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Brokaw to give keynote address at UI CLAS commencement ceremony May 15

World-famous television journalist and author Tom Brokaw will give the keynote address, “Failure is an Option,” at the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences commencement ceremony, which begins at 9 a.m., Saturday, May 15, in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Brokaw is one of three dignitaries attending the CLAS commencement ceremony who will be awarded Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees. The other recipients are Pulitzer Prize winner and former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass and former UI women’s head basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer.

Gregs G. Thomopulos, CEO and chairman of the board of directors of Stanley Consultants Inc. in Muscatine, will receive an Honorary Doctor of Science at the UI College of Engineering commencement ceremony at 3 p.m., Saturday, May 15. John Pappajohn, one of Iowa's most influential entrepreneurs and philanthropists, will receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane letters at the Tippie College of Business commencement ceremony at 1 p.m., Sunday, May 16.

Brokaw began his college education at the University (1958–59) and graduated from the University of South Dakota with a major in political science. He began working for NBC within four years of his college graduation and remained there for his entire professional career, receiving many of the highest honors in his profession, including the Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award and the Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Seats are not reserved and tickets are not necessary for admission to the CLAS commencement ceremony. However, UI officials advise those wishing to attend to arrive early. This will allow for ample time to park, enter the arena, and find available seating since the arena is expected to fill up quickly because of Brokaw’s appearance.

Doors will open at 8 a.m., one hour before the ceremony begins. Because of safety concerns, guests are not allowed to bring in large bags or backpacks. Also, security officials reserve the right to inspect purses or camera bags.


State Hygienic Laboratory at The University of Iowa

The State Hygienic Laboratory at The University of Iowa. Photo by Tom Jorgensen.

Dedication of State Hygienic Laboratory facility set for May 5

The State Hygienic Laboratory at The University of Iowa will host dedication ceremonies on Wednesday, May 5, for its new facility located at Highway 965 and Oakdale Boulevard in Coralville. Tours will be held from 1 to 2:30 p.m. followed by remarks at 3:15 p.m. and a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4 p.m.

The new building was constructed using environmentally friendly LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) principles. It replaces the laboratory currently housed in Oakdale Hall, which was built in 1917.

The Hygienic Laboratory is Iowa's designated environmental and public health laboratory.

To learn more, visit


Dance Marathon's $1 million gift to boost UI pediatric cancer and blood disease research

The University of Iowa Dance Marathon has made a $1 million, two-year gift commitment to University of Iowa Children's Hospital to support research into pediatric cancer and blood disorders.

The gift, made through the UI Foundation, designates $750,000 for renovation of laboratory space for this purpose in the state's only comprehensive academic medical center, and $250,000 to create a special research fund. In recognition of the gift, the renovated lab area will be named the UI Dance Marathon Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders Research Laboratories.

"I could not be more delighted by this remarkable gift or more proud of our students. Dance Marathon is one of our most amazing student organizations," UI president Sally Mason says. "They are a national leader in student philanthropy, and their enthusiasm and success have made the lives of countless UI Children's Hospital patients and their families better for more than a decade and a half. This generous support for cancer and blood disorder research raises the impact of Dance Marathon to a whole new level."

The 2010 Dance Marathon in February marked the third consecutive year that the UI event has raised more than $1 million. More than 700 patients and family members cared for at UI Children's Hospital joined more than 1,300 dancers for the 24-hour event.

Over the past 16 years, UI Dance Marathon, the largest student-run philanthropic organization at the University, has raised more than $8.5 million to support pediatric oncology programs at UI Children's Hospital. More information about the UI Dance Marathon is available at


UI MBA students help with plan to provide blind Chicago kids with GPS devices

A group of University of Iowa students is helping a Chicago nonprofit organization with an ambitious plan to provide GPS-enabled cell phones to every blind and visually impaired child in Illinois.

The program is an initiative of the Chicago Lighthouse for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired, and its goal is to help children navigate their neighborhoods on their own and become more independent.

The UI team, five MBA students in the Tippie College of Business, is working with the Lighthouse to develop a pilot project to outfit as many as 1,000 children in the Chicago area with GPS devices. They’re working this semester to test devices, develop a list of corporations and organizations that can be solicited for contributions and funding, and making initial contacts with some of them.

The students also are developing a brand for the project, including a name and image. Although the students will spend only one semester on the initiative, they see their job as getting it off to a good start.

“There’s an overwhelming amount of tasks, and we’re trying to organize it and set some priorities for them,” says team member Tara From, a first-year MBA student. “That’s the biggest difference we think we can make in such a short time.”

The students are working through one of eight consulting teams in the Tippie Business Solutions Center, a class in which all Tippie MBA students participate during the spring semester of their first year. The teams work with real clients, providing advice that addresses real business challenges for a fee.


U.S. News & World Report ranks 22 UI programs among top 10 in nation among public universities

U.S. News & World Report ranks 22 University of Iowa graduate programs and colleges among the 10 best in the country when compared to other public universities, with five UI programs continuing to rank in first place.

America's Best Graduate Schools 2011 ranks as No. 1 as compared to public universities the speech-language pathology and audiology graduate programs, the physician assistant program, and the nursing specialties of nursing service administration and gerontological/geriatric. All five rankings are carried over from previous years.

John Keller, dean of the UI Graduate College, says he's pleased that a number of the University's graduate program offerings continue to be recognized as among the best in the nation.

"These outstanding graduate programs provide the foundation for the next generation of professionals in many fields,” Keller says. “Iowa's commitment to graduate education continues to produce top researchers, professors, and leaders for the state, nation, and world."

Read more:


Deadline is May 7 for UniverCity affordable housing applications

University of Iowa faculty and staff interested in buying an affordable home located close to campus and downtown Iowa City are encouraged to consider contacting the UniverCity Neighborhood Partnership (UNP).

Three homes are currently available under the new program, a partnership between the University and the City of Iowa City. The deadline for the first round of applications is Friday, May 7.

UNP seeks to preserve and build upon the unique character of residential neighborhoods adjacent to the UI campus by ensuring that they remain vital, safe, affordable, and attractive places to live and work.

With special financing from local lenders and a $1.25 million I-JOBS grant, Iowa City will eventually purchase and rehabilitate 25 homes and resell them as owner-occupied housing.

To participate, applicants must be prequalified for a mortgage and their gross household income must fall within certain income limits. Faculty and staff who qualify under the program and selected to purchase a home also may be eligible for down payment assistance and closing costs, through funding by the University.

Visit for more information. Applications are available at the Department of Planning and Urban Development, second floor, City Hall, 410 East Washington Street, Iowa City.


CLAS names Collegiate Fellows, Stuit and Starch Faculty Fellows

The University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) named physics professor Thomas Boggess Jr. and mathematics professor Weimin Han Collegiate Fellows in recognition of their distinguished teaching, research, and service.

The college named Professor John Freeman the first Stuit Faculty Fellow in Psychology, and psychology professor Susan Lutgendorf a Starch Faculty Fellow.

Collegiate Fellow awards, supported by a gift from the late R.F. and Maryon E. Ladwig, recognize senior faculty whose distinction in teaching and scholarship is matched by exceptional leadership in service to the University, the college, and their departments. Recipients receive funding to support their teaching and research. They are invited to meet annually with Linda Maxson, the UI Alumni Association Dean's Chair of the college, and the college's associate deans to discuss opportunities for improving faculty life and undergraduate education.

Stuit and Starch fellowships are five-year, renewable appointments, which carry research funds to be used for scholarly work and professional travel.

The new Stuit professorship is named for Dewey and Velma Stuit and is awarded to outstanding faculty in psychology. Dewey Stuit came to the University as an associate professor in 1938 and served as dean of the College of Liberal Arts from 1948–77. He oversaw a major expansion of the college's faculty and curriculum and established the UI Honors Program. Velma Stuit was president of the University Club and cofounder of the Newcomers Club and the International Women's Club.

Starch fellowships are awarded to outstanding current faculty in the college who conduct research primarily in psychological and human behavior problems in the field of communication. Starch earned his doctorate in psychology from The University of Iowa in 1906 and taught at the University of Wisconsin, Harvard University, Wellesley College, Washington University, and New York University. He is known for devising a procedure used to this day to measure the readership of advertisements.

For more information on the fellowship recipients, visit


Staff Council seeks nominations for 2010 staff awards

The UI Staff Council seeks nominations for the Board of Regents Staff Excellence Award, the UI Outstanding Staff Award, and the David J. Skorton Award for Staff Excellence in Public Service. Any member of the UI community (faculty, staff, student) may submit nominations.

The Board of Regents Staff Excellence Award recognizes staff for outstanding accomplishments and contributions to the institutions as well as the State of Iowa. The UI Outstanding Staff Award recognizes current UI staff who have made outstanding accomplishments and contributions that significantly benefited or brought honor or recognition to the University. The David J. Skorton Award for Staff Excellence in Public Service recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions and have shown exceptional imagination and dedication to improving the University community.

Complete nominations must include nominating letter, two supporting letters,
the nominee's curriculum vitae/résumé, and the nominee's current job description.

For complete award criteria, go to the Staff Council web site, Nominations may be submitted electronically at The nomination deadline is May 17.


Nominations sought for Lola Lopes Award for Undergraduate Student Advocacy

Faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to submit nominations for the Lola Lopes Award for Undergraduate Student Advocacy.

With the Lola Lopes Award for Undergraduate Student Advocacy, the Office of the Provost each year honors a University of Iowa administrator, staff member, or faculty member (in a nonteaching role) who supports undergraduate education and serves as a strong, effective advocate for undergraduate students and the undergraduate experience.

The recipient will receive a $1,000 honorarium and a certificate, and his or her name will be added to a plaque displayed prominently in the Admission Visitors Center.

Nomination forms and criteria are available at Nominations are due May 31. If you have questions regarding this award, contact Beth Ingram at


2010 Audrey Qualls Commitment to Diversity Award winners recognized

Two individuals in the University of Iowa College of Education were recognized with a 2010 Audrey Qualls Commitment to Diversity Award during the UI College of Education’s Staff Appreciation and Diversity Committee Celebration.

Gregory Hamot, a professor in the UI College of Education Department of Teaching and Learning, is the faculty award recipient this year. Hamot collaborates with many programs and departments across campus, and he is the director of the UI Center for Human Rights, part of UI International Programs.

David Tingwald, a record analyst for the UI College of Education Teaching and Learning Department, is this year’s staff winner. Tingwald works closely with the Teacher Education Program, and he often tries to recruit students from diverse backgrounds into the teaching profession.

The award is named in honor of the late Audrey Qualls, a professor of measurement and statistics in the UI College of Education Department of Psychological and Quantitative Foundations from 1990 until her death in 2002.

For more information, visit


Rec Services invites faculty, staff to drive for show, putt for dough

The University of Iowa Recreational Services is offering a faculty and staff golf league starting May 16. Registration is now open and will run until noon, Tuesday, May 4. To download a registration form, visit or go to the Recreational Services office at E216 Field House.

The Faculty and Staff Golf League is a 10-week, 9-hole, doubles league with different ability groupings based on the player’s handicap.

Teams are made up of two golfers. Players are responsible for finding their own partner or may be placed on a free agent list, located at the Recreational Services Office.

Three different levels of leagues are available, intermediate, recreational, and open. For more information about the Faculty and Staff Golf League, or to download a registration form, visit


Whitewater kayaking trip offered May 20–22

University of Iowa Recreational Services is offering a whitewater kayaking trip Thursday–Saturaday, May 20–22.

This trip is tailored for people who have participated in Recreational Services’ kayak rolling series and is designed to build upon the skills learned in the pool and apply them to the white waters of the St. Francis River in Missouri.

Cost is $195 and includes transportation, instruction, camping and permit fees, most meals, and equipment rental. Registration may be done at the Outdoor Rental Center by 7 p.m., Monday, May 10, with the full cost of the trip due at this time.

Visit for more information or contact Dave Patton, assistant director for outdoor programs, at

See which Learning and Development courses are right for you

UI Learning and Development, a unit of Organizational Effectiveness, provides professional development services to faculty and staff. There are many learning opportunities that will support your professional development and growth. Look for classroom instruction on leadership issues for managers, frontline supervisors, human resource professionals, and office professionals.

Check out the following links:

  • For registration information, log in at the UI Human Resources Self Service site at and click the “My Training” link to register for any available session. This tool will let you see the status and location of a class, get e-mail confirmations, withdraw from a class, check your course registration history, and even do online evaluations. Courses with a fee (Special Events, 7 Habits, Reframing Your Work) will use the printable registration form.
  • To visit Learning and Development's home page, go to



Newer heart care procedure benefits UI Health Care patients

Some patients at the University of Iowa Heart and Vascular Center who require a procedure for evaluating and treating blockages in the blood vessels supplying the heart are benefitting from a different way of performing this procedure.

Known as transradial catheterization, the procedure involves inserting a thin plastic tube into an artery in the wrist, instead of into an artery in the groin (femoral catheterization), which is the more conventional approach. In either approach, longer tubes called catheters are then placed into the heart arteries, and dye is injected to look for blockages and treat them with stents, if needed.

Access through the wrist typically results in a quicker recovery time for the patient, generally causes less discomfort, and has less bleeding risk compared to using the groin. Patients are able to sit up immediately after the procedure, which allows the patient to avoid the several hours of flat bed rest that would be needed after a femoral procedure.

"After catheterization through the groin, manual pressure is applied for 15 minutes on the groin access site to help seal the blood vessel. Then, the patient typically has to lie flat for several hours to make sure there is no bleeding from the site. The risk for bleeding is overall low, but can be quite serious if it happens," says Elaine Demetroulis, an interventional cardiologist with the UI Heart and Vascular Center. "There are times where special devices can be used to limit the bed rest time in groin-access procedures, but these are not always usable and do not improve any of the complication rates compared to holding manual pressure.

"In contrast, when we use the wrist to perform the procedure, patients can sit up immediately after the procedure, and a simple band around the wrist can be used to keep pressure on the artery. It's more convenient and comfortable for the patient, and there is far less risk of potentially serious bleeding complications," Demetroulis added.

Read more:


UI Superfund Research Program receives $16 million grant to study pollutants

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences has awarded the University of Iowa Superfund Research Program (isrp) a five-year, $16 million grant to study the health effects of environmental pollutants, especially polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) found in water, former industrial sites, and the atmosphere.

The isrp investigators—22 scientists representing the Carver College of Medicine and the Colleges of Public Health, Engineering, and Pharmacy—measure sources, transport, and environmental exposure of PCBs, their impact on animals and humans, and novel methods of clean-up, including the use of plants to remove PCBs from soil, groundwater, and air.

Current studies also include a community-based project near Chicago assessing exposures to residents who live or work in the vicinity of sources of PCBs.

The grant will fund research activities as well as salaries of 78 faculty and staff members, undergraduate and graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars.

In 2006, UI researchers received a four-year, $12 million grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to establish a Superfund Research Program. With this latest grant, which took effect April 1, the isrp has received a total of $28 million for this research effort.

Superfund is the federal government’s program to clean up the nation’s uncontrolled hazardous waste sites, while the research program here at Iowa is the basic research arm of that effort, and is administered by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health.


Patient-physician compatibility increases odds of following doctor’s orders

Doctors and patients have varying opinions on how much control a person has over their own health outcomes. A new study by University of Iowa researchers suggests that when doctor and patient attitudes on the issue match up, patients do a better job of taking their medications.

Published online and in the May issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine, the study is part of a growing body of evidence indicating that patient-physician compatibility affects adherence to doctor’s orders and even a patient’s health status.

The study was led by Alan Christensen, professor of psychology in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and of internal medicine in the UI Carver College of Medicine. It involved 18 primary-care physicians and 246 male patients from the Iowa City VA Medical Center, where Christensen is a senior scientist. The patients had both diabetes and high blood pressure, conditions that require a high level of self-management and frequent checkups.

Researchers used surveys to assess the extent to which doctors and patients believed patients have personal control over their health. They also looked at prescription refill records over a 13-month period to see whether patients had enough blood pressure medication on hand.

If doctor and patient attitudes were in sync, patients only let their refills lapse about 12 percent of the days, on average. But if patients held higher control beliefs than their physicians, they went without their pills 18 percent of the time.

The study also found evidence that patient blood pressure may be less well maintained when doctor and patient control beliefs do not match.

Read more:


Hawkeye Poll: Middle-aged Americans most optimistic about health care bill

Overall, support for the new health care legislation remains low, but a new poll indicates that middle-aged Americans are much more likely to approve of it.

A national University of Iowa Hawkeye Poll released April 27 suggests that 53 percent of 35- to 54-year-olds are in favor of the legislation. This support is despite the fact that only 28 percent of the age group believes the reform will improve quality of coverage, and 63 percent expect it to increase their out-of-pocket medical costs.

Approval of the bill was only 28 percent for those in the 18-34 age range, 36 percent for the 55-69 range, and 33 percent for 70-plus. The poll was conducted March 27–April 3, just after the health care reform was signed into law.

Topline results are available at

“Provisions in the bill that reduce the risk of losing health insurance may be especially appealing to the middle-aged group,” says Nathan Darus, a UI doctoral student in political science who helped conduct the poll. “Those with kids may be particularly sensitive to the impact a sudden loss of insurance could have on family finances. While some believe the bill may increase their out-of-pocket costs, they appear to be more concerned about maintaining access to coverage.”

Across age groups, a minority (39 percent) approves of the measure, and 10 percent haven’t decided how they feel. Slightly over half disapprove.


University to study aging, retirement within academic community

The University of Iowa Center on Aging will launch a two-year study funded by TIAA-CREF to assess trends and best practices in comprehensive retirement planning at institutions of higher education in the United States.

The "Iowa Study on Promoting Healthy and Successful Aging within Academic Institutions" will begin this week and focuses on how a wide range of public and private colleges and universities across the country engage with, and support, aging employees as they prepare for retirement.

With the Boomer generation nearing retirement, employers are being challenged to meet emerging preferences for alternative work arrangements among aging employees while hiring new staff.

This issue is particularly acute within higher education, where approximately 25 percent of employees are age 55 or older, according to Brian Kaskie, associate professor of health management and policy at the University of Iowa College of Public Health and the principal researcher for the study.

"We know very little about how academic institutions have prepared to meet the challenges and opportunities presented by the substantial growth in their aging workforce," Kaskie says. "Examining programs and services currently offered will be extremely useful in helping higher education deal with this issue effectively in the years ahead."

In-depth findings and recommendations from the study are expected to be released by the end of 2011.

To learn more about the UI Center on Aging, visit For more information about TIAA-CREF, visit


Tissue Procurement Core Facility collecting, storing specimens for research

The Tissue Procurement Core Facility (TPCF) at The University of Iowa has resumed its operations since November 2009. The goal of the TPCF is to make available human tumor tissue for current research studies and to store frozen human tumor tissue for current and future cancer research studies. The TPCF provides research infrastructure in the form of a well-characterized bank of frozen and, routinely processed, neoplastic, and normal tissues suitable for molecular genetic, biochemical, and pathological studies.

The facility is now collecting and storing fresh frozen human specimens for research. Investigators who are interested in obtaining human tissue samples from the facility should call 319-353-3051 or send e-mail to Investigators will be asked several questions regarding tissue type desired and requirements regarding specimen preservation (fresh, frozen, formalin fixed, etc.) to determine whether appropriate samples are presently stored in the procurement archives. If appropriate samples are not available and the request will require prospective collection of tissue samples, facility director Vishala Neppalli will contact the investigator to discuss issues pertaining to feasibility of collection.

All requests for tissue will ultimately require submission of a completed application form and a signed usage agreement form, which is available from the TPCF. Completed applications will be forwarded for review to the Tissue Utilization Committee. The committee will recommend approval or disapproval. Priority will be given to those studies that are supported by peer reviewed funding or foster collaborative work. 



Recent deaths

  • Richard King, 84, retired research assistant II, April 17 in Omaha, Neb.
  • Catherine Chambers, 85, retired graphic technician III, April 19 in Iowa City. (obit)
  • Catharine Daniel, 45, staff nurse, April 24 in Iowa City. (obit)
  • Russell Ross, 88, professor emeritus, April 27 in Iowa City. (obit)


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