October Highlights

Ignacio PonsetiUniversity leaders remembered the lasting legacy of Ignacio Ponseti, University of Iowa professor emeritus of orthopaedics, whose pioneering nonsurgical, low-cost clubfoot treatment has benefited tens of thousands of children worldwide. Ponseti died Oct. 18 at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, following a sudden illness. He was 95.


University of Iowa President Sally Mason announced a $26.4 million gift commitment from longtime UI benefactors John and Mary Pappajohn of Des Moines—the largest single gift commitment ever for the University from individual Iowa donors—and said it will provide the University's new interdisciplinary institute for biomedical discovery with "the catalyst it needs to reach its full potential."

Provost Wallace Loh appointed engineering professor Jerry Schnoor as director of the UI Water Sustainability Cluster Steering Committee. The appointment was the first step in the University's Water Sustainability Initiative, including 10 new faculty positions for interdisciplinary "cluster hiring" to advance research, education, and outreach on sustainability.

Fifty years after University of Iowa education leaders E.F. Lindquist and Ted McCarrel launched the groundbreaking American College Testing Assessment Program, ACT Inc. committed $5 million to the UI Foundation to endow the ACT Scholars Program at The University of Iowa, which will support development of selected UI graduate students as the next generation of innovators in the field that ACT leads.

Alumni flocked to campus for Homecoming. Events included the traditional parade, a 5K run for United Way, free performances on the Pentacrest, and the Oct. 10 football game against Michigan. For the second year, the Homecoming Council raised funds to support Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity, making a $40,000 commitment to help finance a house for a local family.

The University dedicated the Institute for Orthopaedics, Sports Medicine, and Rehabilitation at a public event during Homecoming weekend. The UI Sports Medicine Center offers convenient access to the very best sports medicine options for athletes of all ages, from casual exercisers to intense college athletes. With its emphasis on orthopedics, sports medicine, imaging, and rehabilitation services, the facility also is designed to meet the expanding needs of Iowans who want to maintain their mobility and enhance wellness through all stages of their lives.

The University of Iowa creative writing programs in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction were individually and collectively ranked No. 1 in the United States in the Master of Fine Arts "Top Fifty" list in Poets & Writers magazine.

Research showed people who feel depressed tend to recall having more physical symptoms than they actually experienced. The study indicated that depression—not neuroticism—is the cause of such over-reporting. Psychologist Jerry Suls, professor and collegiate fellow in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, attributed the findings to depressed individuals recalling experiences differently, tending to ruminate over and exaggerate the bad. The study was conducted by investigators in the UI Department of Psychology, the Center for Research in the Implementation of Innovative Strategies in Practice (CRIISP) at the Iowa City VA Medical Center, and the UI College of Nursing.

Alexandra KeenanUI senior and Presidential Scholar Alexandra Keenan of Urbandale, Iowa, was featured in Glamour magazine as one of the "Top 10 College Women" on U.S. college campuses. Keenan spent the summer of 2009 at Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi, India, teaching Indian scientists a technique for detecting Leishmania, a parasitic disease of the organs spread by sandflies. During two previous visits to India, she researched screening programs for cervical cancer.

Scholars and students from The University of Iowa and across the world discussed access to essential drug therapies that are safe and affordable during the 2009 Global Health Studies Conference. The conference was sponsored by UI International Programs; Hazel Seaba, associate dean of academic affairs and professor of pharmacy practice and science, organized the event.

University of Iowa Facilities Management was one of 12 organizations, and the only one at a university, named to Buildings magazine's "Who's Who 2009: Leaders in Energy Management and Sustainability" list. The organizations were chosen for their best practices in energy management and sustainability resulting in significant reductions in energy usage and operating costs. It was the fifth year in a row that UI Facilities Management was named to Buildings' "Who's Who" list, and its fourth appearance as the sole university-based organization.

The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy selected Karen Farris, professor of clinical and administrative pharmacy, for the 2009–10 Academic Leadership Fellows Program. This yearlong program is designed to develop the nation’s most promising pharmacy faculty for roles as future leaders in academic pharmacy and higher education. Farris was one of only 30 faculty Fellows selected from colleges of pharmacy across the United States.

Diana Bryant

Our People

The coordinator of a UI summer research program welcomes underrepresented students with open arms, resulting in a greater pursuit of graduate education.

Recently, Diana Bryant received a message on Facebook from a male student who was in the Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) in the mid-1990s.

The correspondence was brief, but heartfelt: I miss my mom.

Those four words exemplify Bryant’s impact on her students’ lives. She is more than just the coordinator of what’s now the SROP/McNair Scholars Program, which is administered by the University of Iowa Office of Graduate Ethnic Inclusion (OGEI).

Bryant opens up her life to these underrepresented undergraduate students from other universities who are pursuing eight-week summer research projects at The University of Iowa. Students come from as far away as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Some students go to church with Bryant, while others spend time at her house. Bryant doesn’t mind letting her students see her as more than an administrator.

“Some will refer to me as ‘mom’ or ‘auntie,’” says Bryant, a program associate with OGEI. “They look at me as more than just an administrator of the program, and I can appreciate that. This is important when establishing a sense of community for underrepresented students, which is what OGEI is all about. They’ve gone away from home, and sometimes they need to have interaction with someone who is kind of like a mother or an aunt.”

Bryant, a 1978 UI graduate, has worked on programming for graduate and professional students at the University since 1987. James Jakobsen, then a Graduate College associate dean, solicited her support in working with SROP.

Jakobsen served as Bryant’s mentor as she became familiar with the program.

“Under his guidance, I watched the program grow significantly,” Bryant says. “I could see what it meant for students. I knew SROP/McNair was a really strong program and very significant in the lives of students.”

Growth continues under Bryant’s watch. There were 45 students in the SROP/McNair Scholars Program in 2009, up from 30 or so in past years.

Bryant is constantly reminded of the program’s importance.

“Over the years, I have seen the results of our program and been very proud to see so many students go on to graduate school programs,” Bryant says.

A few students who went through the SROP/McNair Program in the last two years have notified Bryant that they are visiting the UI campus for interviews as part of the admission process to various graduate programs. That is a reflection of Bryant’s work with the students.