quite literally," said Novotny. "The staff and faculty who provided these opportunities were tremendous influences on me. They were easily the best and most impactful parts of my Coe experience. This is why I have dedicated my giving to student affairs (improvements to Gage Memorial Union)."
As an alum who values his college experiences, Novotny believes it is important to give back to Coe.
"Coe has given me so many opportunities and contributed to the person I am today - it seems only right to give back to an institution that has given me so much. I don't contribute significantly, but it has always been about involvement for me. I want to continue to be involved in the Coe Community, and this seems like a natural way," said Novotny.
Craig Struve '70
Cedar Rapids native Craig Struve '70 is a longtime advocate for Coe who was recently elected to the college's Board of Trustees. Thanks to his generous support, the Struve Communication Center was dedicated in the fall of 2013 in honor of his parents, Howard and Mardean Struve, and to recognize his professional success in the field of communication.
After a successful business career, Struve decided to make a career change when he returned to Cedar Rapids in 1989 to care for his parents. At the age of 41, an internship with KGAN-TV led to opportunities in the television field. He became the director of television operations for Vail Resorts in Colorado and remained in that position for 18 years, retiring in 2008. His experience at Coe and a desire to honor his parents led him to support his passion for the profession of media communication. As a result, he established the Struve Communication Center to provide many resources for Coe students.
The Struve Communication Center now houses Coe's communication studies program. Over the past three years, Eby Annex has been renovated with the funding provided by Struve to bolster the facilities and equipment in the communication studies area. Specifically, the project has included extensive remodeling to create communication studies labs and classrooms, the purchase of dozens of computers and other equipment, and the creation of a permanent home for the Coe Cosmos student newspaper.
With an unwavering love for Coe, Struve offered the following sentiments, reflecting upon his own commitment to the college.
"All Coe graduates share a common bond. We went to a great liberal arts college that just keeps getting better. As alumni, we hold the key to this ongoing evolution. There is a synergy between the progression of our careers and the ability to give, in conjunction with the progress of the college as an elite institution of higher learning. In the 70s, I gave as little as $50 or $100 annually, but my affinity for the college never waned. Life and work intervened, but Coe was always in my budget. When my career ended, my love of the college was even stronger and my desire was to enhance the academic experience for generations to come. I believe Coe's priority is to raise funds so that every student accepted can afford to attend, so that Coe can attract and keep students who compete at the highest levels and make it possible for them to have an outstanding student experience.
"The Struve Communication Center honors the memory of my parents and allows students to pursue a communication studies major that will someday rival any of our competitors. A liberal arts education provides a pragmatic, broad-based approach for each student's passion while creating knowledge-based skills and critical thinking to enhance their career path. There is a strategic opportunity, a simple message if you will, for each of us. Regardless of our career path, we can all make a difference in the educational path of every Coe student. The message is simple: Help others, give back. Coe makes it possible. You make it happen."
Steve Christ '53 and Kaye Paine Christ '54
Steve and Kaye Christ have shared a love for Coe College as long as they have loved each other. As with many other Kohawk couples, the two met at a freshmen mixer on campus while they were students, and they've been together ever since. The Christs were even married on campus - in Sinclair Auditorium’s Poe Chapel - which Kaye clearly remembers accommodated 42 guests on that special day in 1954.
A native of Dixon, Illinois, Steve majored in commerce and finance. While at Coe, he was actively involved in Air Force ROTC, served as Delta Phi Epsilon president, and was on interfraternity council. Steve is proud of the fact that he worked his way through college with several jobs which served as character building experiences. After four years of service as an Air Force pilot, he joined Cherry Burrell Corporation in Cedar Rapids, where he worked for 40 years in various positions, retiring as senior vice president of operations.
Steve credits Coe with providing him with a solid education while helping him to develop good habits for life.
"A lot of my Coe experiences helped with what I did later on in life," said Steve. "All of it was important as far as my further development."
Kaye came to Coe on a voice scholarship from her hometown of Webster City, Iowa, and earned a two-year teaching certificate. While at Coe, she was an active member of Kappa Delta. Kaye taught second grade during the time Steve was in the Air Force and raised three children.
"It was the atmosphere on the campus that was so inviting. I liked the size of Coe," said Kaye.
One has to spend only a few minutes with the Christs to witness their deep love for Coe. "I'm proud to say that I'm a Coe alum," said Kaye. That affection and loyalty has led them to volunteering at various times and providing financial support to Coe’s Annual Fund. They are regular attendees at Coe events, including the annual all-alumni dinner and Marquis Series performances.
"I thought the college did a good job in the environment it furnished for students to establish some of the good traits that they benefit from later on in the life," said Steve. "So we've always tried to be very supportive of Coe."
Coe is deeply appreciative of the Christs and everyone who faithfully supports the college year after year. It is through this support that today’s students and future generations of Kohawks can continue to benefit from the Coe experience, and create special memories like the ones Steve and Kaye cherish today.