Alumni Profiles     

Russell and Connie Koning Proffitt, '55, '54
 Distinguished Community Service, 2000

The Proffitts have focused on community service since earning their degrees at Park. Russell Proffitt is a 1955 alumnus with a degree in sociology and political science. Connie Koning Proffitt earned a bachelor’s degree in 1954 in religious education with a minor in science.

  In Iowa, Connie has helped train more than 200 volunteers for the Right to Read program. She was a full-time volunteer for a year in the food distribution program of the Emergency Needs Survival Committee for Linn County, Iowa. In that volunteer position she organized a warehouse, trained volunteers, ordered and distributed food to 20 sites and kept all the necessary records. She helped start the East Central Iowa Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and was on the first board of directors. She also served as president for the local chapter for two years and was elected to the National Alzheimer’s Association Board of Directors.

  She and Russell co-chair the Regional Planned Giving Committee for the Heritage Area Agency on Aging. Their goal is to establish the Older Iowan’s Fund as an endowment to help fund programs for the elderly in Iowa. Under their leadership, the Older Iowan’s Fund has raised close to $1 million in less than three years.

  Among Russell’s other activities, he wrote and developed grants for federal and state funding totaling in the millions of dollars. He helped start Iowa’s only black-owned light manufacturing corporation, Oakhill Engineering. He helped organize the Literacy Volunteer Program in Cedar Rapids. He supervised staff directors of six anti-poverty programs, including Head Start and Neighborhood Centers.

  He collaborated with the University of Iowa College of Dentistry in establishing a Geriatric Mobile Dental Unit for nursing homes. He initiated the system of Assessment and Case Management of frail elderly in Linn County, Iowa, with 14 agencies. He helped develop the East Central Iowa Alzheimer’s Association Chapter.

  He assisted eight communities in developing senior centers. He chaired a capital funds drive in Lisbon and raised $57,000 for the S.E. Linn Community Center.

  After Park College, Russell graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity. Connie taught school during this time. Russell then served churches in Poughkeepsie and Fredonia, N.Y. While in Mayville, N.Y., they became very involved in “right to read” programs.

  Russell and Connie have four children and are members of the Howard Bailey McAfee Heritage Society at Park.