Meet the 2014 Iowa STATEment Makers: Jeremy Swanson

Iowa STATEment Makers is a recognition program of the Iowa State University Alumni Association’s Young Alumni Council, honoring graduates of the past 10 years who have made strong statements in careers, entrepreneurial endeavors, academics, community service, or personal achievements. There are 17 honorees for 2014, and we’re introducing each of them to you here on the blog.

Swanson photo NEW

Lehigh, Iowa

When it comes to advocating for agriculture, Jeremy (’05 agricultural systems technology) exhibits a quiet leadership that is really making a difference. An ag precision specialist for Mickelson Seeds, Jeremy also serves as chair of the Iowa Farm Bureau Young Farmer Advisory Committee and is a member of the Webster County Farm Bureau Board. He works every day to create a networking community for Iowa’s farmers. He uses the information he gains to develop programming and opportunities for young farmers, including programs on environmental education, estate planning, policy and advocacy, and more. In addition to his service to the farming community, Jeremy volunteers in his community in many ways, including as a judge and volunteer for the Boone County Aerospace Interest Group, a 4-H program he helped develop with the goal of growing youth interest in STEM fields. He also manages the volunteers who drive the “tractor trolleys” at all ISU home football games.

Jeremy on…

…his favorite ISU tradition: “Hilton Magic”

…his favorite college memory: “traveling with the pep band to the NIT Final 4 with the men’s basketball team”

…the everyday item he can’t live without: “Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups”

…his life goal: “My goal is to be able to help my children or another young person get started farming some day.”



Meet the 2014 Iowa STATEment Makers: Matt England

Iowa STATEment Makers is a recognition program of the Iowa State University Alumni Association’s Young Alumni Council, honoring graduates of the past 10 years who have made strong statements in careers, entrepreneurial endeavors, academics, community service, or personal achievements. There are 17 honorees for 2014, and we’re introducing each of them to you here on the blog.

England photo

Seattle, Wash.
Annual Member

After graduation Matt (’11 aerospace engr) was set to start his life in the Midwest, but late in his career decision-making process the Boeing Company (a company he called one of the most inspiring in the world when he visited as a youngster) came in and made him an offer he couldn’t refuse: working as a flight test engineer on the 787 Dreamliner. Matt now travels the western United States testing what he describes as “magnificent $300 million machines.” While he does have a desk in a Boeing facility in Seattle, his office is essentially a workstation in a 787 Dreamliner, on which he studies flight maneuvers such as stalls, high-banked turns, and roller coasters. He has visited much of the western United States and even Alaska and Hawaii for his work. But although he’s often miles away and high up in the air, he remains connected to his alma mater as president of the ISU Alumni Association Club of Seattle. He was featured in the VISIONS Across America project this spring as a representative of the state of Washington.

Matt on…

…his favorite spot on the ISU campus: “The Knoll”

…his favorite college memory: “Countless memories at Acacia Fraternity. Too many to name specifically.”

…his favorite app: “Flappy Bird. The Mayor’s score was INSANELY good; I’m still embarrassingly stuck at 38.”

…his favorite quote: “’Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.’ – Abraham Lincoln”


Five Things

Here are five things to put on your Cyclone Radar this week:

1) Of course the top story on campus this week is the VEISHEA that wasn’t. President Leath suspended the 2014 celebration on Wednesday after riots broke out in Campustown Tuesday night and a student was taken to the hospital with a head injury after being struck by a toppling light pole. Naturally, students and alumni were devastated by the news that the events would be canceled — whether they supported the action or not. And now, with the future of VEISHEA as we know it looking bleak, it has become a sad time on campus for all Iowa Staters. Here are some of the comments we have received at the Alumni Association:

“Obviously, VEISHEA contributes to the relaxed atmosphere that may give a few immature students the sense that normal rules don’t apply that week, but there’s no reason to believe these things wouldn’t happen occasionally without VEISHEA.”

“Although we haven’t heard why the VEISHEA riot started or who participated, I would hope that the identified participants would be dealt with swiftly and harshly, depending on the degree of participation, including expulsion from the university.”

“If ISU wishes to continue promoting itself as the birthplace of innovation and the training ground for adventurous problem solvers, we MUST be able to study, mitigate, diminish the likelihood, and cope with the inevitable aftermath of the unpredictable nature of the future.”

“The entitlement to attend college that the population feels now has diminished responsibility, pride, and self-control.  We now have several generations of those who give no regard to authority, moral responsibility, nor collegial professionalism. It is time for us to stop giving away the store by dismissing quality entrance requirements and academic as well as social responsibility.”

“ISU replaced the black eye of the riot by doubling down with the black eye of visitors who planned to attend. It’s a lose/lose deal.”

“Stopping planned VEISHEA events (thus flushing months of preparation by many) is a knee-jerk reaction and doesn’t solve the problem. People should be held accountable for their actions no matter the time of year.”

“As is often the case, the irresponsible acts of a few will forever impact the many. President Leath and the Cabinet made the only choice available to them at this moment in time.”

“Don’t punish the masses for the stupidity of the few. Keep VEISHEA.”

“Since it’s become an embarrassment to the university, time to end this. So sad that today’s students have ruined what was a great tradition.”

This is just a sampling of the comments we received, and we encourage you to continue to share your thoughts with us as President Leath organizes his task force to determine the event’s future. We will keep you posted here, in VISIONS magazine, and in ISU News Flash.

2) It wasn’t the VEISHEA parade as you’d think of it, but a group of about 200 students, faculty/staff, and alumni marched Saturday morning in honor of the “true meaning of VEISHEA” and what makes Iowa State great, following along the parade route in a peaceful demonstration. Check out video and an article courtesy of the Des Moines Register. The words of the students interviewed in the video will touch your heart.

3) In lighter, non-VEISHEA news, Sunday’s Ames Tribune published its review of “VISIONS Across America: Portraits of Iowa State Alumni by Jim Heemstra.” We hope you’ll still make it out to the Brunnier Art Museum to see the show before Aug. 9. Catch it by the end of April and you can enter to win a gift basket courtesy of University Museums and the Alumni Association.

4) Tomorrow is the Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression in the Memorial Union from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, and it’s a great chance to see what exactly it is that Iowa State students are studying — everything from asteroid deflection to zebrafish. At 3:45 p.m., ISU astronaut-in-residence Clayton Anderson will even present a session on “Science and Space.”

5) At least it has been a pretty good week for one person: Fred Hoiberg. Following a 28-win season that included a Big 12 tournament championship, The Mayor received a $600,000 raise this week. Hoiberg’s name has been mentioned with nearly every NBA job opening of late, so ISU athletics director Jamie Pollard took quick action in hopes of convincing him to stay home at ISU. “We recognize the tremendous accomplishments that have become commonplace during Fred’s tenure,” Pollard said in a released statement. “We play an exciting brand of basketball that has brought Hilton Magic back to life. Equally important, his players have been good students and ambassadors for the institution.”

ImageAt least one fellow ISU coach has a personal interest in Hoiberg’s ever-expanding bank account. Speaking at the Cyclone Gridiron Club Spring Game tailgate Saturday, head football coach Paul Rhoads — whose son, Wyatt, is famously taking Hoiberg daughter Paige to the Gilbert High School prom — joked about who would be paying for dinner that night. Hoiberg scored big on the recruiting trail this week as UNLV leading scorer Bryce DeJean-Jones announced his plans to transfer to Iowa State for his senior year, and the Iowa Nice Guy released another edition of the viral video “Love Letters to Fred Hoiberg” — this time featuring Fred himself. With a beard.

How many times must history repeat itself?

By Carole Gieseke, VISIONS editor

During my first official month as editor of VISIONS magazine – April 1997 – a 19-year-old man was murdered during Veishea. I can still remember driving into Ames on that Sunday and hearing the words “murder” and “Veishea” used in the same sentence on the radio. I was horrified.

Since that time I’ve watched three presidents of this university struggle to understand and deal with the problems caused by Veishea, a celebration that now has more than 90 years of tradition on the ISU campus.

EVEN BEFORE I ARRIVED AT IOWA STATE, the after-hours student celebration surrounding Veishea had become a flashpoint.

In just the second issue of VISIONS magazine (summer 1988), my predecessors ran the headline “Veishea riots stun ISU / Turbulent weekend clouds event’s future” along with a photo of Ames police in full riot gear. Thousands of overzealous partiers had turned into drunken, destructive rioters in Campustown for three consecutive nights. In part, the story said, “Veishea will never be the same” … “Temperatures in the 70s made conditions good for huge outdoor gatherings” … and “Preventive measures will be investigated thoroughly [including] developing more evening activities as alternatives to drinking.”

(Does this sound familiar to those of you who have been around more recently?)

The 1989 celebration was quieter, with cooler weather, tougher alcohol restrictions, and alcohol-free activities.

But it would not last. In 1992, an estimated 8,000 rioters “smacked Veishea with its second black eye in four years,” according to the summer 1992 issue of VISIONS. President Martin Jischke responded, “I believe, in the absence of change, we’re on the path to a real tragedy.” He said that the “official” Veishea must be revitalized as a university celebration and this newer, “unofficial” Veishea must be eliminated.

(Um, again, does this sound familiar? This was in 1992, folks. Even before social media.)

Jischke established a Veishea Task Force, which supported the continuation of Veishea but declared, “If violence occurs again, Veishea will not survive.”

The spring 1993 issue of VISIONS put Veishea on its cover, with an illustration of Humpty Dumpty and the headlines “Veishea on the wall” and “Can we put Veishea back together again?”

Veishea survived in 1993 with well-behaved students and visitors.

But in 1994, Veishea was in the news again with an estimated 2,000 property-damaging, rocks-and-bottle-throwing partiers in west Ames. The Ames police had to break up the party with mace.

(Hello! Are you seeing a pattern here?)

The summer 1994 issue of VISIONS said, “Saving Veishea was an exhausting task, keeping it saved will be no less so.”

SO NOW WE’RE UP TO 1997, when 19-year-old Uri Sellers was stabbed to death during a Veishea party. It doesn’t matter that he wasn’t an Iowa State student. It doesn’t matter that the party was off campus. It happened during Veishea.

President Jischke said the university vowed to do its part to see that “this kind of senseless violence…doesn’t happen again.” VISIONS magazine devoted two pages to a series of opinions under the headline “What should we do about Veishea?”

In fall 1997, Jischke gave students an ultimatum: End Veishea, or make it alcohol-free. Five major student organizations signed the pledge to keep the campus and all related activities “dry” during Veishea 1998. The event was deemed a success, and students billed the 1999 Veishea as “the largest student-run alcohol-free celebration in the nation.”

By 2001, Veishea was still dry, but student groups were no longer required to sign a pledge. In 2002, the fifth year the festival was alcohol-free, arrests were down dramatically.

But in 2004, following a four-hour riot in the early morning hours of Sunday, April 18, ISU President Gregory Geoffroy announced that the 82-year-old student-run celebration would be suspended for a year while a task force assessed “the underlying cause of the disturbance and develop recommendations for minimizing the likelihood of similar disturbances in the future.”

(OK, so how many times have we done this now?)

But I have to give this group credit. It brought Veishea back in 2006 and made some major changes in the event.

“In the end, I decided I’m just not ready to give up on our students,” Geoffroy said optimistically during a March 23 press conference. I think most people agreed, although many in the Ames community were ready to put a stop to the festival then and there.

Locations were changed. Campustown activities were eliminated. More alternative activities were scheduled. A plan to educate students was put into place. And the “dry” Veishea policy was reworked, hoping to eliminate the growing problem of large, off-campus parties.

So in 2006 there was no special alcohol policy during Veishea, and the event was highly anticipated after a year without Veishea.

The next few years were fairly quiet. Veishea managed to fall on wet, cold, or even snowy weekends – which seems to help with crowd control more than anything else. But every year, Ames and campus police officers and ISU administrators held their collective breath.


On Tuesday night – TUESDAY NIGHT!!! Not even the weekend! – 3,000 to 5,000 people converged on Campustown, flipping over two cars, tearing down light poles, damaging street signs and other property, and throwing full beer cans and rocks at police who tried to stop the alcohol-fueled riot. An ISU student suffered severe head injuries when he was struck by a falling light pole, and emergency workers were temporarily unable to reach the injured man because of the crowd. Hundreds of young people were gleefully Tweeting and Instagramming the whole thing.

Wednesday morning, President Leath met with his cabinet, and at 1:30 in the afternoon he announced that the university would suspend the remainder of this year’s Veishea celebration effective at 5 p.m. And he made it very clear that the future of Veishea was in serious jeopardy.

“A safe environment is my and my staff’s No. 1 priority,” he told the large crowd gathered in the Memorial Union’s South Ballroom. “Veishea has been overshadowed by too many acts of this nature. This conduct is not going to be tolerated.”

So, here we are, going into what was supposed to be Veishea weekend, with no cherry pies or parade or SOV or Veishea Village to look forward to. Do you know how hard the Veishea Committee and hundreds of other people have worked to make this weekend a success? Do you know how much money has been spent…and how much revenue will be lost?

But before you think I’m opposed to the decision, let me just say that I’m not. For the past almost 30 years we’ve done everything we can think of to solve the Veishea problem, and it just keeps rearing its destructive, unruly head.

What choice did President Leath have, really? We’ve tried stressing the family-friendly parts of the celebration, we’ve tried enforcing stricter rules concerning alcohol consumption, we’ve tried to be more lenient with students who consume too much alcohol… and IT DOESN’T WORK. Nothing works. I can understand why students, alumni, and others are complaining about this draconian solution – cancelling this year’s celebration all together – but it’s the only solution. Even though it’s sad. Even though there are no winners here – only losers.

It’s too early to say what will happen next year and in future years. But one thing is for sure: Iowa State University cannot continue to sanction an event that has caused so much destruction, so much drunken behavior, so many injuries and loss of life.

Please feel free to let us know what you think, but do keep the past 30 years in mind when you offer your opinions and solutions. Because we’re living proof that history repeats itself.

Meet the 2014 Iowa STATEment Makers: Maria Schwamman Charbonneaux

Iowa STATEment Makers is a recognition program of the Iowa State University Alumni Association’s Young Alumni Council, honoring graduates of the past 10 years who have made strong statements in careers, entrepreneurial endeavors, academics, community service, or personal achievements. There are 17 honorees for 2014, and we’re introducing each of them to you here on the blog.

Urbandale, Iowa

charbonneauxphotoMaria (’07 journalism) was still a student in the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication when she first joined the Meredith Corporation in Des Moines. In less than a decade with the high-profile publishing company, she has become a senior associate editor, currently working with “Do It Yourself,” a popular Better Homes and Gardens special interest publication. Her work offers direct guidance and inspiration to do-it-your-selfers; in addition to her research, writing, and editing, she’s also involved in photo shoots, creating website content, and managing the publication’s social media presence. Before joining the staff of “Do It Yourself,” Maria was an associate editor at “Kitchen+Bath Makeovers” and a staff writer for both “American Patchwork & Quilting” and “Scrapbooks etc.” A former managing editor of “Ethos” magazine and features editor at the Iowa State Daily, Maria is making the most of her lifelong passion for journalism.

Maria on…

…her favorite spot on the ISU campus: “The sidewalk that leads from Hamilton Hall to central campus. I logged a lot of hours in Hamilton, so I always savored those last steps outdoors before entering the building and looked forward to that first breath of fresh air after leaving.”

…her favorite college memory: “I can thank my part-time job at the University Book Store for many of my favorite college memories. In my first week there, I met two of my best friends and my future husband.”

…her guilty pleasures: “home-design blogs, antiques stores, and Netflix”

…her role models: “My grandmothers have both been pretty amazing examples of kindness, humility, perseverance, and hard work.”


Five Things

Here are five things to put on your Cyclone radar this week.

1) Can you believe it’s VEISHEA already? Right now the weather forecast looks pretty VEISHEA-friendly, with highs in the upper 60s and even 70s under partly cloudy skies predicted most days. Stars Over VEISHEA: Into the Woods has already started at Fisher Theater, and the opening ceremonies are set for Tuesday. Saturday is the parade, VEISHEA Village, and all that good stuff. And yes, you can even follow VEISHEA cherry pies on Twitter. Here’s a gratuitous “student posing with vat of pie crust” photo for you:


For every dirty detail of VEISHEA 2014, be sure to check out the official VEISHEA website. We’ve also highlighted a few events, including our annual open house at the ISU Alumni Center (FREE root beer floats! You heard us correctly!), on our website. It’s worth noting that two of our alumni clubs — Denver and Washington, D.C. — are celebrating VEISHEA virtually this year. The Denver club is having a ski day Saturday (registration is already closed — sorry!), and the D.C. club is planning a “VEISHEA East” picnic for the 26th (details still forthcoming). And, of course, Cy’s Days of Service is going on all month long to allow ALL Iowa State alumni, students, and friends to show their VEISHEA spirit with service projects. Need some inspiration for doing your own Cy’s Days of Service project? There’s a Pinterest board for that.

2) ISU associate professor of psychology Zlatan Krizan does some pretty interesting research, though a lot of it may not be exactly what you want to hear. Last April, for example, he warned about the dangers of optimism as they related to elections. And now he’s saying that we’re maybe not really as good at something as we think we are. (Gasp!) So yeah, the guy is kind of a wet blanket. But he’s our wet blanket, and we’ll embrace his scientifically-backed bad news with open arms.

3) Do you like beating Iowa? Of course you do. And now you can run your way to a Cy-Hawk title with Mike ’01 and Kate ’95 Maurer’s Rival Game Relay Sept. 12-13 (the football game is right after the race on Saturday, Sept. 13). Cyclone and Hawkeye relay teams will race against each other from Ames to tiny Tiffin (located eight miles west of Iowa City).

There are lots of fun components to the relay — you can pick an awesome team name and dress in uniforms; there’s a celebration party after the race and before the football game; the funds raised benefit a different charity each year — this year it’s Nephcure; and ISU alumni teams can get a big discount on registration fees if they sign up by May 1. (Enter code ISUALUMNI at checkout for $100 off a regular team — 10 members — registration and $50 off an ultra team — five members — registration.) Beat Iowa, everyone. Let’s do this.

4) Looking for parenting tips on the Internet? Yeah, they’re everywhere. But how about tips from a trusted source like ISU Extension? Check out the Science of Parenting blog, where you read tips from ISU experts and listen to some pretty helpful podcasts. Their latest post and podcast deals with religion, and you can browse tons of archived topics on the site as well. And yes, Science of Parenting is even on Twitter.

5) We love photographer Jim Heemstra, and we know you do, too. He’s been capturing the beauty of Iowa State for decades now, and his images have found an iconic place in the hearts of many Iowa Staters. That’s why we’re super happy for him that his photographs from the coast-to-coast VISIONS Across America project are now on display at the Brunnier Art Museum. “VISIONS Across America: Portraits of Iowa State Alumni by Jim Heemstra” opened Thursday and will be up until Aug. 9 at the Brunnier. More than 330 guests attended an opening reception on Friday night. Check out some pics:





And if you missed Friday’s reception — no big deal. You still have most of the summer to make it over and check out the exhibition. If you come see it during VEISHEA week (tomorrow-Saturday) and tell us what you think using our custom entry forms, you will be entered to win a goodie basket from University Museums and the ISU Alumni Association. So there’s no time like the present to come see Jim’s work in living color.

Have a great VEISHEA week!

Meet the 2014 Iowa STATEment Makers: Louis Kishkunas

Iowa STATEment Makers is a recognition program of the Iowa State University Alumni Association’s Young Alumni Council, honoring graduates of the past 10 years who have made strong statements in careers, entrepreneurial endeavors, academics, community service, or personal achievements. There are 17 honorees for 2014, and we’re introducing each of them to you here on the blog.

Kishkunas photo

Lemont, Ill.
Annual Member

Louis (’06 political science) is a senior project manager at the Noble Network of Charter Schools – the highest performing charter organization in Chicago – and won an “Extra Miler” award for his service to the organization over the last six months. Prior to his current position, he was a decorated service member in U.S. Air Force, where he was selected to the highly competitive intelligence division of the U.S. Air Force Weapons School – one of the most demanding courses in the Department of Defense, and won the Mission Support Award as the top-rated student in his class. He was deployed twice to Afghanistan, where he earned two Air Force Commendation Medals and two NATO Afghanistan Medals. He led the intelligence plans for the defense of the two largest bases in Afghanistan – protecting more than $5 billion in assets and 50,000 people. He was also selected to teach intelligence and mission planning techniques in the United Arab Emirates and has authored two classified papers for the Air Force. He earned a master’s in public administration and policy at Northwestern University.

Louis on…

…his favorite ISU tradition: “VEISHEA – hands down, especially the way we brought it back during my senior year in 2006…the music and other events that were moved back to campus, the parade, the cherry pies – it’s just a great celebration of all that ISU has to offer.”

…his guilty pleasure: “The Cookie Dough Donut from Dunkin Donuts – it’s the best, worst thing ever.”

…his role model: “My first commander, Lt. Col. Tim West. He is a great mentor and example to me. He really took care of all of us but was constantly pushing us to be better officers and people. If I can develop half the tenacity that he has, I’ll end up doing very well.”

…what would make the world a better place: “If we thought the best of people more than thinking the worst. We live in a really polarized world and tend to cast opposing views as villainous, stupid, etc., rather than trying to understand that other side.”