Tom Gelman, 78JD, does more than practice law in his hometown of Iowa City. For many years, he has employed his careful analysis and gentle wit in many volunteer capacities in service to the University of Iowa and other community organizations.
A West High alumnus, Gelman pursued a B.A. degree in social sciences at Harvard University, graduating with honors in 1975, before returning to Iowa to pursue a degree from the UI College of Law. Despite a demanding and successful law practice with the Iowa City law firm of Phelan, Tucker, Mullen, Walker, Tucker & Gelman, he has generously volunteered both his time and his expertise to the University of Iowa.
As a member of the University of Iowa Alumni Association (UIAA) board of directors for seven years, he contributed his considerable insight and understanding. He helped lead the association to reorganize its board of directors into a more efficient body and establish a strategic planning process that continues to provide a blueprint for effective decision-making.
In a professional capacity, he serves as the University of Iowa Foundations legal counsel, while he also volunteered as a campaign leader for the foundations Hancher Auditorium Enrichment Fund. As one of only two non-university members, he represented alumni on the last UI presidential search advisory committee. He also shares his law expertise at an annual seminar for retiring university employees and as an occasional lecturer for the UI College of Law. Most recently, he appeared as a guest speaker in the Philanthropy and Law course and presented at one of the colleges continuing education programs.
His volunteerism and professionalism have earned Gelman respect and gratitude from all levels of the university community. Outside the UI, Gelman has selflessly served the broader community. Some of his current and previous volunteer activities include working with the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce, the Iowa City Public Library, the United Way of Johnson County, the Community Leadership Program, the Mercy Hospital Advisory Board, the Visiting Nurse Association of Johnson County, and the Johnson County Heritage Trust. In recognition of his 23 years of volunteer service to such organizations, the Iowa State Bar Association honored Gelman with a Community Service Award in 2001.
Gelman was also named Friend of the Year by the Iowa City Public Library and awarded the librarys Volunteer Recognition Award for his service, including two years as president of the board of trustees. He has also been honored with a Sam Walton Community Leader Award for his exceptional service to the community, respect for his employees, and dedication to customer service.
The Loren Hickerson Distinguished Alumni Award commemorates the UIs first full-time alumni director and a true champion of Iowa. In his dedication to the University of Iowa, the UI Alumni Association, and the greater Iowa City community, Tom Gelman admirably carries forward Loren Hickersons legacy of generous and dedicated service.
Gelman is a member of the UI Alumni Associations Old Capitol Club and the UI Foundations Presidents Club.