Iowa Senator Tom Harkin (D-Cumming) is credited with providing a $500,000 earmark for Simpson College to help create a John C. Culver Public Policy Center.The Culver policy center will be open to the Simpson community, along with the Indianola public.Professor of Political Science John Epperson is very optimistic about what the center represents. He said that it will serve for civic engagement and education while paying tribute to Senator Culver, Gov. Chet Culver’s father.Of the $500,000 from Harkin’s efforts, Epperson said a large portion of funding will come from the Department of Education. This gift will be put toward the support of programming in the center.”The use of the money as an endowment for the center or direct spending has not been determined yet,” Epperson said. “It will not be used to construct a space for the center.”So far, fund raising efforts have come from multiple people and groups, including Harkin and his staff. “This will not only benefit Simpson students but also the wider community in Iowa,” Professor Epperson said.Steve Griffith, vice president and dean of academic affairs, hopes the new center will bring good things to the community. He says that the project is coming together through the help of many caring individuals. “Along with money from the college and gifts from donors, some money will come from an appropriation from the U.S. government,” Griffith said.Epperson said the new Culver Center doesn’t have an official building or designated area yet, but there is a skeleton office set up on fourth floor Mary Berry for backup purposes. Epperson and Griffith are working to break ground and get the center underway. Epperson said that the creation of the center hasn’t begun yet and a start date has yet to be announced, as the project details are still being hashed out.Junior Steven Ramsey has been helping with the project and hopes that it will be up and running soon.”The Culver Center is about promoting political activism and the importance of involvement of students in their communities, cities, states government and yes, the world,” Ramsey said.Ramsey has high hopes for the center and thinks that it would be very beneficial not just for Simpson students, staff and alumni, but also the general public. He says that it will be a great way for others to really learn how the government affects them as well as others around them and what they can do to participate in political events.Ramsey believes Simpson having its own center would improve the college’s profile, while standing out among other Midwest colleges and universities.
“Getting something like this at Simpson is a dream come true for someone who loves politics and is interested in the people of this country,” Ramsey said. “Even if you’re not as excited about politics as me, or you’re on a difference political side than me, we can still agree that having something like this at Simpson would be beneficial.”