President, Central College
Mark Putnam is in his sixth 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 a member of the executive committee of the Iowa Governor’s STEM advisory council and is on the immigration council of the Greater Des Moines Partnership where he also served on the board of directors. He serves on the national student aid committee for NAICU, as secretary for IAICU, and is on the Iowa College Foundation’s board, the Greater Des Moines Committee, and is a member of the higher education working group for the Council on Foreign Relations.
A talented writer, he authors a widely read column, Mark: my words. He has been a regular contributor to The Des Moines Register’s A Better Iowa and has been published in various places including the Chicago Tribune, Inside Higher Ed, Change Magazine, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Perspectives, Cedar Rapids Gazette, The Department Chair, The Sport Digest and D3sports.com
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 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. Daughter Emma is a 2013 graduate of Central now living in Boston, Mass. Daughter Greta is attending St. Louis University.