Max S. Hawkins

41BA Service 1987

Max S. Hawkins, 41BA, was a tireless champion of the University of Iowa for nearly 50 years. When he arrived in Iowa City as a 22-year-old freshman in 1937, he had one suit of clothes, two dollars, and a commitment to report to the S.U.I. football team. Though he earned glory as a guard on the legendary Ironmen team of 1939, the legend surrounding Max Hawkins grew throughout his lifetime and now extends far beyond the football field.

In 1948, Hawkins returned to his university as field secretary for the Alumni Association and was one of the architects of the organization in the years of its rejuvenation. He also helped form the Old Gold Development Fund, which became the UI Foundation. It wasn't long before Hawkins' distinctive qualities led to his principal role as a liaison between the university and the Iowa General Assembly.

For many years he was the UI's chief spokesman in the rotunda and hearing rooms of the Iowa State House, Hawkins also represented Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa with only slightly lesser enthusiasm. His irrepressible efforts over some 30 years of representing the interests of the Board of Regents brought many millions of dollars of additional support to the state universities.

Max Hawkins established a lofty standard for honesty and ethical behavior as director of State Relations. His uncanny memory of fiscal details and his knowledge of the finances of our state enabled him to emerge year after year with more friends and more money for his alma mater.

On the final night of his final legislative session in November 1981, both houses passed legislation authorizing the construction of the west campus hospital access road, a road that was soon after dedicated as Hawkins Drive.

Max Hawkins was able to represent alumni in a very sensitive, high-stress context for many years. His openness in keeping other lobbyists and interest groups informed, his unwavering loyalty to the University of Iowa, and his self-effacing support of policies established by the administration and faculty of his institution earned him respect from all, even those with opposing interests.

Max Hawkins' death on December 12, 1986 was a deep personal loss for his family, friends, and colleagues, but the afterglow of his efforts on behalf of higher education and the University of Iowa continues. Throughout the state, Max Hawkins remains the personification of the University of Iowa, the quintessential Hawkeye.

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