Lessons learned

From the October 2016 issue of Cy’s Suitcase, the official publication of the Traveling Cyclones

When you travel, you learn quickly that things are out of your control. There are delayed flights, cancelled flights, lost luggage, gate changes, and the list goes on. Typically, we experience one or two of these on a given trip. In July I was lucky enough to experience every single one of these on ONE trip. Having all of these happen to me taught me some valuable lessons I needed.

My adventure started in Des Moines, where my flight was delayed to Chicago. When our flight finally landed at O’Hare with only minutes to spare to make my connection, panic started to set in when I realized that if I missed this flight I may have to wait until tomorrow. This is never good, especially when you are hosting a group. I did the walk/jog through the terminals, caught the train, and made it just in time. I collapsed in my seat, relieved THAT was over. Little did I know my adventure was just beginning.

I landed in Copenhagen tired, but ready to go! I made my way to the luggage carousel and waited for my luggage. And waited. And waited. It never came. All the years I have traveled, this has only happened twice on the return, which is not a big deal. I went to the counter, trying to keep my cool. The gentleman there was very rude and not reassuring at all. I may have fought back tears at this moment, but I had to act like it wasn’t a big deal as I was surrounded by travelers. Once on the ship, I talked to the concierge and our GoNext program managers, who assured me this was common and that they were sure it would show up the next day.

white-teeHere is the part where I confess how horribly I had prepared: I travel a lot and know it is a common rule to pack an extra outfit and toiletries in your carry-on bag, but I gambled and lost. My carry-on was jam packed and there wasn’t an inch left for anything else. Plus, this sort of thing never happens to me, so I felt confident. That night I slept in a white t-shirt that the airlines had given me, washed my face and put Jergens hand lotion on my face, as that is what was provided to me. I washed my underwear and hung them on the clothesline in the bathroom and got into bed.

Lesson 1. Pack extra clothes and toiletries in your carry on.

Notice I didn’t say I slept. Because I didn’t. I was worried about my luggage as they had told me it hadn’t been located yet. My mind raced as I thought of everything that was in my suitcase that I may never see again.

Lesson 2: Don’t pack anything of value or anything you will miss.

Another confession: I had forgotten to purchase travel insurance. (In my defense, my life at work was crazy insane as I was covering for two additional employees who had left the ISUAA, so that explains a lot — right?)

Lesson 3.  Always buy travel insurance.

The next morning, we were off to Berlin. With some extra time while there, I found an H&M clothing store and bought some things. I didn’t buy a lot because I was sure my luggage would appear soon. When we got back on the ship later that day I was told there was still no word on my luggage. Now I was worried. That night when I went to dinner my passengers noticed a change of clothes and were excited for me. No, I told them. No luggage. Just a shopping spree in Berlin. Again, no sleeping that night. I was living on 4 hours of sleep in two days. Not good. I was soon told by a fellow host that Zzz-Quil works wonders. I took one that night and will never travel without it again!

Lesson 4.  Always have a supply of sleeping aids with me.

Finally, I received a text in the middle of the night telling me they had located my luggage.  What a relief. Although it had been located, now we had to figure out to which port it should be sent. I soon became known as “the lady without luggage.” Word travels fast on a small ship, and before I knew it I had strangers asking me if I had gotten my luggage. Or people stopped me to tell me their own horror stories. If you have ever been pregnant, you know how moms stop to tell you all about their labors; it was like that. You really don’t want to know, but you are polite and smile. Day 3 passed, then 4 days. . .I started frequenting the ship boutique, which is not an economical place to shop for necessities. I became friends with the boutique workers and they were sad when my luggage was located as I stopped visiting. After five days, I received word that the luggage would be at the Latvia airport. It was soon decided I needed to go get it as they wouldn’t release it to the ship porter. I left my excursion early to get to the ship and take a taxi to the airport. When I arrived I was told I no longer needed to go and could have a someone else pick it up. I was told it would be there by 2:00. You can bet that at 2:00 I was at the concierge desk asking for it. They assured me it would be there. I stood and waited. I am sure they loved me at suitcasethis point. Finally, a call came in that my luggage was there and, after a 30-minute wait which seemed like 30 days, my suitcase and I were reunited. When I got to my stateroom and opened that oversized suitcase and looked at all that I had, it was like looking at a buffet after you had already eaten. It was pure gluttony. I had so many clothes packed and I had been living on three shirts and one standard evening outfit for five days. I felt guilty.

Lesson 5: I can pack much lighter.

I enjoyed the remainder of the trip with all the clothes I hadn’t yet worn and never did unpack. What was the point with only four days left?

On the trip home my adventure continued. We had landed in Chicago after leaving Stockholm but were stuck on the tarmac for about an hour while a storm passed. Again, precious connection flight minutes were ticking away. Once we were able to deplane, I now needed to rush through Customs, rechecking my bag (which I will add was another scare as the attendant said my flight wasn’t showing up yet and he placed a sticky note on it. I told him, “Hold on. This suitcase and I were just reunited, please make sure it doesn’t get lost again. He assured me it would be fine. I felt zero confidence in his words.) I had no time to argue as my flight was leaving in less than 30 minutes and I still had to go through security. I made it to our gate out of breath. After an hour of delayed flights and many gate changes, it was announced that our flight was cancelled due to storms. I headed to the gate agent and rebooked a flight out the next morning. I grabbed a cot, pillow, and blanket and laid in the dark next to strangers, trying not to worry about my luggage with the yellow sticky note on it and where it may be. After hours of watching a wind turbine video play over and over above my head, the lights came on and we were on our way. It was 4:00 am and we all trudged to the nearest chance of coffee (FYI Starbucks is not open at this time in O’Hare). At 7:00 am I checked with a gate agent; the next flight to DSM was cancelled, so I waited for the next flight at 10:00 am. You can imagine how desperate I was to get out of this place and get home! We did board the plane for our 10:00 am flight, but it was taking a long time to leave. It was soon announced that a ceiling panel had fallen from the plane ceiling so we had to call maintenance to come fix it. Between finding the right tools, parts, etc., this took more than one hour. I was ready to rent a car. GET ME OUT OF HERE! They finally fixed it but now we had to refuel due to being on the tarmac too long. I can’t make this stuff up! When that plane took off, I may have shed tears of joy. Once we landed I went straight to the lost luggage counter. She asked if I had looked on the carousel yet. I told her no; you can imagine her look of surprise. So I went back to the carousel and waited and there she was: my taupe, beaten, but not broken, luggage. I grabbed that baby and rushed out of there and smiled all the way home.

Lesson 6: Don’t ever stop believing in miracles.

Safe travels,

Shellie Andersen ’88, Director of Alumni Travel
Iowa State University Alumni Association



Five Things

Here are five things to put on your Cardinal & Gold radar this week:


1) With the exciting announcement last week that senior point guard Monté Morris has been named the Big 12 Conference Preseason Player of the Year and Friday night’s Hilton Madness kickoff event (Deonte Burton won the slam-dunk contest again) drawing thousands to Hilton Coliseum to preview the 2016-2017 Cyclone men’s and women’s basketball squads, talking hoops is starting to come back in style in Ames.

The Cyclone women will be in action for the first time on Sunday, Nov. 6 at 1 p.m. with an exhibition against Briar Cliff, while the men play an exhibition against Sioux Falls later that evening, at 6 p.m.

2) The ISU Heritage Tree Program has a new offering for fall 2016: Catt Hall ginkgoes. Get a piece of the Iowa State campus for your home or business through this unique ISU Alumni Association and ISU Department of Horticulture partnership.

Ginkgoes are living fossils that have existed on Earth for more than 250 million years. Their unique, fan-shaped leaves resist insects and diseases and turn bright yellow late in the autumn. Seedlings, grown from seeds harvested from the Catt Hall Grove in 2013, are now available for $50 each or $40 each if you purchase two or more. Orders will be accepted online through Oct. 31, or until all the trees are sold.

3) The return of the ISU Homecoming parade is officially less than ONE WEEK AWAY. Join us in downtown Ames Sunday at 2 p.m. for the return of tradition. Get more details online.


4) Saturday night’s football game in Austin didn’t turn out the way Cyclone Nation was hoping it would on the gridiron, but it was a great opportunity for our alumni clubs in Houston, Austin, and Dallas to engage new friends — more than 650 were on hand for the pregame event outside of Darrell K. Royal Stadium. Thank you to our awesome volunteers who, as always, are making things happen and making Iowa State visible across the U.S. Find an alumni club near you at www.isualum.org/clubs and start getting involved.


5) Today, Oct. 17, is National Pasta Day, so get in the spirit by enjoying a bowl today. This stuff of shaped semolina celebration also happens to be on the menu for Monday’s Homecoming lunch, which is free that day and every day (seven meals in total) if you’ve purchased a $5 Homecoming button. Buttons are being sold every day this week from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. outside the ISU Bookstore, or stop by the ISU Alumni Center during business hours to get yours. The first Homecoming Food on Campus event is this coming Saturday, Oct. 22 from noon-2 p.m.

Science Bound

A program committed to Iowa’s ethnically diverse students celebrates 25 years

In 1991, when less than one percent of Iowans identified as Black, American Indian, or Hispanic, a program was conceived at Iowa State to embrace a national focus on increasing diversity in agriculture, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (ASTEM) fields.

Twenty-five years later, Iowa’s demographics have shifted. The state’s minority student population is at an all-time high, and that program created in 1991 – Science Bound – has seen more than 100 ethnically diverse students from Iowa high schools graduate from Iowa State, with a majority obtaining degrees in ASTEM fields.

Science Bound works with schools in Des Moines, Marshalltown, and Denison to identify eighth-grade, ethnic minority students with a propensity toward math and science and asks them to make a five-year commitment. Students complete activities to equip them academically and empower them socially and culturally for an ASTEM college degree. Those who successfully complete the five-year Science Bound program earn a four-year tuition scholarship to study an ASTEM field at Iowa State.

By the time Science Bound students graduate high school and complete the five-year program, they have been on campus more than a dozen times. Ninety-eight percent of students who complete the five-year Science Bound program enroll in college immediately after high school. Almost 60% choose to attend Iowa State.

Science Bound’s support continues for those students who attend Iowa State, making the program a nine-year, long-haul effort. ISU Science Bound freshmen participate in a customized seminar, and students have access to private study spaces, mentoring programs, and academic resources.


A family’s path to higher education
Sergio (’10 mechanical engineering) and Maribel (’15 animal science) Piñon are two of three siblings in their family to complete the Science Bound program and attend Iowa State. Both recall visits to the Iowa State campus through Science Bound giving them a taste of the student experience and wide variety of majors.

Well before he began high school, Sergio knew that mechanical engineering was his desired career path. He’s seen that dream become a reality; he’s now a quality engineer at Quality Manufacturing in Urbandale.

Maribel’s path was a bit more unusual.

“One of the visits to ISU included a lab where we conducted a pig necropsy – a pig autopsy,” she said. “None of the other programs caught and held my attention like that one did. So it probably sounds morbid, but because of that lab I knew that I wanted to study something with anatomy and nutrition of animals. That’s how I found animal science.”

This fall, Maribel is continuing her education as she begins a master’s degree in animal systems management at the Purpan School of Engineering in Toulouse, France.

The siblings say that their degrees likely wouldn’t have been possible without Science Bound.

“If it weren’t for the scholarship, I probably wouldn’t have been able to go to college,” Sergio said. “I tried to be really involved with Science Bound at Iowa State because of that. I’m very grateful.”

“It helped us financially, but more than that it helped my parents know what to expect for my brother and me after my sister went through the program,” Maribel added. “Science Bound is like a big support system. We’ve been with the program from eighth grade through college; we established a really strong connection. We’re still supporting each other and cheering each other on.”

Skills for success
sciencebound_barrettBuilding up math and science skills through Science Bound programs proved invaluable for JaRae’ (Shelton) Barrett (’10 food science).

“I come from a family of foodies,” Barrett said. “I always loved food but didn’t know how to translate that to a career. Science Bound showed me that there was a food science major at Iowa State and helped me gain the necessary skills and explore what I wanted to do. I can’t thank them enough for that exposure.”

Barrett works as a food technologist at Ventura Foods in Saginaw, Texas. Her research and development, along with creative work, helps formulate mayonnaises, sauces, and dressings for a wide variety of clients.

sciencebound_creightonCameron Creighton (’06 industrial technology) also gives Science Bound credit for helping him find a career path that fit his interests.

Creighton works in Los Angeles as a product manager for the Toyota RAV4 SUV. His job includes product planning to create detailed specs for the vehicle – everything from paint color to wheel sizes. It’s his job to ensure that these details reflect the preferences and needs of the customer.

“Science Bound steered me toward a more technical degree, and I think that’s a good thing,” Creighton said. “I think it’s good to get more minorities into the technical fields, and Science Bound is really the reason that I ended up where I did.”

“Science Bound does literally everything in their power to give you the resources to excel in a math or science field. You were never alone,” Barrett said. “They give you the confidence boost to believe that you can do it, too.”


  • Science Bound is the only program in the state designed to prepare ethnically diverse Iowa students for careers in ASTEM fields.
  • Science Bound is a long-term student development program that asks 12-13 year olds to make a five-year commitment.
  • The program began with seed funding from Ames Lab and ISU in 1989-1990 and was fully launched with the receipt of a three-year National Science Foundation grant. Current funding comes from Iowa State University and area businesses, corporations, foundations, and individual sponsors.
  • 3,000+ The number of middle and high school students from Des Moines, Marshalltown, and Denison who have participated in Science Bound
  • More than 500 The number of high school students who have completed the five-year program and been offered tuition scholarships to ISU
  • 113 The number of Science Bound students who have graduated from ISU since 2000
  • 98% The percentage of Science Bound students who complete the five-year program and pursue post-secondary education
  • 55% The percentage of females who currently participate in the program
  • 62% The percentage of Hispanic/Latino students currently enrolled in the program (26% African American, 7% two or more races, 3% American Indian/Alaskan Native, 2% Hawaiian/Pacific Islander)
  • ISU graduates of the program are employed by Monsanto, Rockwell Collins, Wells Fargo, Principal Financial, Boeing, John Deere, and many other regional and national companies and institutions

— Coreen Robinson


Five Things

Here are five things to put on your Cardinal & Gold radar this week:

steinem  jim-kim-presidentcrop

1) This is a big week for high-profile campus lectures, including the Borlaug lecture featuring this year’s four World Food Prize laureates tonight in the Great Hall; Gloria Steinem’s “My Life on the Road” talk Tuesday in Stephens Auditorium, and World Bank president/Muscatine, Iowa native Jim Yong Kim’s presentation in the College of Business CEO speaker series Thursday in 1148 Gerdin. That’s just another week at ISU.

t200_ball_tee-page-0012) Tomorrow is the deadline to order official “Leave Your LegaCY” 2016 Homecoming apparel, which can be picked up Oct. 17-21, Oct. 28, or Oct. 29 at the ISU Alumni Center (sorry, items cannot be shipped). This year’s designs include a short-sleeved gray T-shirt, 3/4-sleeved black and white baseball shirt, or a black quarter-zip sweatshirt.

3) Speaking of deadlines and Homecoming, submit your entry for the 2016 Homecoming Parade (Oct. 23 at 2 p.m. in downtown Ames) by this Saturday, Oct. 15.

4) Coming soon, we hope: The Iowa State education experience will be available in the great state of Montana, thanks to the generosity of Rod French and his late wife, Connie. The Frenches provided $4.1 million to create the Rod and Connie French Conservation Education Camp, nestled in the remote and rugged Bitterroot Mountains west of Missoula, Mont. Learn more about this unique new ISU initiative online.

5) The ISU Bacon Expo was Saturday. Were you there? If not, get a recap from the Iowa State Daily here.

Have a great week! Hook the Horns!


Five Things

Here are five things to put on your Cardinal & Gold radar this week:


1) Friday night was an exciting one for the university as the ISU Foundation announced the official kickoff of Forever True for Iowa State, a new comprehensive university fundraising campaign with an unprecedented $1.1 billion goal.

“One of Iowa State’s greatest resources is its family of loyal alumni and friends,” ISU President Steven Leath said at the kickoff event Friday night in Hilton Coliseum. “This degree of loyalty is why the name of this campaign feels so appropriate. Our alumni remain forever true to this university – as Iowa State remains forever true to the principles of innovation, diversity and accessibility on which it was founded.”

2) You may have read the article in our fall issue of VISIONS magazine featuring YOUR stories and memories about Lake LaVerne. We compiled them this summer in celebration of Lake LaVerne’s 100th birthday (May 10). You can read the stories here on our blog now — PLUS we have a collection of bonus stories that didn’t make it into the mag, which can be read here. Have more Lake LaVerne stories to share? We never tire of them! Post them in the comments or email them to Kate at kbruns@iastate.edu.

3) Have you ever taken a moment to click through the “adventure” stories on the Iowa State University homepage? They are quick, fun, and share-able reads that will make any Iowa Stater proud. Get the scoop on invisibility cloaks and much more in Cyclone Adventures.


4) Tonight at 7 p.m. in the MU Sun Room, Liz Garst — the granddaughter of Iowa farmers and citizen diplomats Elizabeth and Roswell Garst — will present “Corn and Khrushchev: A Brief History of Iowa Agriculture.” Garst was 8 years old in 1959 when her grandfather hosted Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev at his Coon Rapids farm.

5) It’s Disability Awareness Week. Check out the events that have been planned to help energize and educate the campus.

More Greetings from Lake LaVerne

We received a tremendous response last spring and summer to our call for stories about Lake LaVerne on the occasion of its 100th birthday, and we printed many of those tales in our fall issue of VISIONS magazine.

But here are some more remembrances you may not have seen yet:

Some incidents from the dim-and-distant past, which I have always assumed related: I believe these both happened during 1955-56. The first involved a “bomb”– a device with a timer, left one evening on an upstairs balcony at the end of a women’s dorm, containing what appeared to be two or three sticks of dynamite. The bomb was discovered by a dorm resident and was disarmed by a janitor, who (at great risk to himself!), opened the device and ripped apart the wires therein. As it turned out, the dynamite sticks were fake: The dynamite wrappers were real, but their explosive contents had been replaced by sawdust soaked in syrup. There were a lot of rumors –- even accusations that it was an inside job — but the Ames police did not release much information on their findings.

One morning several months later, there was an explosion near the dam at the southeast end of Lake LaVerne.  Investigation indicated that an explosive had been placed there, with the apparent intent of opening a gap in the dam to lower the lake level. But the attempt was sufficiently nonprofessional that only minor damage was done to the dam, and the lake was not affected.  That incident, in my view, answers the question of what happened to the original contents of the dynamite sticks used in the earlier prank.

Notwithstanding the tools employed, that was not the most successful attempt to drain the Lake. I cannot remember the date — it was between 1954 and 1956 -– when someone pushed a pipe through the south bank of the lake from the ravine that paralleled Lincoln Way. Water ran out of the Lake into the ravine and back to the stream below the dam.  This attempt did, in fact, result in a significant drop in lake level– on the order of a foot or so– before it was detected and the pipe was plugged.  Again, I do not remember anyone officially blamed for the damage: That activity would have required a lot of people, and could not have been done quickly, so I was surprised that nothing came of it, at least during my three years at ISU.

I’m too old to remember much else, but those incidents obviously stuck with me. Believe me, I had no part in any of them, although my roommates accused me of complicity!

James R. Fancher ’56
Naperville, Ill.

thongvanh“I usually come here to hang out over my lunch break. Oh look, the swans are heading our way!”

— Allison Thongvanh ’13

Just read that you’re going to do a story about LaVerne Noyes. Did you know he founded the Aeromotor Windmill Co.?  I just learned this earlier this year. I’m surprised this part of LaVerne Noyes’ life I had never heard before–and I pride myself on knowing lots of ISU trivia. Since the company is still in business and there are scholarships at ISU from the company, I’m excited to read what other info you find out about how the windmill company continues to benefit ISU. Alum Noyes possibly has the longest financial giving back of any alum.

Jay Hinkhouse, MD ’85
Ames, Iowa

I enjoyed sitting on the south side of LaVerne during the fall and looking north across the lake at the changing leaves of the trees with the back drop of the Campanile. That was the best time of year on campus!

Evan Brehm ’12
Newhall, Iowa

trees“We’re in town for a softball game and decided to take a tour of campus. I like the mature trees around the lake.”

One cold winter’s night I was walking back from Memorial Union to my dorm room in Helser Hall along the north side of Lake LaVerne.  Plenty of snow was on the ground, but the sidewalk was quite clean.  About 10’ ahead I noticed another student walking along, and he was smoking.  One whiff told me that it wasn’t tobacco.  He proceeded to drift down to the frozen lake and walk along the ice until he reached the west end.  I slowed down to watch, expecting a catastrophic wipeout, but he made it.

Brad Buecker ’77
Lenexa, Kan.

The year was 1959 and I was a senior at Iowa State College, majoring in civil engineering. I lived in Fairchild House in Friley-Hughes Hall where there was a good mix of engineers and foresters. There was a good-natured rivalry between the two groups and each thought the other dumber, weaker, etc.

A tug of war, it was agreed, would resolve the matter. It was VEISHEA and it was decided that the focal point of the contest would be Lake LaVerne. I’m unsure as to how the rope got across the Lake, but no doubt an engineer figured it out. The foresters chose the north (street) side, which the engineers were on the grassy south side.

I wasn’t a part of the engineers’ squad because at that time I wasn’t “beefy” enough. A lot has changed over the last 57 years. Although not big, my housemate Jerry was a part of the forester team and wore a white dress shirt to the contest. No doubt rules were agreed upon, like the number on each team and how the winner would be determined — probably when all of the foresters were pulled into the Lake.

For a minute or two after the contest started, things were even. Gradually, however — and probably due to better footing — the engineers started their march toward Lincoln Way. I can still see Jerry in his white shirt suspended above Lake LaVerne. Onlookers on the north side of the Lake, seeing the foresters were in trouble, decided to give them a hand and joined the foresters’ squad. Likewise, when the engineers started to be pulled toward the Lake the bystanders on the south side joined the fray. And then it happened: The rope broke and the question of superiority went unresolved.

Dave Gravenkamp ’59
Yreka, Calif.

pokemon“We just came here to find Pokemon.”

Greetings from Lake LaVerne

Lake LaVerne. (Green Hills p.29)

On May 10, 2016, Lake LaVerne celebrated a milestone 100 years. While its credibility as a full-fledged “lake” may never be strong, its significance in the hearts and minds of Iowa Staters is ocean-deep. We asked for your favorite Lake LaVerne memories and stories, and you answered. Here is a sampling of the stories we received:

It’s great to skate:

laverne7“I was raised just up the street from Lake LaVerne (320 Stanton, to be exact). I remember going ice skating many times on Lake LaVerne, but one time especially stands out. I was about eight years old, I think, and I remember it being quite cold – probably around zero. There was always open water on the east end of the lake by the Union. My friends and I would often see how close we could get to the water without going through the ice. This time, I got too close. I don’t remember how much of me actually went into the water, but I believe it was well above my knees. I was able to get back onto the ice – perhaps with help from my friends, but I don’t remember. Deciding that it was time to go home, I went over to where my shoes were but couldn’t get my skates off. The shoelaces were frozen, along with my gloves and my pant legs. I had no choice, as I saw it, and walked home with my skates on. I remember it being very difficult to walk home, but I don’t remember anything after that. I suspect I went in and hid from my parents until I could get my skates off. I don’t think I ever tried to skate close to the open water again.”

– Doug McCay
(L)(’71 indus admin)
Ames, Iowa

“Several of us whose ‘dorm’ was Richards House, which at the time housed overflow transfer students, occasionally ice skated on Lake LaVerne in the winter months of 1964-1965. What fun!”

– Vicki Weissinger Long
(L)(’67 child development, MS ’70 education)
Lee’s Summit, Mo.

“Hot chocolate and peppermint schnapps may or may not have been involved in my memories of ice skating on Lake LaVerne. Those were great times! Special place on a special campus!”

– Randy Benton
(A)(’84 music), LeMars, Iowa

A note about the lake’s namesake:


Several of you wrote to us about LaVerne Noyes the man, pointing out his little-known business success in the wind turbine industry. Among our favorite letters about Noyes (1872, liberal arts and sciences, PhD 1915) is this one from Dan Etler:

“Last October my father, Don Etler (A)(’76 ag engr), and I were in Chicago doing research on a large history project that we have been working on. Our travels brought us to Graceland Cemetery, which is the final resting place to many of Chicago’s elite of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Graceland is located just a few blocks north of Wrigley Field. It was a beautiful, cool, but sunny Friday morning and we arrived bright and early to photograph the graves of the family members we are researching.

After we completed this task we decided to drive around the cemetery and see the stones of the famous people buried there: Cyrus McCormick (founder of International Harvester), Marshall Field (department store), George Pullman (train cars), Philip Armour (meat packing), and William Kimball (piano maker), just to name a few.

On the north side of Graceland there is a small lake, Lake Willowmere, near where many of these famous folks are buried. As we drove along the road I commented that this was sure a beautiful setting. I then noticed near the shore a very large square stone of red granite. The sides had been made smooth and inset was the name: LaVerne Noyes. I remember thinking, ‘I know that name!’ and I drove a few more feet. Then it hit me: Chicago. Wealthy & likely prominent. LaVerne Noyes.

I slammed on the brakes and pointed at the stone, yelling to my Dad, ‘Do you know who that is?’ It didn’t take him long (after I provided a few hints) to figure out that this was our Lake LaVerne namesake. Not sure how two Iowa Staters visiting Chicago could have had a more unexpected but memorable moment. It became one of the highlights of the trip.

Iowa Staters should know that our LaVerne Noyes rests peacefully on the shore of a beautiful little lake that is so very similar to the one that still bears his name at his alma mater.

And while all Iowa Staters know Lake LaVerne, few if any know how LaVerne Noyes made his fortune. The turbine on the top of windmills was his patent. His invention dotted the Iowa countryside and made life so much easier for farmers by pumping water from the well to the house. He and his wife had no children, so his fortune was divided up for scholarships (originally for WWI veterans) across 48 colleges and universities, including Iowa State. These scholarships continue to this day.”

– Dan Etler (L)(’95 finance)
Shawnee, Kan.

For when it’s forever:

laverne3“On Sept. 13, 2015, my boyfriend Mike and I set out to complete the Iowa State tradition of walking around Lake LaVerne three times in silence, holding hands to prove we were meant to be together. When we had finished the third lap, Mike got down on one knee and proposed! We will be married on Oct. 15.”

– Katie Brown (L)(’14 history)
Ames, Iowa

“A long time ago, my then-fiancé and I were late arriving for a movie, so we decided to do it [walk around Lake LaVerne three times]. The only problem was, it was below freezing and I was wearing a skirt – a rather short one. My legs didn’t warm up until the end of the next movie screening. But I am happy to report that we have now been married almost 42 years.”

– RuthAnn Royer
(L)(’75 art education, MA ’77 applied art)
Lincoln, Neb.

laverne5“You know that Lake LaVerne tradition, right? My best friend and I attempted to walk around the lake, thinking maybe we could stay friends forever. Anyway, it was super dark and scary and we ran home halfway through.”

– Allie Faivre, sophomore,
ag and life sciences ed

Gone Fishin’:

“I have to laugh every time I hear ‘Lake LaVerne!’ I had this wonderful 10-gallon aquarium with great, expensive fish set up in my fraternity room. I was really fussy about keeping it up. Well, one night a couple of jokers decided to play a trick on me and took one of my wire coat hangers and a pair of my long underwear, tied the legs in a knot, and made a net. They went right down to Lake LaVerne to get a few new fish for my aquarium.

This was done in the wee hours of the night, of course. The next morning I woke up with two gigantic gold fish swimming in my aquarium and all my nice fish huddled in the corner, frightened to death. After a little fishing [in the aquarium], back down to the Lake LaVerne they went.”

– Steve Frank (’76 farm operation)
Storm Lake, Iowa

laverne2“My earliest memory of Lake LaVerne is from 1955. My grandfather, Harry Osborne, had taken me fishing to Little Wall Lake north of Ames and to the Isaac Walton Park east of Ames on several occasions. I was only seven years old at the time, but I do remember that we had no luck with our fishing prowess.

Now is where my Lake LaVerne story begins. I was only seven years old, but needed to have a hernia operation. On July 13 the doctor told my mother that whatever she did, be sure to keep me quiet. So, she planned a fishing trip to Lake LaVerne. Needless to say, that was the day that I caught my first fish. In my mind the bluegill was a whopper. I kept jumping up and down while my mother tried to keep me calm. She snagged an Iowa State student and got him to help put the prize catch in the minnow bucket.”

– Alan O. Bornmueller (A)(’73 arch)
Greer, S.C.

On what ends up in the Lake:

“My uncle, Pete Perret (L)(’60 landscape arch), recalled the 1957 Iowa State basketball win over Kansas and Wilt Chamberlain that caused the campus to go wild. The campus was abuzz after the victory, and someone put some type of explosive under the dam by the lake. After the explosion a brick from the dam was found on the Memorial Union roof.”

– Kathy Perret (’81 elementary ed)
Sioux City, Iowa

“During finals week there was most likely a book or two floating on Lake LaVerne. I always assumed that the student who discarded them either was extremely glad to be done with the class, or tried to resell them, only to find out the bookstore wasn’t buying them back!”

– Lynne Murphy
(’81 leisure services)
Des Moines, Iowa


“I remember an eventful morning during the fall of my senior year, 1975, when a beef heifer escaped from the old Meat Lab; she took an interesting trip around campus that finished with the heifer in Lake LaVerne. It was an interesting morning.”

– John W. Hallberg (L)(’76 animal sci,
MS ’78 meat sci, DVM ’82, PhD ’84 meat sci)
Kalamazoo, Mich.

“On a warm Sunday afternoon in the summer of 1963 a longtime friend, Ken, and I purchased an eight pack of Miller beer (we were both over 21) and spent a quiet afternoon sitting in the shade drinking our beer, enjoying the warmth, and solving the world’s problems. As the day drifted on we decided it was time to go home, but we knew we could not take the remaining two cans of beer with us. What to do? Since we were near the campus we decided we would hide the beer in Lake LaVerne. We found a niche under the bank on the southeast shore of the lake and, without anyone around, tucked our remaining two cans of Miller in. We had planned to go back again to retrieve our stash, but neither did. After 56 years Ken and I are still friends. Both raised families and had varied lives, but neither went to look for our beer. Is it still there? I think I remember the general location, but over the 52 years the landmarks have changed – plus, I think the lake has been dredged since 1964. Still, maybe we should go back. No sense in wasting beer!”

– John Esser (L)(’65 horticulture)
Madison, Wis.

“I was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy from ISU in 1971. Having spent five years in Friley Hall, walking by the lake almost daily, leads to many memories. Perhaps the most memorable was the time when the NROTC was initiating freshmen NROTC students into the Sextant Society. We were fortunate to be able to experience Lake LaVerne up close; our duty was to patrol the lake to watch out for submarines and swan attackers. We wore our dress navy blue uniforms and used a row boat with oars while underway to cover our patrol area. I can say proudly that during our time on the lake the swans were never bothered and we did not have to have shots after our tour of ‘duty’ on the lake.”

– Paul (Pete) Friedman (L)(’71 chem engr, MS ’77)
Collierville, Tenn.