Two University of Iowa parents were the center of attention at halftime of the Nov. 8 Hawkeye football game, when they were honored as Iowa’s Mom and Dad of the Year.
Gertrude Wiener and Ligeia Pennington
Mom of the Year is Gertrude Wiener of Sioux City, Iowa, nominated by her granddaughter Ligeia Pennington, a junior majoring in pre-social work and psychology. Wiener obtained guardianship of Ligeia and her two sisters after their parents abandoned them. All three girls were under the age of 4 at the time. Weiner, 88, worked two to three jobs to support the girls without government assistance. She took the girls to church every Sunday and taught them they could “accomplish great things and come through hardships better than you were before them.”
|Andy and Amy Rowe|
Dad of the Year is Andy Rowe of Marengo, Iowa, nominated by his daughter Amy Rowe, a senior majoring in biology. Rowe is an agriculture education teacher and Future Farmers of America advisor at Iowa Valley High School; a member of the Lions Club; and a community volunteer. He is involved with local blood drives, Kinze Manufacturing Family Fun Day, and events such as livestock judging and the Kiddie Pedal Power Pull at the Iowa County Fair. During the floods of 2008, Rowe helped sandbag in several Iowa communities.
The Mom of the Year honoree is selected by Mortar Board, a national honor society that recognizes college seniors. The Dad of the Year honoree is selected by Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society for upper-level students. The Parents Association also supports the awards program.
All students can nominate their parents for the annual awards, which have been an Iowa tradition for more than 50 years. The application includes a list of the parent’s occupational achievements, community activities, volunteer work, and personal accomplishments and honors. In addition, students write essays describing their parents’ personal characteristics, what they’ve done for the students or others, and why their parents should represent all Iowa parents.