PELLA, IOWA (April 29, 2024) — Central College announces the creation of a full-tuition scholarship in the name of Shirley and Dirk Van Zante, a 1952 graduate.

"We are immensely honored by the Van Zantes for this planned gift and their decision to create this scholarship for Central students," says Sunny Gonzales Eighmy, vice president for advancement and a 1999 Central graduate. "What a beautiful legacy from an alumnus and his wife. This new scholarship brings Central's total to 37 full-tuition scholarships awarded to students each year."

The Shirley and Dirk Van Zante '52 Scholarship will be awarded to a student with a tangible Iowa connection, a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and financial need.

Van Zante grew up in Pella, where his father, Dick Van Zante, was a lawyer, graduating from Pella High School in 1948. Van Zante was a chemistry major in Central's Class of 1952. Central archives show that he was a member of Beta Kappa Epsilon, YMCA, and KEBS radio station. He participated in theatre productions and received a best-acting award for his role in The Great Big Doorstep.

After graduating from Central, Van Zante attended Drake University and earned a Doctor of Law degree in 1955. He started practicing law at Van Zante and Klyn in 1955 with his father. While working in Pella, Van Zante served as the Pella city attorney. He and his father opened their own law firm, where he practiced until 1971, when he moved to Des Moines, Iowa, to become the head of probate in the trust department of Central National Bank, now known as Bank of America. Van Zante retired in 1995.

Van Zante married Shirley Borland in 1970 and they shared 38 years together before his death in 2009. Shirley earned a Bachelor's degree from Drake University with majors in English and Journalism. She entered the magazine world and excelled, rising to the Furnishings and Design Editor of Better Homes and Gardens magazine in 1975. She remained in this role until retiring in 1989. Shirley passed in 2022.

"Generosity is a gift that opens doors for the next generation to explore their passions and new opportunities at Central," Eighmy says. "These gifts do such a world of good for so many."

Central's full-tuition scholarships also include the H S Kuyper Scholarship, P H Kuyper Scholarship, Joan Farver Scholarship, Pella Engineering Scholarship, Rolscreen Foundation Scholarships, and the Thomas Ross Smith Scholarship.

Central College of Pella, Iowa, is a private, four-year college known for its academic rigor, engaged citizenship and character formation, experiential learning, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), athletics, and service. For more information about Central College, visit

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