DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI AWARDS NOMINATION INFORMATION


Recognizing Our Alumni Successes

The University of Iowa Distinguished Alumni Awards Committee—which includes members of our Alumni Leadership Council—aims to recognize a broad range of qualified candidates who embody the university’s core values by honoring them with Distinguished Alumni Awards. The committee selects an annual recipient in each of the following categories:

  • The Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award recognizes graduates or former students who demonstrate significant accomplishments in their business or professional lives as well as distinguished service to their university, community, state, or nation.
  • The Distinguished Alumni Service Award recognizes graduates or former students who demonstrate specific and meritorious service to their university, community, state, or nation.
  • The Distinguished Alumni Hickerson Recognition Award recognizes graduates or former students for outstanding contributions to their alma mater. This award is named in honor of the late Loren Hickerson (40BA), the university’s first full-time alumni director and an ardent UI champion.
  • The Distinguished Recent Graduate Award recognizes graduates or former students, age 40 or younger at their time of nomination, for significant accomplishments in their business or professional lives as well as for distinguished service to their university, community, state, or nation.
  • The Distinguished Friend of the University Award recognizes individuals who are not alumni for specific and meritorious service that enhances and advances the university.
  • The Distinguished Faculty Award recognizes retired or former faculty for significant achievements and for specific meritorious service that enhances and advances the university. Nominees need not be alumni.
  • The Distinguished Staff Award recognizes retired or former staff for significant achievements and for specific meritorious service that enhances and advances the university. Nominees need not be alumni.

NOMINATION FORMAT

Graduates, former students, faculty, staff, and friends of the University of Iowa may make nominations (the Distinguished Alumni Awards Committee reserves the right to reassign nomination categories, if deemed applicable). Nominators should submit the following:

  • Cover letter that states the nomination category, endorses the candidate’s qualifications, and highlights how the nominee embodies the UI's core values
  • Nominee's vita or professional résumé, including a current address
  • Three or more letters of recommendation from other individuals who support the nomination
  • Any additional information that would further substantiate the nomination

EXCLUSION FROM ELIGIBILITY

Current members of the University of Iowa Center for Advancement’s board of directors and staff, members of the Alumni Leadership Council, and current university faculty and staff are not eligible to receive these awards.

AWARDS TIMELINE

Nominations for the 2023 awards will close on January 31, 2023. The Distinguished Alumni Awards Committee will meet in April 2023 to review all nominations and make the annual selections. Distinguished Alumni Awards will be presented at a special ceremony on the Friday before the University of Iowa’s Homecoming (October 2023).

MAIL NOMINATIONS TO:

The University of Iowa Center for Advancement
Distinguished Alumni Awards
One West Park Road
Iowa City, Iowa 52244

For more information, email Nici Bontrager or call 319-467-3607.

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So many of the lessons Helverson learned from head coach Hayden Fry stick with him to this day. "The little things make a big difference, and that's extremely important when you officiate," says Helverson. "Team building, of course, is an important part of football, and it's important for our seven referees on the field and our person in the replay booth to work well together. We spend a lot of time preparing for the season and preparing for every game. For me, it's important to know my position and own my position on the field." Helverson recently sat down with Iowa Magazine to discuss Iowa football and his rewarding career as an official. Iowa was 36-12-1 during your four years at Iowa. What are some of your favorite memories? The memory people remember the most is the ruled no catch in the back of the end zone during the No. 1 Iowa vs. No. 2 Michigan game in Iowa City in 1985. Coach Fry always liked to tell everyone that game was the reason I became an official. It's kind of karma that I'm an official now. How did you get into officiating? I met a guy named Bob Holliday, who was a Big Eight official at the time. He knew my background and told me that I'd make a great official. At the time, I had no desire to be an official. I was working with a friend of mine as an assistant football coach at Des Moines North High School. Fast forward, my friend Tom O'Boyle took a new job with Des Moines Roosevelt High School and couldn't take any assistants along with him. I had Bob's phone number, called him up, and he told me I was refereeing Iowa State's spring football scrimmage the next day and wouldn't take no for an answer. I went out and bought a referee's shirt, pants, shoes, socks, and a hat, along with a whistle and a flag. I fell in love with it. I started working high school games and worked my way up before getting a shot in the NFL. What makes officiating enjoyable for you? Everything. No two games are the same, but every game is a challenge and has a different feel. One week might involve a great running team, next week might be a great throwing team, or the following week you might have two teams that aren't very good. There are so many challenges every week. Can you walk us through a typical week as an NFL official? Each week, we get a situational test that we're required to do. They get more complicated every week. In addition, we all do some scouting of both teams prior to traveling to the game site on Friday. We will look at offensive and defensive formations and just prepare for anything that a team might do that is unusual or unique. On Saturday, we will meet for three hours as a crew. We talk about rules, video review, the prior game, the upcoming game, and then go out for dinner as a crew on Saturday night. On Sunday, we arrive at the stadium three hours prior to kickoff. We walk the field to see if there is anything dangerous to the players?for instance, holes in the field or TV stands too close to the action. We meet with the chain gang. We meet with the timers. We have security meetings. And then we play the game. After the game, we get a thumb drive, which is the TV version of the game. I'll spend whatever time I have on the airplane watching the game?watching every position of every play. I critique the game myself, but the NFL also critiques every play of every game and gives us a grade for the game. And then we do it all over again. What are your favorite officiating memories? I've worked a lot of championship games, and that's something that brings me a lot of pride. Super Bowl 42 is a pretty good memory?undefeated New England Patriots against the New York Giants. I was the calling official on the David Tyree one-handed helmet catch late in the game that helped the Giants upset the Patriots. Outside of the three Super Bowls, I officiated the 2000 college football championship between Oklahoma and Florida State. Prior to having my first Super Bowl, I worked a great AFC championship game between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. I also had the first game after Hurricane Katrina at the Superdome in New Orleans; that was a crazy game and those fans made it a tremendous environment. I also worked in arena football for 13 years and had three championships, along with three Alonzo Stagg bowls (Division III championship games) and many high school championship games.

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