Since 1963, the University of Iowa has annually recognized accomplished alumni and friends with Distinguished Alumni Awards. Awards are presented in six categories: Achievement, Service, Hickerson Recognition, Faculty/Staff, Young Alumni, and Friend of the University.
2017 Award recipients

Stephen Corbeil
84MA Achievement 2017

Stephen E. Corbeil, 84MA, is an innovative leader of hospitals and health care systems who has charted a stable course through the industry’s turbulent changes.

During his distinguished career—which began with a role as chief executive officer of a 137-bed regional referral center, just five years after his graduation from the University of Iowa College of Public Health’s master of health administration program—Corbeil has earned a reputation as an inspiring mentor and forward-thinking executive.

For more than 25 years, he has successfully managed multiple health care organizations in numerous cities and states. He has held senior management positions with Tenet Healthcare in St. Louis and the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) in Nashville. In December 2016, he retired as president of TriStar Health, a division of the HCA comprised of 22 hospitals, nine ambulatory surgery centers, and 275 employed physicians in Tennessee, Georgia, and Kentucky. He now serves as a consultant with HCA, primarily engaged with its executive development program.

“Fundamental changes sweeping the health care arena have required health systems like those under Steve’s direction to develop new business and patient models,” says Sue Curry, the UI’s interim provost and dean of the College of Public Health. “Amid the changes and challenges, Steve has been a steady and strategic guide for the health systems he has served.”

Such guidance included the creation of new business and patient-care models; the integration of patient populations and technologies; and the expansion, renovation, and consolidation of facilities in the various communities served.

Along the way, Corbeil has stayed true to his Hawkeye roots. He is deeply connected to his alma mater, serving on the alumni board for the UI College of Public Health’s Department of Health Management and Policy from 2000 to 2012 and receiving the college’s 2011 Outstanding Alumni Award. He has been active on the college’s campaign committee, and he and his wife, Mary Kay, generously established a fellowship fund for deserving UI master of health administration students.

Corbeil is passionate about nurturing tomorrow’s health care leaders. Not only was he instrumental in developing the HCA’s executive leadership development programs, but he also has been a professional and personal mentor to many UI health management and policy students—and a preceptor for summer interns and post-graduate fellows.

“A familiar HCA saying…is that ‘good people beget good people,’” says R. Milton Johnson, chairman and chief executive officer of the Hospital Corporation of America. “This is clearly evident in Steve’s mentorship of young leaders.”

Corbeil also gives back to his community. A fellow of the American College of Health Care Executives, he has served on numerous boards and service organizations—including the board of trustees for Tennessee State University in Nashville, the Governor’s Foundation for Health in Tennessee, the Federation of American Hospitals, and the American Hospital Association.

With great insight and compassion, Stephen E. Corbeil has helped transform our nation’s health care system and ensured patients’ well-being for years to come.

Corbeil is a member of the UI Alumni Association and the UI Foundation’s Presidents Club.

Vince Nelson
Friend of the University 2017

Vince Nelson is an enthusiastic University of Iowa champion who shared the Hawkeye spirit with countless alumni and friends during his 26 years at the helm of the UI Alumni Association (UIAA).

Under his leadership, the UIAA thrived, growing its membership to an all-time high of more than 52,000 and introducing programs that reflected Nelson’s deep passion for Iowa. Although he spent 20 years at Drake University in Des Moines—first as a student and then as a faculty member and director of alumni relations—Nelson devoted the bulk of his career to the UI, and he was its loyal promoter.

In 1997, UI President Mary Sue Coleman appointed Nelson as executive director of the UIAA, following his 18-month stint as interim executive director. “Vince was the kind of leader who was enormously important for a strong and effective association,” says Coleman. “He worked to reflect the voice of the alumni, but he also clearly understood that the university has many constituencies.”

Nelson found innovative ways to connect with these many groups. When he joined the UIAA, its IOWA Clubs did not yet exist; however, within months, he had helped establish several in Iowa and surrounding states. Today, the clubs are among the most popular of the UIAA’s programs, celebrating the Hawkeyes in 53 U.S. cities and 15 international locations.

“The familiar slogan, ‘Once a Hawkeye, Always a Hawkeye,’ which so resonates with Hawkeye fans around the country, can be traced directly to Vince Nelson and his relentless and enthusiastic support for the University of Iowa,” says Ron Steele, a past chair of the UIAA board. “He always focused on improving the relationship between the university and its alumni.”

Nelson, whose title changed from executive director to president in 2001, helped usher in a number of new programs and initiatives, including volunteer service trips through Iowa Voyagers and the Students Today, Alumni Tomorrow organization (now known as the Future Alumni Network). He also forged stronger links between the UIAA and its campus partners, including the colleges and UI Athletics.

In his time at the UIAA, Nelson oversaw the growth of the organization’s annual budget from $2.1 million to $3.3 million, and he increased its staff from 18 to 27. The alumni association also won 33 national awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE)—including the prestigious CASE national gold medal for overall alumni relations—during his tenure. Nelson was a member of CASE, Big Ten Alumni Executives, and the Council of Alumni Association Executives (CAAE).

As UIAA president, Nelson hosted numerous UI Homecoming programs, in addition to a variety of alumni events and Hawkeye Huddles across the country. “I valued the opportunity to meet so many wonderful alumni and friends of the university through all of our programs,” says Nelson, who retired in 2014. “I will always be proud to wear the black and gold and to embrace the history and heritage of this great institution.”

Through his energy, humor, and hard work, Vince Nelson ensured that the UI Alumni Association was a trusted partner for the University of Iowa—and a true friend to legions of Hawkeye fans.

Nelson is a member of the UI Alumni Association’s Directors’ Club Honors Circle and the UI Foundation’s Presidents Club.

Phil Currie
62BA Achievement 2017

Philip R. Currie, 62BA, brought the news to life for countless readers, thanks to his cutting-edge work in the field of journalism and mass communication.

From his earliest days as editor of the University of Iowa’s student newspaper to his later years as senior vice president of news in Gannett’s U.S. publishing division, Currie’s journalistic integrity made him a pacesetter for an entire industry.

“Phil brought forward-thinking practices to the often arcane world of journalism, insisting on professionalism, accuracy, and honesty,” says Michelle Foster, president of Media Management and Marketing and a former colleague of Currie’s. “He strongly believes that a newspaper’s content should reflect the communities it serves, in all their rich diversity.”

Throughout his four decades in the business, Currie pushed for positive changes in news reporting. His emphasis on quality journalism in local communities brought ethical reporting to the fore, and he established criteria for ensuring that newsrooms embraced diversity in their hiring practices.

Such values stem back to his UI educational experiences, which shaped his exemplary career. “I learned the basics of good journalism while attending Iowa—in classes and on the Daily Iowan,” says Currie. “That foundation has served me throughout my career and provided me with the direction to support ethical and balanced reporting and editing.”

An esteemed journalist, Currie directed the coverage of the Attica State Prison riots in Attica, New York, which led to two reporters from the Rochester Times-Union winning a 1971 Pulitzer Prize. Later as a corporate news executive, he went on to craft a pioneering ethics policy for the Gannett newspaper division that prohibited the use of unnamed sources (except in rare circumstances). This policy was the first of its kind in corporate newspaper journalism and became a model for similar policies at other news organizations. Currie also helped lead the transition of Gannett newsrooms from a print- to digital-first emphasis until his retirement in December 2008.

Currie is a staunch defender of the First Amendment, and this commitment has driven his many personal and professional accomplishments. Not only did he focus on fact-based and watchdog journalism during his years with Gannett, but he also has been deeply involved with the Newseum Institute. A national organization based in Washington, D.C., the institute promotes, explains, and defends free expression and the five freedoms of the First Amendment. Currie was appointed to its board of trustees in 2016.

In addition, Currie chaired the American Society for Newspaper Editors’ diversity committee and has served on the advisory boards for the Morgan State University School of Global Journalism and Communication in Baltimore and the Penn State College of Communications. He is also a member of the professional advisory board for the UI School of Journalism and Mass Communication, where he established a student scholarship and was instrumental in raising money for a new facility. The school inducted him into its hall of fame in 2014.

With a passion for strong news coverage, a deep commitment to diversity, and an unwavering belief in First Amendment responsibilities, Philip Currie has made an indelible mark on the nation’s rich journalistic tradition.

Currie is a member of the UI Alumni Association’s Old Capitol Club and the UI Foundation’s Presidents Club.

Rosebud Roberts
90MS Achievement 2017

Rosebud Roberts, 90MS, is a highly regarded scientist whose pioneering research in the field of dementia and mild cognitive impairment could benefit millions worldwide who suffer from such conditions.

The professor of epidemiology and neurology and chair of the division of epidemiology has spent more than 20 years at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, but she began her career far from there, in her home country of Ghana. She earned a medical degree from the University of Ghana Medical School in 1982 and then completed a master’s degree in preventive medicine and environmental health in 1990 at the University of Iowa.

Roberts’ work has had a profound impact on clinical care and national decision-making related to aging and cognitive impairment. She studies how specific diseases—such as diabetes, hypertension, smoking, heart disease, and high cholesterol—and dietary habits might affect the risks of developing mild cognitive impairment and dementia.

“Anything that is worth doing is worth doing well,” she says. “I’m driven by a desire for my research to make a difference in people's lives.”

A highly published scholar and dedicated mentor, Roberts has been author or co-author of more than 160 peer-reviewed publications and has influenced the careers of numerous graduate students, research and clinical fellows, and junior faculty. She has served as a reviewer for several medical journals and has presented at dozens of national and international meetings. In addition, she has served on study sections of the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense, as a member of the American Academy of Neurology Science Committee, and as associate editor of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Colleague and fellow physician Ronald Petersen has worked with Roberts since 2004, when she joined the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging as its epidemiologist. He says that “she was instrumental in the design of the study protocols, and her continued involvement has been crucial to the overall success of the study. Her work is highly respected and frequently cited by investigators in the field.”

Such impressive contributions have earned Roberts recognition throughout her career. In 1981, she received the University of Ghana Medical School Award for an elective in internal medicine at the Royal Victoria Infirmary at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England. She was the recipient of the Kellogg Fellowship at the UI in 1989, and in 2015, she received the UI College of Public Health’s Outstanding Alumni Award and also was inducted into the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health.

Beyond such professional accolades, Roberts also is an active member of her local community. She acted as a Rochester, Minnesota, facilitator for the American Anthropological Association’s project RACE: Are We So Different? and routinely presents her own research to seniors in the area.

“[Roberts’] humility and scholarly attitude make her a role model for all of us,” says Peterson. “She is a prime example of the type of scholar one expects from the University of Iowa.”

From Ghana to the Midwest, Rosebud Roberts has found meaningful ways to enhance medical scholarship, and she continues to conduct first-rate research that can dramatically improve people’s lives.

Roberts is a member of the UI Alumni Association’s Old Capitol Club.

Margaret O'Connor Stessman
84BS 12MBA Achievement 2017

Margaret “Peg” O’Connor Stessman, 84BS 12MBA, has used her nursing skills and hard-won business acumen to create a company that combats fraud and waste within the Medicare and Medicaid system.

The savvy entrepreneur is founder, CEO, and chair of StrategicHealthSolutions, a business that was born in 1997 and came fully to life in 2005. Today, Stessman has grown her firm to encompass two locations, in Nebraska and Maryland, and 250 employees—with revenues of $40 million.

Stessman’s start-up success began with her nursing degree at the University of Iowa, which set her on the path to a career as a nurse and hospital administrator. She eventually took on the role of a quality assurance administrator for the state of Nebraska, overseeing its Medicaid Managed Care Program, and went on to join IntegriGuard in 1999, moving up through its ranks to become CEO.

Her decision to launch a business prompted Stessman to return to her alma mater for an MBA degree. The two-time UI graduate is also a loyal Hawkeye athletics fan dedicated to both of her colleges. She is a member of the Tippie Advisory Board and offers critical counsel to the Henry B. Tippie College of Business dean. Says Stessman: “Receiving a portion of my education from Tippie, and now having a hand in guiding its future, is a great honor for me.”

Stessman has created hands-on projects for students in the MBA Business Solutions Center and has spoken to both UI business and nursing students. She was the keynote speaker at the 2012 Women in Business Leadership Conference, as well as a panelist at #TippieWomen Summit.

“Peg provides generous financial support to both of her UI colleges, but for the CEO of a successful start-up company, time is more valuable than money,” says Tippie Dean Sarah Gardial. “Peg’s true measure of loyalty to the UI is her gift of engagement.”

This ability to connect with and mentor others is one of Stessman’s greatest talents. Not only does she apply it in her own business, establishing a “CEO Chat” program that allows employees to meet with her informally, but she also uses it in her many civic roles. She is deeply involved with the Omaha Salvation Army Kettle Club and served on the board of directors of the Nebraska chapter of the Entrepreneurs Organization (EO).

“Peg’s willingness to share both her accomplishments and struggles has helped the business owners in our forum,” says Chris Andersen, EO member and SunCo president. “Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely job, but Peg made me feel like I wasn’t alone.”

Stessman also knows how to rally others to worthy causes. She and her husband, Dennis, have established a trust that matches employee donations to the charities of their choice. To date, more than 100 charities have been supported through this program. She has served on the Salvation Army’s Tree of Lights Cabinet, participates in the Salvation Army’s Adopt-a-Family program, and donated jerseys to a local basketball team.

Whether she is supporting local initiatives, giving back to her alma mater, or working alongside colleagues, Peg Stessman brings the best of both her UI degrees to the business of being a leader.

Stessman is a member of the UI Alumni Association’s Old Capitol Club and the UI Foundation’s Presidents Club.

Kevin Gruneich
80BBA Service 2017

Kevin Gruneich, 80BBA, was able to attend college thanks in part to others’ generosity, and now he uses his own Wall Street success to help hundreds of University of Iowa students pursue their dreams.

Known as one of the top publishing analysts in the world, Gruneich retired in 2004 from a senior leadership role at the Bear Stearns Companies. However, he remains actively engaged in private business ventures and serves on several corporate and philanthropic boards. He and his wife also administer the Kevin and Donna Gruneich Charitable Foundation, which focuses on education, religion, and environmental protection—and on helping the underprivileged.

The Park City, Utah, resident, who earned an M.B.A. degree in finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, got his start in finance and industrial relations at the UI. “The undergraduate years are so important,” he says. “What one experiences, learns, and practices during college…is key to attaining life goals.”

This belief is what has inspired Gruneich to help open doors for students at Iowa. The Gruneichs’ foundation helped fund the UI’s new business hub, a study center now under construction at the Henry B. Tippie College of Business. For the past 11 years, Gruneich has also been instrumental in underwriting the Iowa Edge—a program that provides orientation, programming, community building, and counseling support for Iowa’s minority and first-generation college students.

“Like Kevin Gruneich, I did not have any big advantages growing up,” says Jose Diaz, a student at the Tippie College of Business, who graduates this year and will work for J.P. Morgan Chase & Company. “With the help of the Iowa Edge program, I submerged myself in the UI’s wonderful culture and became heavily involved with student organizations. My parents, who never went past the sixth grade, still can’t believe the strides that one generation in our family has made through the help of Iowa and Kevin Gruneich.”

Gruneich has helped students such as Diaz attend college and has inspired a new generation of philanthropically minded graduates. Gruneich played a key role in launching and underwriting the Fundraising and Philanthropy Certificate Program in the UI School of Journalism and Mass Communication. This program, one of the few undergraduate philanthropy studies programs in the nation, helps students from all majors prepare for careers—and leadership roles—in the nonprofit sector.

“I am just beginning to return the investment others have made in me,” Gruneich explains. “I believe the students I help will eventually be there to help others, creating a virtuous cycle that will improve the university, the state, and society as a whole.”

In addition to his work in nurturing and mentoring students, Gruneich also has been a member of the University of Iowa Foundation’s board of directors since 2006 and serves on its investment committee.

In all that he does, both personally and professionally, Kevin Gruneich demonstrates a deep understanding of the power of philanthropy—and the importance of “paying it forward” for University of Iowa students.

Gruneich is a life member of the UI Alumni Association and a member of the UI Foundation’s Presidents Club.

James Hayes
64JD Service 2017

James “Jim” P. Hayes, 64JD, has tirelessly pursued a vision to keep renowned American Gothic artist Grant Wood’s legacy alive at the University of Iowa—and far beyond.

A highly regarded attorney and passionate arts advocate, Hayes has dedicated himself to ensuring a better understanding of, and appreciation for, Iowa’s most famous artist. And Hayes’s quest has brought a vital community back to life on the UI campus.

The Grant Wood Art Colony grew out of Hayes’s purchase of a house at 1142 East Court Street in Iowa City in 1975. This landmark residence was Grant Wood’s home while the artist was on faculty at the University of Iowa, and as Hayes worked to restore the historic property, he began to imagine a way to honor Wood’s “Iowa Idea” of connecting studio artists and art history scholars.

In partnership with the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the School of Art and Art History, Hayes turned his brainchild into reality in 2011, and today, he serves as chair of the colony’s national board of advisors. The Grant Wood Art Colony nurtures creative work and teaching in disciplines associated with Wood, including studio and performance art and art history. It brings Grant Wood Fellows—artists-in-residence—to the School of Art and Art History, the Department of Theatre Arts, and the Department of Music, and it also hosts a biannual Grant Wood symposium and state outreach efforts.

“This community of artists and scholars has become a major force, with artistic energy and global reach,” says Sean O’Harrow, who is the former director of the UI Museum of Art and current director of the Honolulu Museum of Art.

To help ensure a lasting home for the colony, Hayes—who envisions a vibrant cultural hub of interconnected living quarters, studios, and gardens—plans to bequeath his residence and its four surrounding properties to the university, upon his death. “It is my wish that it be a cultural center…a living place of activity, of people talking and doing things and meeting one another,” says Hayes. “That’s what it is now, and that’s what I’d like it to continue to be.”

His path from UI student to benefactor included roles as the Iowa deputy commissioner of public safety and as the first director of the Iowa Crime Commission. He also worked with Meardon, Sueppel, Downer, and Hayes before going on in 1999 to establish his own firm, Hayes Lorenzen Lawyers.

Throughout these career changes, Hayes has remained deeply invested in Iowa. He serves on the university’s Realizing Educational and Career Hopes (REACH) advisory board, which helps students with cognitive and intellectual disabilities learn to live independently. He also has filled multiple volunteer roles for the UI Museum of Art, serving on its advisory, building, and envisioning committees, as well as on its members council.

Like the artist and UI faculty member who inspired him, Jim Hayes has used his time and talent to create a vibrant artistic community here that will enrich the student experience for generations to come.  

Hayes is a member of the UI Alumni Association’s Old Capitol Club and the UI Foundation’s Presidents Club.

Phillip Mayberry
67BSIE Service 2017

Phillip O. Mayberry, 67BSIE, is a true Hawkeye, through and through, and he has channeled his passion for the University of Iowa into a lifetime of good works on its behalf.

When Mayberry first arrived on the UI campus—following in his siblings’ footsteps—he made a conscious decision to take full advantage of the student experience. He attended everything from football games and lectures to dances at the Iowa Memorial Union. He also worked in the residence halls and in his fraternity house to help cover the costs of attending the UI College of Engineering.

After graduating from Iowa with a degree in industrial engineering, Mayberry landed a position as a sales engineer with Fisher Controls Company, and he later joined Emerson Process Management in Marshalltown, Iowa. Though he recently retired from Emerson as vice president of sales-marquee accounts, he continues to work part-time for the company as director of customer events.

Mayberry’s early lessons in networking and engagement are what keep him so involved with the university now. He has been on the UI College of Engineering advisory board since 2000 and was a key member of its enrollment management committee, which helped the college dramatically increase its numbers. Mayberry also plays a key role in helping recruit new students to the college.

“Phil is consistently a positive and enthusiastic supporter of the university and college—and a tremendous ambassador,” says Robert E. Kress, a partner at Accenture who chairs the UI College of Engineering’s advisory board. “When students are considering Iowa for engineering, he is supportive and explains the strengths of the college. He has maintained relationships with many of these students he helped recruit, and he provides career guidance and mentoring.”

Not only does Mayberry serve as a mentor for students, but he also helps some of them attend college, thanks to the Phillip O. Mayberry Engineering Scholarship for deserving undergraduate students from the state of Iowa.

His commitment to supporting new Hawkeyes extends beyond the College of Engineering. Mayberry is an avid fan of UI athletics, and as the longtime president of the Marshall County I-Club, he has organized many large annual spring banquets and inspired two of his friends to establish fully endowed scholarships for Hawkeye student-athletes.

In addition, Mayberry has secured generous sponsorship support for the Polk County I-Club Senior Dinner in Des Moines—an annual event that helps Hawkeye student-athletes connect with business leaders from throughout the state. He is also a past member of the UI Alumni Association’s board of directors.

Such efforts earned Mayberry the 2004 Volunteer of the Year Award from the National I-Club—and a recent nomination to the National I-Club board of directors. “Phil is one of the most animated ‘Go, Hawks’ cheerleaders for student-athletes, coaches, and the entire Hawkeye nation,” says Alec Scranton, dean of the UI College of Engineering. “He has defined the very meaning of ‘service’ for his alma mater.”

From one-time student to successful volunteer, Phil Mayberry has helped ensure that the University of Iowa remains a vibrant and welcoming place.

Mayberry is a member of the UI Alumni Association’s Old Capitol Club and the UI Foundation’s Presidents Club.


Thomas Wickham Jr.
90BA, 94JD Service 2017

Thomas J. Wickham Jr., 90BA, 94JD, is only the fifth person since 1928 to sit to the right of the Speaker of the House and advise lawmakers on procedural matters and precedent when the United States House of Representatives is in session.

As parliamentarian of the U.S. House of Representatives, Wickham is central to the working of the government, and he brings his University of Iowa experiences to bear in providing nonpartisan advice to members of Congress. He also responds year-round to legislative inquiries from committees working on bills.

Former Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) appointed Wickham to this important role in 2012, though the UI attorney first joined the parliamentarian’s office in 1995 and became deputy parliamentarian in 2005.

Throughout his 22 years on the job, Wickham has worked with five Speakers of the House. One of the biggest challenges of his position is to maintain neutrality—and in turn gain the trust of the representatives. However, Wickham has a reputation on both sides of the aisle for fairness.

“Tom’s role is to guide members of Congress through the processes of the House without prejudice,” says Nicole Gustafson, a UI graduate who worked with Wickham in Congress. “He is known throughout the Capitol as a fair arbiter and advisor who closely guards the traditions of the House with integrity and a quick wit. He performs his job under immense pressure, often called upon to make a split-second decision that will have a lasting impact.”

The Office of the Parliamentarian consists of six attorneys and three clerks, and the parliamentarian must be present on the floor at all times while the House is in session. Wickham frequently works 10- to 15-hour days during these periods, and when the House is not in session, he and his team continue to research procedural issues and compile parliamentary precedents.

“I get to work with my counterparts in other countries, and I see what a leader the U.S. is around the globe. Many countries use our system as a model, and that’s an inspiration to me,” says Wickham, who is passionate about civic education.

When he has the time, Wickham takes students on tours of the Capitol and works with interns from the Washington Center, a program in which he participated as a UI student. He also conducts seminars with the military’s National Defense University.

“Many law schools boast about their federal judges or members of Congress. Only one school gets the honor of having an alum as parliamentarian,” says Jill DeYoung, assistant dean and chief of staff for the UI College of Law. The college recognized Wickham for his commitment to his country by awarding him the 2014 Iowa Law Alumni Award for Service.

Eric Witte, longtime chief of staff to Congressman Dave Loebsack (D IA-2), says of Wickham, “Having an Iowan with his finger on the pulse of how the House operates has been invaluable. Having someone with Iowa kindness is even better.”

His “Iowa kindness” and UI experiences have helped Thomas Wickham Jr. navigate one of the government’s most demanding roles with exceptional skill and diplomacy.

Wickham is a member of the UI Alumni Association’s Old Capitol Club.

Dan Gable
Faculty/Staff 2017

Dan Gable is a gold medal-winning Olympic wrestler and former University of Iowa multinational championship head coach who has dramatically elevated American amateur wrestling by becoming the sport’s greatest ambassador.

After going to the mat in Munich in 1972 and famously taking the gold without surrendering a single point, Gable accepted a job as an assistant wrestling coach at the UI. This decision launched his career as the most successful head coach in American collegiate history.

From 1976 to 1997, Gable led the Hawkeyes to 15 NCAA national wrestling titles and 21 Big Ten championship titles. During those years, he coached 152 all-Americans, 45 national champions, 106 Big Ten champions, and 12 Olympians.

“When you finally decide how successful you want to be, you’ve got to set priorities,” says Gable. “In 25 years as a head coach and assistant, I think I might have missed one practice. Why? Because practice was my top priority.”

This ethos guided Gable’s work as an Olympic head coach on three different occasions—in 1980, 1984, and 2000. His 1984 Olympic team, which featured four Hawkeye wrestlers, won seven gold medals. He also served as head coach of the World Team for six different years.

“The UI has been blessed with many outstanding faculty, staff, and students who have been national, and even international, icons in their endeavors,” says UI Athletics Director Gary Barta. “Such is the case with Dan Gable and wrestling. He stands in his own class.”

Gable has been the subject of several ESPN and HBO documentaries, and has been named to the U.S.A. Wrestling Hall of Fame, the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. In June 2002, President George Bush appointed him to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.

Recent accolades include being named top wrestler of the 20th century by Gannett News Service and one of ESPN’s top coaches of the 20th century. In 1996, Gable made the list of “100 Golden Olympians,” which honors the top 100 U.S. Olympians of all time, and during the 2012 Olympic Games, he was inducted into the elite FILA Hall of Fame Legends of the Sport. In 2015, Gable added New York Times best-selling author to his impressive résumé with the publication of his memoir, A Wrestling Life: The Inspiring Stories of Dan Gable. From his childhood in Waterloo to the pressures of the Olympic stage to coaching the Brands brothers, Gable offers an intimate glimpse into his personal life—including the people and experiences that shaped his indomitable, resilient spirit.

When the International Olympic Committee decided in 2013 to drop wrestling as one of the core sports of the 2020 Olympics, Gable was instrumental in reversing the decision later that year.

“Dan Gable’s name works magic in many circles…and carries with it his enduring association with the University of Iowa,” says Mike Chapman, a former sports editor of the Gazette in Cedar Rapids.

Thanks to Dan Gable’s uncompromising talent and grit, both on and off the mat, Iowa’s most successful coach has become a legend in the world of wrestling.

Nancy Frank Hauserman
76JD Faculty/Staff 2017

Nancy Frank Hauserman, 76JD, spent more than three decades at the University of Iowa as a leader and scholar who invested in worthy causes, created new opportunities, and helped change students’ lives.   

The retired professor, associate dean, and ombudsperson has had a profound effect on the university in all her roles. Throughout her years on campus, she exemplified what it means to be a mentor, an innovator, a feminist, an academic, and an activist.

After finishing law school and working in the legal field, Hauserman accepted a position as a lecturer and visiting professor in what is now the UI Henry B. Tippie College of Business. She became a full professor in 1995 and also took on various leadership roles in the university, including as associate dean of the college’s undergraduate business program. Though she retired in 2013, Hauserman still teaches MBA students in Hong Kong and Italy.

A strong believer in the importance of undergraduate education, Hauserman was instrumental in developing a number of student-focused programs at Tippie, including the Hawkinson Institute for Business Finance, the Tippie Early Admission Program, the Tippie Senate, and the Tippie Young Alumni Board—which became a model for other UI colleges.

Amanda Miller, a 2002 UI business graduate, worked closely with Hauserman as a student in establishing the young alumni board. Miller remains close to her former professor: “I trust her advice. She never tells me which road to take, but instead helps me evaluate the options so I can be confident in my own decision. My hope is that, one day, someone will admire and respect me as much as I do Nancy Hauserman.”

UI graduates such as Miller also have Hauserman to thank for launching the Judith R. Frank Business Communication Center. Named in honor of Hauserman’s mother and funded by her father, this center—one of the first of its kind in the nation—helps undergraduate students improve their writing and public speaking skills.

Such innovative contributions extend beyond the Tippie College of Business. Hauserman also used her expertise in the areas of whistleblowing, women and employment law, and business ethics to play a pivotal part in several research projects for the university’s Council on the Status of Women, which gathered data about incidences of sexual harassment on campus.

Additionally, she was a fellow of the UI Center for Human Rights and served on the Diversity Review Task Force, the Year of the Arts and Humanities steering committee, and the national steering committee for the UI Foundation’s Good. Better. Best. Iowa. fundraising campaign. She currently serves as president of the UI Retirees Association.

For her commendable work at Iowa, Hauserman has received such accolades as the Michael J. Brody Award for Faculty Excellence in Service, the Jean Jew Women’s Rights Award, and the Hancher-Finkbine Medallion.

Karla Miller, former executive director of the UI Rape Victim Advocacy Program, for which Hauserman was a volunteer emergency advocate and board member, says “Nancy strives to live her life by the tenets she teaches others.”

An extraordinary teacher and role model, Nancy Hauserman has helped shape a new generation of business leaders—and an improved University of Iowa community.

Hauserman is a life member of the UI Alumni Association and a member of the UI Foundation’s Presidents Club.

Nancy Humbles
97MA Faculty/Staff 2017

Nancy J. Humbles, 97MA, has been a strong advocate for diversity and equity at the University of Iowa, and she helped forge new paths for students of color and other underrepresented groups on campus.

As the founding creator and retired director of the UI Center for Diversity and Enrichment, Humbles was instrumental in establishing programs that provide a welcoming climate for students, faculty, and staff from marginalized communities. She also fostered meaningful personal connections with students who were navigating the ins and outs of college for the first time.

“Nancy had a keen ability to connect with individual students,” says John Laverty, a senior associate director of the UI Office of Admissions. “She helped them succeed, and she took many of them under her wing, without fanfare, to help them maximize their personal potential and keep moving forward each day.”

Such guidance came naturally to Humbles, who earned a master’s degree in student development in postsecondary education from the UI College of Education while working at Iowa.

She first joined the UI in 1990 as an academic planning counselor in Special Support Services and then as an advisor in the UI Henry B. Tippie College of Business. As the assistant director of advising at Tippie, she developed the Student Incentive Program, a summer program for minority and first-generation students. She also served as multicultural affairs coordinator and interim program coordinator for Opportunity at Iowa.

In 2007, Humbles became the director of the UI Center for Diversity and Enrichment. “That is my favorite UI memory because it validated all of my hard work,” she says. In this role, she coordinated outreach opportunities and resources for underserved students from diverse backgrounds, including students of color, first-generation college students, and students from low-income families.

Tevin Robbins was one such student—and credits Humbles with helping to shape who he is today. Robbins was an Advantage Iowa Scholar and a single-parent student at Iowa; now he is the assistant director for student leadership development at Tippie—and he says Humbles made that possible. “The impact she made on my life could never be repaid,” says Robbins. “She pushed me to pursue graduate school, and she even persuaded me to join her in her field, serving college students.”

Since retiring from the UI in 2015, Humbles has widened her reach as a community volunteer. She was elected as the first African American to serve on the Cedar Rapids Community School District Board of Education in 2009 and was re-elected in 2013. She is president of the Area Substance Abuse Council, volunteers on the United Way Healthy Solutions committee, co-chairs the African American Museum of Iowa’s History Makers Gala, and serves as the finance chair at Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Cedar Rapids. Humbles also previously co-chaired the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Freedom Fund Banquet and served as a board member for Four Oaks in Cedar Rapids, president of the Jane Boyd Community House in Cedar Rapids, and president of the UI African American Council.

Through her steady guidance and unwavering belief in personal potential, Nancy Humbles has helped countless University of Iowa students achieve their academic dreams.

V.C. Patel
Faculty/Staff 2017

V.C. Patel is a world-renowned engineering professor who profoundly influenced the field of fluid mechanics—and the lives of his University of Iowa students.

Born in Kenya and educated at London and Cambridge Universities, Patel arrived at the UI in 1971 and quickly established himself as one of the leading experts in hydraulics and computer simulation. He became a full professor in the College of Engineering in 1975, and his expertise in boundary-layer theory, turbulent shear flows, wind engineering, and ship hydrodynamics helped Iowa take the lead in solving crucial fluids-engineering problems.

Throughout his four decades on campus, Patel also filled a number of important administrative roles during critical junctures in the college’s history. He was the departmental officer of mechanical engineering, director of the Center for Computer Aided Design (CCAD), director of IIHR—Hydroscience and Engineering, and chair of the Engineering Faculty Council.

His most significant of these positions was his directorship of IIHR, a highly regarded center for education, research, and public service focused on hydraulic engineering and fluid mechanics. During a decade of leadership, Patel implemented many forward-looking changes.

“V.C. ushered IIHR into the 21st century,” says Larry Weber, IIHR’s current director. “He also oversaw the creation of a new research station on the Mississippi River and initiated a study-abroad class, ‘International Perspectives in Water Resources Planning.’ His changes laid the groundwork for the broad-based, diverse research that now characterizes IIHR.”

In spite of his many administrative duties, Patel still found time to work closely with students, and he supervised 32 doctoral students who completed their degrees. “His former graduate students have filled the campuses of the most prestigious universities worldwide,” says Karim Abdel-Malek, UI engineering professor and director of the Center for Computer-Aided Design. “The most extraordinary and remarkable observation is that V.C. has remained in touch with almost all of his previous students.”

Patel is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, as well as a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Society of Engineering Education, and the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers. He has authored or co-authored four books and more than 200 publications, and has presented at nearly 200 lectures and seminars. He was a United Nations consultant in India from 1992 to 1994, and in 1995, he was a USAID consultant to Egypt.

Such accomplishments earned Patel numerous awards and honors, both off campus and on. He became a UI Foundation Distinguished Professor in 1990 and the Edwin B. Green Chair in Hydraulics in 2000. He also received an honorary doctorate from the Technical University of Civil Engineering in Bucharest, Romania—among many international honors—and was one of three UI recipients of the 1994 Iowa Regents Faculty Excellence Awards. He retired from the UI in 2007.

A quintessential academic leader and mentor, V.C. Patel’s globally important work has guided aspiring engineers and enhanced the University of Iowa’s distinguished reputation.

Doug True
71BS Faculty/Staff 2017

Doug True, 71BS, has a head for numbers and a steady hand, and he used these talents to expertly guide the University of Iowa for 27 years—most notably through the devastating flood of 2008.

Throughout his exceptional career, True played a crucial role in managing the university’s finances and advising four presidents and three interim presidents. He also provided leadership and counsel to thousands of UI employees and helped new collegiate deans effectively navigate the campus culture.

“There was no better employer than the UI,” says True. “Where else can a person serve students, patients, and faculty, all in one place?”

He managed to do all of that—and more—during his UI tenure. After graduating from Iowa with a degree in chemistry, True earned a master’s degree in business administration from Drake University. He then worked for the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, before returning to the UI campus in 1988 as treasurer. True quickly rose to the position of vice president for finance and operations in 1991 and senior vice president and university treasurer in 2005.

“For Doug True, stepping onto campus always felt like coming home,” says UI Foundation President Lynette Marshall. “He eagerly anticipated each new project and relished the opportunity to advance the university through innovative initiatives.”

This was especially true of his work in the aftermath of the flood of 2008, one of the most challenging economic periods in UI history. He was instrumental in helping to rebuild campus and partnered closely with insurers, as well as state and federal officials, to advance major building renovations and replace those facilities damaged by the floods.

“Doug earned the deepest respect from his colleagues during the crisis of the flood in 2008,” says P. Barry Butler, former UI executive vice president and provost. “His subsequent oversight of the recovery has resulted in the UI having one of the finest campuses in the country.”

True also helped guide the UI Foundation, becoming a charter member of the joint UI and UI Foundation development committee and serving on the search committee for UI Foundation President Lynette Marshall. He is a generous UI philanthropist, and following his retirement in 2015, the chemistry department named its building’s entrance in his honor.
After his retirement, True accepted a special one-year assignment as an advisor for UI flood recovery and investments. This position allowed him to assist university leaders in transition.

“Doug has provided the UI with decades of fiscal integrity, informed vision, essential continuity, and unmatched commitment,” says UI President Emerita Sally Mason, who worked closely with True during Iowa’s flood recovery efforts. “He has deep institutional knowledge, a sharp mind, and wise counsel.”

Thanks to his innate wisdom, financial acumen, and exceptional loyalty, Doug True helped the University of Iowa flourish during a time of great challenge and opportunity.

True is a member of the UI Alumni Association’s Old Capitol Club and the UI Foundation’s Presidents Club.

Steven Davis
01BS, 03MS Young Alumni 2017

Steven Davis, 01BS, 03MS, developed a groundbreaking software program for his master’s thesis that served as the foundation for a thriving company enabling advanced life science research.

The journey began at the University of Iowa, where Davis, the president and co-founder of Bio::Neos, got his professional start. He received academic all-Big Ten honors as a member of the Hawkeye men’s gymnastics team and worked as a research assistant in the College of Engineering’s Coordinated Laboratory for Computational Genomics.

“As a student, Steve was brilliant. His raw intelligence set him apart from his peers from the first time I met him,” says Thomas Casavant, who was Davis’s UI professor and advisor—and now is his business partner. “He started conducting research in high-performance computing, machine intelligence, and genetics while still an undergraduate, and by the time he finished his master’s degree, his thesis software embodied solutions to myriad problems in human genetics research.”

This complex and integrated software system, TrAPPS, lets clinicians and human genetics researchers sift through billions of pieces of information to discover genomic variations that account for hundreds of blinding eye diseases. It also allowed Davis to launch a successful business venture. “I like to create things, whether that means software to help researchers, new jobs, or my business itself,” he says. “I’m motivated to create things that improve our world.”

Davis and his partners, who won the John Pappajohn New Venture Business Plan competition in 2003 and the Storer Entrepreneurial Business competition in 2004, established Bio::Neos, in the Bedell Entrepreneurship Learning Laboratory (BELL)14 years ago.

Today, their company—which is located in the BioVentures Building on Iowa’s Oakdale Campus—writes customized software that allows life sciences companies to analyze large volumes of data. David Conrad, the UI assistant vice president for economic development, says, “Steve’s work is very valuable to researchers inside the University of Iowa and at biotechnology companies across the globe.”

Not only does Bio::Neos benefit researchers, but it also helps students. His firm regularly recruits UI graduates for both internships and full-time positions, and Davis was a charter member of the College of Engineering young alumni advisory board and currently serves as a member of the College of Engineering advisory board.

Davis has shared his story with thousands of UI entrepreneurial students; judged numerous student business plan competitions; and mentored students in the BELL, the UI Venture School, and the Student Accelerator. In addition, he was the main instructor in the Dev/Iowa Bootcamp, a foundational web application development course. He also finds time to teach STEM Innovator curriculum as a Tippie College of Business adjunct lecturer, as well as to serve as an officer of the Hawkeye Endurance Athletic Team, a nonprofit triathlon club that he co-founded.

Through his leadership, hard work, and inspired thinking, Steve Davis has helped pave the way for the game-changing innovators and entrepreneurs who will follow in his footsteps.

Davis is a member of the UI Alumni Association.

Join our email list
Get the latest news and information for alumni, fans, and friends of the University of Iowa.
Iowa Stories
Iowa Alumni Magazine
Explore the May 2018 edition of the Iowa Alumni Magazine.