Loren L. Hickerson, 40BA, has given the best years of his life to the University of Iowa—as a student, a faculty member, the first full-time director of the UI Alumni Association, a founder and executive director of the UI Foundation, and director of Community Relations.
More than a magnificent advocate for the University, Hickerson was—and is—in love with the state of Iowa. In a prophetic series of essays he wrote for the Iowa Alumni Review in 1958, Hickerson make an articulate plea for the future, warning that the state was losing its most promising citizens for lack of opportunity. And he foresaw that farming alone could not sustain the Hawkeye state.
Hickerson's skill as a wordsmith was honed at the University of Iowa, where he earned a bachelor's degree in journalism and served two years as editor of the Daily Iowan. In 1942, he was commissioned a U.S. Navy officer and served two years as an air operations officer aboard an aircraft carrier in the Pacific.
After the war, Hickerson returned to the University, serving one year as an assistant to the director of publications and instructor in journalism before President Virgil Hancher named him director of alumni records and executive director of the UI Alumni Association. In 1957, Hickerson accepted the additional title of executive director of the UI Foundation, the University fund-raising entity organized by the Association. Nine years later, Hickerson was promoted to director of Community Relations and from 1972 until his retirement in 1980 he served as director of Arts Center Relations.
Always willing to share his considerable expertise, Hickerson served four years as mayor of Iowa City and was elected to two consecutive four-year terms on the City Council. He has served on many state and local agencies, including the Iowa League of Municipalities, the board of directors of FRIENDS of Educational Broadcasting, the Commission of Social and Economical Trends in Iowa, and the State Municipal Law Review Committee. As UI alumni director, he served on the board of directors, and then as president, of the American Alumni Council.
The Recognition Award is the second major honor the UI Alumni Association has bestowed on Hickerson; in 1982, the Association presented him with a Distinguished Alumni Service Award. A life member of the Alumni Association, Hickerson is also a member of the Old Capitol Club.