New Board Members and Iowa Chair

May 28, 2020

Today, Iowa & Minnesota Campus Compact announced new board members and officer positions for terms beginning July 1, 2020. The new members will support the organization’s continued work supporting colleges and universities in advancing the civic mission of higher education. They will also help to continue the three-year strategic alliance between the two states and create a framework for increase commitment to equity.

During the alliance, Iowa Campus Compact and Minnesota Campus Compact maintain seperate boards, but they work in collaboration.  University of Northern Iowa Provost Jim Wohlpart has completed this two-year term as Iowa Board Chair. In that time he has overseen significant change and growth in the organization. We are grateful for his service. South Central College President Annette Parker will continue for another year as Minnesota Board Chair.

New Iowa Chair

Loras College President Jim Collins was recently a two-year term as Iowa Board Chair. Collins is the longest-serving president in Loras College history. Under his leadership, the college has received a number of awards for their commitment to civic and community engagement, including the Presidents’ Higher Education Honor Roll.

Jim Collins obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Finance from Loras College in 1984 and a Master of Arts degree in Higher Education from the University of Iowa in 2004. He is currently in his 35th year of service to the College, and was elected as the 26th President of Loras College in 2004.

President Collins just completed a 7-year term on the Board of Directors for the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU) and served as both its chair and treasurer. He finished his board term for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) and served as a member of its Executive Committee. In recent years, Collins served as member of the NCAA III President’s Advisory Group. He currently serves on the Seton Hall University Board of Regents and is chair of the Academic Affairs Committee and a member of the Executive committee.

In Iowa, President Collins served as Chair for the Iowa Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (IAICU). He is a member of the Executive Committee for the Iowa College Foundation and the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Presidents’ Council. In May 2015, he was elected to the Iowa Campus Compact Board of Directors.

Active within the Dubuque community, Mr. Collins serves as Past-Chair for the Greater Dubuque Development Corporation and is a former member of the Carnegie-Stout Public Library Foundation. He has served on several boards; The Board of Education for the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce, United Way and Junior Achievement. He was also a member of the development councils for Mercy Hospital and Stone Hill Retirement Center.

New Members

Both boards voted to welcome new members for three-year terms. These members represent a wealth of experience and diversity of viewpoints that will strength the organization.

Dr. Douglas J. Fiore is President and CEO of Mercy College of Health Sciences in downtown Des Moines, Iowa. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree in educational administration from Indiana State University, Master of Science in education from Purdue University and a Bachelor of Arts in education and speech arts and sciences from Hofstra University. He serves on several professional boards and committees including the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities Student Aid Commission, and the American Council on Education Council of Fellows. Locally, Fiore serves on the Boards of the American Heart Association, EasterSeals, and the Downtown Chamber of Commerce.

Natasha Lopez-Rodriguez is the Executive Director for YWCA Mankato, Minnesota. She has a wealth of knowledge in the non-profit sector. She has 9 years of higher education experience within student affairs, registration, admissions, financial aid and recruitment. She has educated the community about financial education at various non-profit organization, community centers, trade and vocational schools, churches and group homes teaching practical financial habits. Natasha is a graduate of the Hispanic Leadership Institute Class of 2018. Natasha holds MBA with the Keller School of Management and a BA in Communications from Arizona State University.

Phoebe Trepp has served since 2015 as the Executive Director of Willis Dady Homeless Services in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. During her tenure, Willis Dady grew five-fold, expanding programs, services, staff and funding to address needs in the community. Prior to her work at Willis Dady, Phoebe served as Program Development Director at Shelter House in Iowa City nd at the Appalachia Service Project in East Tennessee.


Julio Vargas-Essex is the Vice President of Student Success at North Hennepin Community College, a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. Prior to North Hennepin Community College, Mr. Vargas-Essex served as the Director of Undergraduate and Graduate Admissions at Metropolitan State University from 2012 – 2019; Director of Enrollment Management at Perpich Center for Arts Education, in Golden Valley, MN since March 2011; and, worked at Augsburg College as an Associate Director and Coordinator of Multicultural Recruitment from 2008. In his formative years, he was a Student Services Coordinator and Adjunct instructor at Rasmussen College, Eagan, Minn., and a Crisis Intervention Specialist at the Eau Claire Academy. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin–Stout and M.A. in Psychology from Metropolitan State University–St. Paul, MN.

Dr. Marjorie McGuire-Welch is currently in her seventh year at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, Iowa where she serves as the Vice President of Academic Affairs.  She has over thirty years of experience in the field of education.  She began her career teaching high school science courses.  From there she moved into teaching college biology, chemistry, and physical science at Southwestern Community College.  She also served as the Phi Theta Kappa chapter advisor for 7 years. In 2004, Dr. Welch moved into academic administration.  Prior to working at IWCC, Marge served as an academic administrator at:  Southwestern Community College, Buena Vista University, and William Penn University.  She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from William Penn College, her Master of Science degree from the University of Iowa, and her Doctoral degree from Iowa State University in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.

Recognizing Outgoing Members

This year, several members who have been critical to the success of Iowa Campus Compact have completed their terms. Dr. Dan Kinney is President of Iowa Western Community College and has been on the board for more than a decade. Since 2011, Iowa Western has also served as the organization’s fiscal agent. Additionally, Stacy Van Gorp and Lindsay Moser are leaving the board after making significant and lasting contributions through their insight. We are deeply grateful for the leadership and service of these incredible individuals.

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