William M. Wiebenga, 80, former president of Central College, died Feb. 19 in Carmel, Indiana.
Wiebenga was appointed the 19th president of Central College in 1990 and served in that position until 1997. While at Central, he also held the title of professor of philosophy.
Wiebenga graduated from Calvin College with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and English. He also earned master’s and doctoral degrees in philosophy from Yale University. He began his career teaching at American University. He later served as dean of the college of arts and sciences at American University and Texas Christian University. Immediately prior to his role at Central, he was the provost of Wittenberg University.
During his tenure at Central, Wiebenga initiated several important efforts. According to a news release at the time he left Central, Wiebenga developed a comprehensive five-year strategic plan to support the college’s systematic growth. In addition, during his presidency the college implemented a semester calendar, established a new core curriculum and put into effect a different residence life program structure. He also created a revised fundraising agenda for the college and the Central Market, the college’s innovative campus dining facility, was constructed during his service to the college.
While living in Pella, Wiebenga was active in several community organizations, including Pella Opera House, the Pella Area Development Corporation, the Pella Chamber of Commerce and the Pella Rotary Club. He also served on the Hawkeye Bank of Pella board of directors.
Born on Feb. 11, 1938, in Burlington, Wisconsin, Wiebenga married Audrey Stanton on June 22, 1962. After stepping down from the presidency at Central, he and Audrey retired to Carmel, Indiana, where he continued his commitment to learning and serving the community by volunteering on the Carmel Clay Public Library Board.
Wiebenga is survived by Audrey, three children and five grandchildren. Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, at Orchard Park Presbyterian Church in Carmel. Condolences may be sent to Audrey at 472 Firefly Lane, Carmel, IN 46032.