It’s hard to believe
that 2003 is almost out the door. It’s been a big year for The University of
Iowa: we hired a new president, we earned favorable
spots in several top 10 lists, and we generated a
record-breaking amount in external funding. Although
things look bleak as we head into yet another round
of budget cuts—with more looming on the horizon—this
year brought us much to be proud of.
of fyi decided to end the year on a positive note
by reminding readers of some inspiring UI moments.
Thanks to the staff of University Relations Publications
and University News Services for weighing in on some
of the “coolest” stories to come out
of The University of Iowa in 2003.
Football fans flood Florida to catch Hawkeye first
The UI football team made history on Jan. 2 when
the Hawkeyes played the University of Southern California
Trojans in Miami. It was the first appearance by
Iowa in a Bowl Championship Series game, and although
Iowa lost the contest, 38-17, the University took
home a share of the multimillion-dollar BCS payoff.
Iowa also impressed bowl organizers across the nation
by sending 40,000-plus Hawkeye fans to Florida. At
9-3, the current Hawkeye roster has accepted an invitation
to play the University of Florida Gators in the Outback
Bowl on New Year's Day in Tampa, Fla. This marks
the first time the Hawkeyes have played in back-to-back
January bowl games.
Power Plant converts biomass to cash
The UI Power Plant implemented an innovative new
energy program in January that will save the University
hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. Burning
discarded oat hulls from Quaker Oats in Cedar Rapids
not only is cost-effective, it is better for the
environment. The process reduces the amount of coal
burned each year by 30,000 tons. See our story from
the July 4 issue of fyi to learn more (“Biomass
for the masses: An innovative oat-hull project at
the UI Power Plant energizes campus,” www.uiowa.edu/%7Efyi/issues2002_v40/07042003/biomass.html).
Old Capitol dome gets a makeover
Wisemann, Old Capitol custodian, and Joe Stockman,
area maintenance mechanic, prepare to raise
the flags above Old Capitol. Photo by Kirk
After bursting into flames on Nov. 20, 2001, the
Old Capitol finally got its top back Feb. 24. The
new dome, gilded with $8,000 worth of gold leaf,
is about 18 feet wide and weighs some 12,000 pounds.
On May 13, Tad Wisemann, the building’s custodian,
and Joe Stockman, area maintenance mechanic—who
were on site at the time of the blaze and helped
contain it—were on hand to hoist the flags
above the dome. As part of the official flag-raising
ceremony, the building’s new bell, a replacement
for the 1,100-pound bell ruined in the fire, was
rung for the first time.
nets national honor
In a White House ceremony on Feb. 27, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop
became the first university-based organization to
win the National Humanities Medal, which honors America’s
leaders in the humanities. President George W. Bush
presented the medal to workshop director Frank Conroy. “The
Iowa workshop was the first in the country,” Conroy
said at the ceremony, “and I am accepting this
award for all the people who have built it over its
UIHC team performs 2,500th kidney transplant
The UI Hospitals and Clinics reached a milestone
on July 30 when a 49-year-old from Alexis, Ill.,
became the 2,500th person to receive a kidney transplant
at the medical center. UIHC completed the state’s
first kidney transplant in 1969. It also performed
Iowa’s first pancreas transplant in 1979, followed
in 1985 by the state’s first heart transplant
and first liver transplant. The UI transplant team
ranks among the most accomplished in the nation—with
one of the highest success rates. One year following
their kidney transplants at UIHC, 99 percent of patients
are alive, with 98 percent of the transplanted kidneys
excavates ancient sloth skeleton
Seeman, a student staff member at the UI Museum
of Natural History, helps excavate
sloth bones in southwest Iowa. The skeleton will
provide clues to how the prehistoric mammal lived.
Photo by John Herbert.
In the summer of 2002, a couple in southwest Iowa
discovered bones on their land near Shenandoah. When
ultimately they brought the bones to the University’s
Department of Geoscience, they realized the significance
of their find—the remains of a giant sloth,
a furry, plant-eating mammal that weighed two to
three tons and became extinct some 9,500 years ago.
A team of UI scientists and volunteers began working
on the dig and will slowly excavate the skeleton
over the next year. The discovery will provide new
evidence about how sloths lived in Iowa during the
ice age and will result in a new display at the UI
Museum of Natural History.
Center publishes new Seamus Heaney works
The University’s fine press at the Center
for the Book got dibs on publishing two previously
unpublished poems by Seamus Heaney, the Nobel Prize-winning
Irish poet who earned the Truman Capote Award for
Literary Criticism, which is awarded by the Iowa
Writers’ Workshop. The poems, “Testimonies” and “Stern,” were
published as 11- x 16-inch broadsides and were signed
by the author when he visited campus Sept. 25 to
accept the award and read from his work.
UI campaign passes $660 million mark
Despite a sour economy, the UI Foundation announced
in October that the University’s $850 million
capital campaign—known as Good. Better.
Best. Iowa: The Campaign to Advance Our Great University—has
garnered more than $660 million in gifts and pledges,
just over two-thirds of the way into the campaign.
Faculty and staff contributions alone total more
than $20 million. UI President David Skorton helped
kick off the WSUI/KSUI fall fund-raising drive that
month by rolling up his sleeves and serving coffee
at the Java House.
Space program notes solar storm, somber send-off
Gurnett, the Roy J. Carver/James Van Allen
Professor of Physics, used NASA’s Cassini spacecraft to record a solar flare and said
good-bye to an old friend. Photo by Tim Schoon.
Don Gurnett, the professor of physics and astronomy
who has collected sounds from space over the past
40 years, captured the sound of one of the largest
solar flares in decades. The radio wave burst, resembling
the clicking of an old-fashioned telegraph machine
followed by the rush of a jet engine, was recorded
Oct. 28 by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. (The
sound can be heard online at www-pw.physics.uiowa.edu/space-audio.)
On a side note, The University’s long relationship with NASA’s Galileo came to an end on Sept.
21, when the spacecraft was intentionally disintegrated
in Jupiter’s atmosphere due to a nearly depleted
supply of onboard propellant. Over its 14-year odyssey,
in which it traveled 2.8 billion miles, Galileo provided
valuable information about Jupiter and its moons
to researchers across the nation, including Gurnett
and several others at Iowa.
by Sara Epstein Moninger