Mark Putnam, President
Mark Putnam is in his eighth year as president of Central College in Pella, Iowa, a private, liberal arts college founded in 1853. Central is known for its academic rigor and strength in global experiential learning, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), sustainability education, athletics success and tradition, and leadership and service.
Mark is active in local, regional, and national efforts to advance education, and promote economic and community development. He is the current chair of the Iowa Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (IAICU) board of directors and previously served as a member of the national student aid committee for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU). He has been appointed by the Governor of Iowa as a commissioner on the Iowa College Student Aid Commission, and as a member of the executive committee of the Iowa Governor’s STEM advisory council and the executive committee of the Future Ready Iowa Alliance. Mark serves as president of the board of directors for the Pella Area Community and Economic (PACE) Alliance, is a member of the board of directors for the Greater Des Moines Partnership, and is a member of the Greater Des Moines Committee. Additionally, he serves on the boards of the Iowa College Foundation, Iowa Campus Compact, and the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
A regular speaker and presenter, Mark is also a talented writer and has been published in various places including the Trusteeship, Chicago Tribune, Inside Higher Ed, Change, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Perspectives, The Des Moines Register, Cedar Rapids Gazette, The Department Chair, The Sport Digest and D3sports.com among others.
Mark previously served as senior vice president for executive affairs, chief of staff and chief planning officer at Northeastern University in Boston, Mass., where he filled a succession of leadership roles. He also held key senior administrative appointments and positions at Connecticut College, Alliance Theological Seminary (N.Y.), Nyack College (N.Y.) and Pace University (N.Y.), and began his career as an admission counselor at Nyack. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from Nyack, and Master of Arts, Master of Education and Doctor of Education degrees at Teachers College, Columbia University (N.Y.).
He and his wife Tammy live in Pella, and have two daughters, Emma and Greta, who both live in the Boston area.
About Central College
Founded in 1853, Central College of Pella, Iowa, is a private, residential four-year liberal arts college known for its academic rigor and strength in global experiential learning, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), sustainability education, athletics success and tradition, and leadership and service. Central continues to value its long-standing relationship with the Reformed Church in America that began in 1916. The college participates in NCAA Division III athletics and is a member of the Iowa Conference. Central is an active part of the Greater Des Moines region and just two minutes from Lake Red Rock, Iowa’s largest lake.