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2021 Year in Review

Our favorite and most popular stories of 2021


It was a year filled with challenges and triumphs. In 2021, we navigated the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, gathered as a family to celebrate commencement and homecoming and watched students, faculty, staff and alumni make remarkable achievements. Here are our favorite and most popular stories of 2021.


alt textStudent, professor help create ‘butterfly beer’ at Indianola brewery

Dec. 6, 2021 – Some combinations are made for each other. Peanut butter and jelly. Biscuits and gravy. Beer and butterflies? A Simpson College student and professor collaborated with West Hill Brewing Company to make this unique combination a reality. Read more.

alt textDebate team wins fourth national championship

March 22, 2021 – The 2020-21 Simpson College debate team continued its dominance on the national stage, winning the Pi Kappa Delta National Debate Championship. The title is the third in a row and fourth in five years for a program that didn’t exist a decade ago. Read more.

Simpson College women's basketball teamWomen's basketball team wins conference championship, completes perfect season

March 15, 2021 – The Storm women’s basketball team completed a historic season with a dramatic overtime win against Coe to win the American Rivers Conference Tournament Championship. Simpson finished 12-0 in the pandemic-shortened campaign, the only unbeaten team in program history. Read more.

Window in the Storm Athletics suiteStorm athletics announces new sports, facility upgrades

The Simpson College athletic department announced the addition of four new sports and significant facility upgrades. New sports that will begin competition in 2022-23 include men’s and women’s gymnastics, men’s volleyball and women’s wrestling. Facility upgrades include a new HVAC system in Cowles Fieldhouse, the relocation of the Luther Hill Wrestling Center to Hopper Gymnasium, new turf and a resurfaced track at Buxton Stadium and the addition of turf infields at the baseball and softball facilities. 

Stage for the Simpson College 2021 spring commencement ceremonyCollege earns top 15 national rankings for earnings, service from Washington Monthly

Sept. 30, 2021 – Simpson College lived up to its reputation as one of the nation’s most prestigious liberal arts colleges with top-15 rankings for earnings and service in Washington Monthly’s 2021 College Guide and Rankings. Read more.

Investment photoStudent investment portfolio reaches $1 million

Dec. 22, 2021 – Students enrolled in Econ 338 gain real-world investment experience by managing a sub-portfolio of the College’s endowment. This fall, the portfolio reached $1 million. Professor Mark Juffernbruch said lots of small schools have a similar course, but as a simulation. “That’s something unique for institutions of our size. This isn’t Monopoly money, these are real assets.” Read more.

Voting signCollege sets record for student voting during 2020 election

Nov. 1, 2021 – Simpson College set a new institutional record for student voting during the 2020 presidential election, rising to 75.3% despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Simpson also set records with a student voter registration rate of 92.4% and a voting rate among registered students of 81.4%. Read more.

Simpson College campus with studentsFour students earn scholarships from Principal

Sept. 27, 2021 – Emily King, Peter Walkwitz, Katie Oosterhuis and Spencer Moon were named Principal Scholars for the 2021-22 academic year. Each student, all of whom major in fields related to STEM or accounting, receives $5,000 from Principal and mentorship from a Principal employee. Read more.

Drone image of Simpson College's Smith ChapelSimpson becomes nation’s third college to align with Reconciling Ministries Network

June 21, 2021 – President Marsha Kelliher said the decision to affiliate with Reconciling Ministries Network allows the College to “embrace our strong history with the UMC while continuing to create an inclusive community that values and respects all individual identities.” Read more.

Student counseling sessionCollege launches new online certificate program in trauma and resiliency

July 12, 2021 – Simpson College announced the addition of an online graduate certificate program in trauma and resiliency. The certificate is the first of its kind in the state of Iowa and is designed to help professionals develop self-care, social justice and crisis response skills. Read more.