March Highlights

Barack Obama speaking at the University of IowaPresident Barack Obama discussed health insurance reform legislation passed by Congress during a speech on the University of Iowa campus March 25. Some 3,000 guests greeted him in the UI Field House, while protesters and supporters alike gathered outside. UI senior Julian Vandervelde, a starting offensive guard for the UI football team majoring in English and religious studies with a minor in Japanese, sang the national anthem. Miss Iowa, Anne Michael Langguth, accompanied Vandervelde on violin.

Jeffrey Dorale, an assistant professor of geoscience in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, took eight students on an “alternative spring break” trip in Pottawattamie County. The group participated in hands-on activities while camping at the Hitchcock Nature Center in the Loess Hills. The group worked primarily on several prairie management projects.

A project spearheaded by a group of University of Iowa students has the potential to help hundreds of Iowa communities be better prepared in future years when floodwaters threaten. The team of engineering students developed a relatively low-cost, automated sonar sensor that, when fixed to the underside of bridges, can transmit up-to-the-minute data on river stages. The idea for the project and the funding was provided by the Iowa Flood Center, a UI-led program that was established by the Iowa Legislature in 2009.

Referee declares wrestler the winnerThe University of Iowa wrestling team crowned three NCAA champions and won its third-straight national team title at the 2010 NCAA Championships in Omaha, Neb. The Hawkeyes scored 134.5 points, a team total that ranked among the top 10 scores in NCAA Championship history. Hawkeye seniors Brent Metcalf and Jay Borschel and red-shirt freshman Matt McDonough captured individual titles—Metcalf for the second time in his career.

The UI debate team captured its fourth national title since 2000 by winning the freshman-sophomore nationals hosted by Michigan State University. UI students Nathaniel Olson of Minneapolis and Ryan Hunt of San Diego beat a University of Michigan team on a 3-0 decision in the finals. Debate team members Kyle Vint and Corey Stone, both of Cedar Rapids, won the District IV Tournament in late February. The win marked a seventh straight district title for the UI. Intercollegiate debate is administered by the A. Craig Baird Debate Forum. The team is supported by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Division of Continuing Education, and the Department of Communication Studies.

For the fifth consecutive year, The University of Iowa’s student-managed stock portfolio was named the best in the country. The Henry Fund, managed by finance students in the Tippie School of Management, placed first in the large-cap equity blend category at the national Redefining Investment Strategy Education conference at the University of Dayton (Ohio). The fund posted a gain of 33.6 percent in 2009, beating its benchmark S&P 500 by better than 7 percentage points.

The University's Russian program received a $75,000 federal grant for 12 UI students to study intensive advanced Russian language and culture at UI and in Russia. The award also provided funding to train and certify three UI instructors of Russian as Russian Ministry of Education and Science “Test of Russian as a Foreign Language” certified exam testers. The project director is Margaret H. Mills, professor of Russian in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Mills said the overarching goal is to increase the number of U.S. students with advanced Russian language competence. The U.S. State Department considers Russian a critical language, and the program helps to address a shortage of Russian specialists.

Fran McCaffery was named head coach of the University of Iowa men’s basketball team. McCaffery coached the previous five seasons at Siena University in New York, leading the team to 112 victories and three NCAA tournament berths.

Ching-Long Lin, professor of mechanical and industrial engineering in the UI College of Engineering and research engineer at IIHR–Hydroscience & Engineering, was awarded a four-year, $1.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the interactions between pulmonary airflow, lung mechanics, and cell response. In particular, the study will help develop a digital human airway defense system, a part of Lin’s existing digital model of the human lung.

Graduate students in the School of Music achieved unprecedented success at the 2010 North American Saxophone Alliance National Conference at the University of Georgia in Athens. Students from the studio of UI faculty member Kenneth Tse won three of the top four awards in the conference’s classical competition, a first in the history of the conference. UI doctoral student Stephen Page won first prize and master’s student Nathan Bogert won second prize in the classical solo competition, while the UI Axius Quartet (Page, Bogert, Colin Young and Ryan Smith) took the second prize in the quartet competition.

Brent Metcalf

Our People

Hawkeye wrestling icon caps sterling career with second national title, drawing inspiration from an everlasting family bond.

Two-time NCAA wrestling national champion Brent Metcalf learned his trade from the biggest names in the sport, but a cartoon Martian printed on a piece of garbage gave him his start.

“I was walking out of school one day and there was a flier on the ground,” Metcalf recalls. “It had a Martian, our school mascot, in a singlet. I had no idea what the sport was, but I loved the picture, so I got involved.”

Metcalf, who graduated from The University of Iowa in May, won his second NCAA individual championship at 149 pounds March 20 in Omaha, Neb. A three-time All-American and NCAA finalist, Metcalf finished with a career record of 108–3 with more than 42 percent of those victories coming by fall.

“He was dominant in all phases of his life,” UI head coach Tom Brands says. “He controlled the outside influences and knocked those down—and he certainly knocked a lot of opponents down.”

Metcalf started wrestling when he was 8; in high school, he compiled a record of 228–0 with 156 falls. When Brands, then head coach at Virginia Tech, offered a scholarship, Metcalf followed.

The University of Iowa hired Brands prior to the 2006–07 season and Metcalf transferred, even though the NCAA forced him to forfeit a year of eligibility. He never regretted the decision. Since first setting foot in Iowa City, Metcalf has been the poster child for a dominant Hawkeye wrestling program that, during his tenure, compiled a 68–1 dual record (24–0 in the Big Ten Conference) and won three consecutive NCAA, Big Ten, Midlands, and national dual championships.

“This has been more than I could have ever expected my college experience to be,” Metcalf says.

Metcalf has been competitive from an early age. He also participated in football (running back and defensive back), pole vault, diving, gymnastics, soccer, and skateboarding.

“We were young boys,” Metcalf says, referring to himself and his older brother, Chase. “Our parents wanted to keep us active; we loved playing sports.”

After the 2002 high school wrestling season—when Brent and Chase both won state championships—the brothers celebrated by getting a tattoo between the shoulder blades inscribed with the words Family First.

“If I didn’t cry I came pretty darn close,” Metcalf says. “It was just torture, but at the time it was binding with my older brother and I wanted to make him happy.”

The tears would come later: Chase Metcalf died in a car accident on Sept. 8, 2005.

“(The tattoo) means more now than it did then—it’s a memory thing,” Metcalf says. “The relationship my brother and I had was pretty strong, especially in the sport of wrestling, because that’s where we were the closest.”