Skip to main content.
Facts at a Glance Facts at a Glance The University of Iowa

Historical Highlights: 1951-1970

1952—Work is completed on a television teaching and training laboratory, the largest instructional studio in the country and more extensive than many commercial stations.

1955—Ophthalmology Department doctors are the first in the nation to enlist state highway patrol officers to rush donor eyes to them for corneal transplantation. The department later becomes the first to train morticians to remove corneas for transplantation.

1955—The university establishes the western hemisphere's first institute of agricultural medicine and environmental health.

1955—The UI Cleft Palate Research Program, the first multi—specialty rehabilitative program for cleft palate patients, is established.

1956—Nursing Dean Myrtle E. Kitchell (later Aydelotte) initiates one of the first major studies funded by the U.S. Public Health Service. The 1960 report that results from her three—year study of nursing activity and patient welfare will become a classic in nursing literature

Pickering, Van Allen, Wernher
William H. Pickering, James A. Van Allen, and Wernher von Braun (left to right) hold aloft a full scale model of the Explorer I satellite at a press conference in the Great Hall of the National Academy of Sciences in the early hours of 1 February 1958, following confirmation that Explorer I had completed its first orbit of the Earth.

1958—Using data from America's first earth satellite, Explorer I, UI Physics Professor James A. Van Allen discovers belts of radiation surrounding the earth, a phenomenon that eventually will be called the Van Allen belts. The cosmic ray instruments aboard Explorer I are the first of many that the university will provide for U.S. satellites, rockets, and space probes.

1961—With Injun I, Iowa becomes the first university to completely design, assemble, and operate an entire spacecraft. It will repeat this feat at least seven more times and distinguish itself as one of only two universities in the world to do this.

1964—Paul Conrad won the first of three Pulitzer Prizes he would receive during his distinguished career as a political cartoonist. His others were awarded in 1971 and 1984. He received a BA degree from Iowa in 1950.

1965—Pharmacy faculty member William W. Tester establishes the Iowa Drug Information Service, now consulted by nearly 700 health centers and colleges of pharmacy and medicine around the world.

1965—Pharmacology faculty, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows begin studying the effects of chemical substances on living organisms in the Pharmacology—Toxicology Center, the first of its kind in the western hemisphere.

1966—The Rockefeller Foundation chooses the UI School of Music as home for a Center for New Music, to encourage new works by emerging composers.

1967—Paul Engle and Hualing Nieh bring 27 writers from 18 countries to Iowa City as they found the International Writing Program, the first and only program of its kind in the world.

1969—The university's Museum of Art opens, established completely with private funds raised in the University of Iowa Foundation's first capital campaign.