School considers licensing itself

by Matt Bower

The possibility of Simpson College having its own personalized license plates is causing students, faculty, staff and alumni to consider purchasing one.

“I didn’t realize that a college of our size could do something like this, but I found out that Wartburg was doing something similar,” said Coreen Witke, director of alumni relations. “So, we contacted the Iowa Department of Transportation and found out we could do it.”

According to Witke, any college is eligible to have its own license plates. One criterion that must be met before a college can get the plates is it must have a minimum request of 500 plates.

“We are currently conducting a survey to see if there’s enough interest,” Witke said. “If we find that there is, then we’ll put in a design and order the plates.”

Witke said the survey has already appeared once in Simpson Magazine and plans to add it a few more times as well as placing information about the survey in the college newsletter, The Brick and The Simpsonian.

“We will conduct the survey for the next six to nine months,” Witke said. “Then, if we get enough requests and our application is approved, we have one year to collect the money and order the plates.”

Witke stressed that the survey is just to judge how much interest there is, and no financial commitment is required.

Witke said if the college were to get the plates, their cost would be on top of the regular licensing fee. It would be $25 extra for a personalized number or $50 extra for a personalized plate.

Simpson and Wartburg are not the only small colleges that are looking at having personalized license plates; Drake University and Central College, which are also in the survey phase, are considering it.

Witke said one of the benefits of Simpson having its own license plates is to show how many people in Iowa are connected through Simpson.

“The main reason [to have them] would be school spirit,” Witke said. “It’s also one more way of advertising Simpson, but ultimately it would be a source of pride for students and alums.”

Mailroom Manager Sue Bowlin said she agrees the license plates are a good way of promoting Simpson.

“I probably wouldn’t get one because I’m not an alum,” Bowlin said.

Witke said the plates would be similar to the Iowa and Iowa State plates in that no connection to the school would be needed in order to apply for one.

Senior Christian Huntley also sees the plates as a useful advertising tool.

“I think it’s a great promotional avenue,” Huntley said. “It gets people to ask questions about the college.”

Huntley said he would get one if they were available.

“I enjoy personalized license plates,” Huntley said. “It would be a good way to show support of my future alma mater.”