Distinguished Alumni Award


Jeffrey Parsons, 89BA

Hickerson Award 2020

Jeffrey Parsons (89BA) is a third-generation Hawkeye who is a tireless and passionate advocate for his alma mater.

A native of Burlington, Iowa, Parsons graduated from the University of Iowa in 1989 with a theatre degree, and he credits Iowa for helping him continue to achieve his dreams. In addition to 16 years with United Airlines, he launched IGC & Associates, Inc., in 2007, a consulting firm focused on leadership and organizational development. His firm supports a range of global industries—from Fortune 20 to nonprofit.

Parsons also has been dedicated to advancing the mission of the Chicago Iowa Club by expanding it beyond game watches—all in an effort to build an inclusive, welcoming network of Hawkeyes in the Chicagoland area. He joined the Chicago Iowa Club Board of Directors in 2018, and after serving as its vice president, he now acts as a club consultant.

As a Chicago Iowa Club volunteer, Parsons has supported 14 official Chicago Iowa Club event locations through promotions and business development; served as guest speaker for a number of university events in Chicagoland; formed the Women In Business network and has helped build other network groups; led and participated in club business development strategy, outreach, and partnerships; and has coordinated and promoted arts outreach in the city. He also has partnered with the university's more than 60 Iowa Clubs to share best practices for increasing business networking opportunities.

On campus, Parsons has become an active contributor and facilitator with the Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center within the UI Henry B. Tippie College of Business.

Says Lenee Wolf (89BGS), Chicago Iowa Club president: "Jeffrey is more than a fan or an alum. He's an ambassador to all things Iowa. He lives, breathes, and loves as a Hawkeye should. He embodies Once a Hawkeye, Always a Hawkeye."


About Distinguished Alumni Awards

Since 1963, the University of Iowa has annually recognized accomplished alumni and friends with Distinguished Alumni Awards. Awards are presented in seven categories: Achievement, Service, Hickerson Recognition, Faculty, Staff, Recent Graduate, and Friend of the University.


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Looking back at the African-American Cultural Center?s roots as it turns 50. PHOTOS: Afro-American Cultural Center, Organizations and Clubs Vertical File (RG 01.0015.004), University Archives, the University of Iowa Libraries Students gather in front of the Center, 303 Melrose Ave., in this undated photo likely taken between 1976 and 1980. Editor's note: In Old Gold, University archivist David McCartney looks back at the UI's history and tradition through materials housed in University Archives, Department of Special Collections, University of Iowa Libraries. For black students who attend a predominantly white university, the isolation of feeling alone in a crowd can be overwhelming. While black fraternities and sororities helped to address this concern as early as the 1920s, demands for a UI community center accommodating all black students rose by the 1960s. Such a center at last became reality in 1968. AACC logo designed by Essex Hubbard (79BGS) In the spring of that tumultuous year, the university?s Committee on Human Rights recommended establishment of an Afro-American Cultural Center. During Homecoming weekend, Oct. 11-12, 1968, the AAC opened its doors, a house at the corner of North Capitol and Market streets that had been purchased by the university. In 1976, the AACC moved to its present-day location at 303 Melrose Ave. The climate at Iowa for black students was not always hospitable and, indeed, was often challenging. Minutes from the May 8, 1967, meeting of the Committee on Human Rights revealed reports of discontent: ?[Black] students and staff members still feel discriminated against in their attempts to find housing, but they are not inclined to go through all of the trouble of working through the complicated human relations procedures to bring charges. They choose the line of least resistance. ... Students still complain that some professors on the campus are discriminating. Again, they foresee only difficulty for themselves in pressing charges.? (Records of the Committee on Human Rights, RG 05.0003.040, Box 1, folder ?Minutes and Agendas, 1963-1971?) A 1978 poster advertising a children?s workshop. One year later, facing growing demands to improve the campus climate, the committee approved creation of the center, intended to serve as a study, social, and activity center for black students. Philip G. Hubbard, dean of academic affairs who later became the first African American vice president at a Big Ten university, endorsed the initiative. Since its inception, the AACC has hosted events and programs not otherwise offered specifically to black students or to the larger campus community. In the University Archives? AACC folder in its Organizations and Clubs Vertical File (RG 01.0015.004), a 1978 flyer advertising a children?s Saturday workshop provides a glimpse into the center?s long history of service and activity. A half-century is a remarkable milestone, and the center?one of the first of its kind among U.S. colleges and universities?paved the way for other centers to open in the years to follow at the UI: the Latino-Native American Cultural Center, the Asian Pacific American Cultural Center, and the LGBTQ Resource Center. Each center brings its own brand of service to the community; it all started during that Homecoming weekend 50 years ago. Learn more about the?African-American Cultural Center?and how you can?support its programming?with a donation. ? AACC logo designed by Essex Hubbard (79BGS) ? A 1978 poster advertising a children?s workshop.

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