Dana Ramundt, 74BBA, a recognized leader in the insurance industry, is widely known for reintroducing a curriculum to the Tippie College of Business that has left an indelible mark on the University of Iowa, its students, and the insurance field.
At the UI, Ramundt studied under Emmett Vaughan, an admired name in the insurance world with a knack for bringing unexpected life to his subject matter. So great was his influence that Ramundt celebrates 43 years in the industry this year.
After graduation, Ramundt launched his insurance career with positions in Mason City and Des Moines, but ultimately started his own insurance agency, the Dana Company, in 1989—five years after the UI opted to end its Vaughan-developed focused insurance program. But Ramundt clearly understood the industry's vital role in Iowa's economic well-being and eventually approached the business school in the early 2000s about once again offering the curriculum.
With integrity and a clear passion for his work, Ramundt successfully convinced Tippie leaders to reinstate an institute that would provide students with a certificate in risk management and insurance. In 2002, the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, approved the plan and Ramundt set about securing financial support. When Vaughan died in 2004, Ramundt proposed naming the institute in his honor.
The Emmett J. Vaughan Institute of Risk Management and Insurance began offering courses in 2004, with the first graduates receiving their certificates in 2006. Since that time, some 268 graduates have earned their certificates and more than 300 students enroll in one or more insurance and risk management courses each year. Additionally, the institute provides programs that include career coaching, résumé and interview preparation, scholarships, internships, opportunities for full-time placement, and access to a career network.
Jon Raftis, 10BBA, a certificate recipient and account executive in Des Moines, says there's no question Ramundt blazed the trail for him and so many others. Says Raftis, "I had an extremely beneficial and memorable experience as a student in the Vaughan Institute, and Dana is a large reason why that was made possible."
Gracious and humble, Ramundt is touched by this honor: "I think of all the incredible, accomplished alumni of this great university and you are honoring me, an insurance agent who grew up on a turkey farm in central Iowa. One needs to understand the immense pride I have."
Ramundt's vision means Iowa's many insurance companies now benefit from an in-state program that ensures its graduates have the skills necessary to succeed—not only here, but around the nation and globe. Dana Ramundt simply wanted to give future students what was given to him, and his exemplary dedication to others deserves applause.
Ramundt is a life member of the UI Alumni Association and a member of the UI Foundation's Presidents Club.