‘A Strong Group of Student Leaders’

Note: This story was published in the fall 2013 issue of VISIONS magazine and was written by Kayla Schantz

“Students Helping Students.” That was the motto of the Student Alumni Association when it was created at Iowa State 40 years ago. Today the organization — now the Student Alumni Leadership Council — is one of the largest and most prominent student groups on campus. From Homecoming to Cyclone Alley, SALC oversees some of the most central ISU events as it continues to serve students of the past, present, and future.

Student Alumni Association, pictured in the 1974 Bomb

In the fall of 1973, the late Don Gustafson (’55 general science), then the ISU Alumni Association director, called together a group of student leaders to establish a program to build a bridge between Iowa State students and alumni. The result was the creation of the Student Alumni Association (SAA), one of only a handful of student-alumni organizations in the country at that time.

According to the 1974 Bomb, SAA’s purpose was to meet “student needs which have not been met by other groups on campus.” One of the goals was to make students more aware of the services provided by the ISU Alumni Association.

In a 1974 report to the American Alumni Council, SAA adviser Kathryn Burnet Andre (L) (’69 sociology) explained that past students had little contact with the ISU Alumni Association and no appreciation for what the organization did on campus. SAA was created to inform students of the Association and involve them in alumni activities.

“Students and alumni are crowning assets of any institution of higher education; bringing the two together in one program is enriching to all concerned,” Andre wrote.

The first SAA consisted of a 15-member executive board and 150 additional students serving on nine committees. Dennis Probst (L) (’75 architecture, ’79 civil engineering, MA ’79 architecture) served as the organization’s first president.

SAA hit the ground running during its first year. The group took control of Parents’ Weekend (now Family Weekend), sold Homecoming mums to raise money for a student emergency loan program, and gave campus tours to prospective students.

As a precedent to today’s largely successful ISU Career Fairs, SAA organized “Summer Jobs Day,” in which more than 700 students talked with employers about summer job openings. Another SAA committee arranged chartered bus service and flights to major U.S. cities for out-of-state students.

The most acclaimed new SAA group was the Student Ambassadors. Thirty students visited 120 schools in Iowa and surrounding states to talk to high school seniors about Iowa State. The Ambassadors also represented the student body at alumni club gatherings and university banquets, even traveling to some events in a private plane with ISU President W. Robert Parks.

After only nine months on campus, SAA was awarded the Certificate of Merit with Honors by the American Alumni Council, creating national attention for the organization. In September 1974, Iowa State hosted the first national Student Alumni Association convention, where delegates from nearly 30 universities and colleges learned how to implement and enhance student-alumni programs on their own campuses.

By its first anniversary, SAA had already made an impact at Iowa State.

“I view the establishment of the Student Alumni Association as one of the most significant steps in the history of the Iowa State University Alumni Association,” Gustafson once said.

Student Alumni Association, 1983-1984


Welcome Day, Ambassadors, 1983


Chili Cook-off, fall 2002


May 2013 Senior Sendoff, ISU Alumni Center; ISUAA president Jeff Johnson (L) seated, center

Through the years
“Founded by a strong group of student leaders, it is hoped that this spirit of dedication will be continued through future student generations,” reported the Bomb after SAA’s first year of existence. The organization’s founders wouldn’t be disappointed. Over the years, SAA developed student programs and initiated new events, many of which continue today.

Student recruitment was always a key function of the organization. In 1974, SAA’s Cyclone Guides organized special “Cyclone Days” for outstanding high school students and National Merit Scholars to visit campus. In the 1980s, “Cyclone Stay-a-Days” allowed prospective students to sit in on classes, talk to advisers, and experience life at Iowa State.

To raise money for the Alumni Achievement Fund, SAA established a callathon, in which student volunteers called alumni across the country asking for pledges. In its first year, the event raised $42,000. The Senior Class Council launched a similar phone campaign in 1975 called the “Senior Challenge,” asking graduating seniors to pledge a small amount for the class gift.

The 1977 Senior Class Council planned the first-ever commencement breakfast for graduates and their parents outside of the Scheman Building. The council also created various opportunities for seniors each year.

“As a group, we developed and ran specific types of events for graduating seniors,” said Kevin Drury (L) (’83 agricultural business), 1983 Senior Class president. “We used to have bar nights. We had career-related seminars. We organized the senior class reception at The Knoll.”

In 1980, the ISU Alumni Association took over the administration of Homecoming and continued to fund the program until 1990 when it officially became a part of SAA. The group created two new committees – Cy Squad and Homecoming Central – to run the event.

Freshmen arriving at ISU in the fall of 1981 participated in the first SAA-sponsored “Welcome Day” that included orientation and entertainment. The students enjoyed intramural sports, a street dance, and campus tours as they became familiar with the university and their classmates. Now known as “Destination Iowa State,” the event continues today through the Office of Admissions.

“Summer Job Day” was expanded to include post-graduation job opportunities. SAA has also sponsored career-related events such as etiquette seminars, alumni mentoring programs, and job shadowing days.

Julie Larson (L) (MS ’84 education), SAA/SALC adviser from 1984 through 1997, says that the organization has always had an emphasis on careers.

“SALC has been involved in career-related programs from the beginning,” she said. “The programs have evolved from Summer Job Days and Pre-Occupational Day, to Mentoring and currently Career Preview Days.”

The decades of the ’80s and ’90s saw an expansion of new programs: Founders Day celebrations, campus chili cook-offs, Senior Week, a Student Foundation Committee, Outstanding Academic Advising Award, Etiquette Dinners, Getting Involved Seminars, and Lil’ Sibs Weekends.

The success of SAA during these years is largely attributed to the late Jim Hopson (’69 indust ed), longtime executive director of the ISU Alumni Association. “He was the students’ greatest advocate,” Larson said. “Because of his passion for student leaders and his financial backing, we were able to expand our programs and attend national and district conferences, where we gained friendships and as well as knowledge.”

In 1995, Larson saw a need to connect more students with the Alumni Association than the 100 students involved in SAA. After research and discussion with other institutions, a proposal was submitted to the Board of Directors to start a membership discount program for students. The student membership program made its debut in the fall of 1996. For $15, students were offered a membership that included discounts at local businesses, a T-shirt, calendar, VISIONS magazine, and special members-only events. During the first year, 750 memberships were sold.

The student membership program went through several name changes. In spring 2000, the Alumni Association made the decision to call the membership program SAA and change SAA (the leadership program) to the Student Alumni Leadership Council (SALC). SAA became a program of the SALC as a membership and benefits group.

The most recent major addition to SALC – the men’s and women’s basketball student section “Cyclone Alley” – has become one of the most notable programs at Iowa State. According to Ellen Shertzer, former SALC adviser, a group of ISU students became inspired to launch the program after traveling to a University of Illinois basketball game and observing its student
section, the “Orange Krush.”


Cyclone Alley Central with Gary Thompson (L) (’57 phys ed), 2006

“They knew that there were other campuses out there that they’d heard about or seen on TV with incredible bands and students really getting into it,” Shertzer said, adding that SALC members were excited to implement a similar program and enhance the atmosphere at Hilton Coliseum.

For its first season in 2003-04, Cyclone Alley attracted 1,000 members. The student section has grown in its short history and is now well known throughout the Big 12 Conference as an essential part of Hilton Magic. Cyclone Alley is co-sponsored by ISU Athletics.

Fall 2008 marked another milestone for SALC when the group settled into its new space, the Hallenbeck SALC Suite in the ISU Alumni Center, made possible through the generosity of Ron (’71 industrial admin) and Pam (’71 textiles & clothing) Hallenbeck (L). The organization had previously been housed in campus buildings such as Osborn Cottage, the Memorial Union, and Fisher-Nickell Hall.

In its 40-year history, approximately 4,000 students in SAA and SALC have dedicated countless hours to organizing and implementing programs for Iowa State.

“I truly believe that Iowa State is one of a handful of campuses where when you say it’s student-led, it truly is,” Shertzer said. “[The students] approached it almost like a job, the amount of time that they were in the SALC office and what they did for the organization.”

But it’s not all work. Over the years, members of the organization also enjoyed retreats, parties, and celebrations. From road trips to the SAA National Convention to late nights in Osborn Cottage, from pizza parties after callathons to participating in the VEISHEA parade – students in SAA/SALC made memories that have lasted long after leaving Iowa State.


Cy Squad, Homecoming 2001


Wieners for Seniors, Senior Week 2004

In its 40th year, SALC continues to make an impact on the university through student services and events, and the organization has received countless national awards including the National Outstanding Organization Award in 2008.

Although the organization has included as many as a dozen committees in earlier structures, today’s SALC is made up of just five groups: the Executive Committee, Senior Class Council, Ambassadors, Cyclone Alley Central, and Homecoming Central.

Sixty students serve on the committees, which oversee campus events such as Career Preview Days, the Nearly Naked Mile, and Beat Iowa Week. Homecoming Central organizes all aspects of the fall tradition, including Yell Like Hell, ExCYtement in the Streets, and lawn displays, while the Senior Class Council plans the class gift and manages functions such as Senior Week and Senior Send-Off.

Committee members also work to promote membership in SAA, which is now the largest ISU campus organization with more than 5,000 members each year.

“The collaboration from each committee provides improvements and new ideas every year,” said current SALC president Morgan Foldes, a senior in marketing. “They all bring their own perspective and experience at Iowa State.”

The dedication, organization, and planning required of SALC students help them develop leadership skills that are useful long after they graduate.

Tim Coble (L) (’77 computer science), former senior class president, said he learned important lessons from working on the 1977 class gift, the Pearson and Beardshear Plaza.

“You have to understand the mechanics,” Coble said, “making it functional, making it work, and understanding all of the facets that will fit together.” Coble said his experience with the project helped him later with his involvement in the Ames Main Street Cultural District.

“SALC provides a unique and focused opportunity for leadership development, and it also identifies and trains future leaders for the university and the Association,” said Jeff Johnson (L), president of the ISU Alumni Association. “SALC alumni are among our most valued and respected alumni leaders and institutional supporters.”

Aside from the leadership opportunities, Drury said participating in the organization also gave him the change to meet other “really good students.”

“There are people that I met on SAA that I still consider friends,” Drury said.

Drury and other former SAA/SALC members will have the chance to reunite at the organization’s 40th reunion, which is planned for this year’s Homecoming. The reunion will also serve as a fundraising event for the organization.

“We know that SALC alumni care deeply about the work of this group and its future viability,” Johnson said. “We know they will invest in SALC’s future.”


Tabling on central campus, 2001


1999 exec members


Senior Class Council, 1984


An Iowa State bond from birth

Note: This story was published in the fall 2013 issue of VISIONS magazine.

glossermainAngela Glosser, a PhD candidate in sociology, always knew she was adopted, but it wasn’t until a few health scares in 1994 that she looked up her biological mother and grandparents.

All she had was a birth certificate with the delivering doctor’s name on it. Taking a deep breath and crossing her fingers, Glosser gave him a call. At first the doctor did not recall delivering her, but after a few questions and a trip down memory lane, he remembered.

“I know your grandparents. I had coffee with them today,” he said. “I could call them and see if they would like to talk to you.”

Without hesitation Glosser said yes. Later that night she was able to have the first of many conversations with her grandparents.

Although Glosser maintained limited communication with her biological mother, she kept in contact with her biological grandparents, H. Maurice Beaver and Lois Ferguson Beaver (L). It took about a year and a few more phone conversations before Glosser was able to meet them in person. Once she finally met them, she instantly knew they were great people.

“The most interesting thing about my grandpa is that he was a commanding presence,” Glosser said. “People flocked to him. When we would go out to a meal, people would stop by the table to shake hands and talk to him.”

The first couple of years, Glosser’s grandmother would introduce her as their “friend.” It wasn’t until a couple of years later that they would introduce her as their granddaughter.

“They would tell their friends my accomplishments and the things I had done. Those were some of the proudest moments of my life,” Glosser said.

Receiving the acceptance letter to Iowa State
Glosser received her master’s degree from Boston University in 2005. In 2009 she was an adjunct instructor at Indian Hills Community College. The recession hit, and the college announced a hiring freeze. Her friends convinced her that if she had any intention of completing her PhD, now would be a good time. She still remembers the night she broke the news to her grandparents.

“I remember the day I told them that I had been accepted to Iowa State,” Glosser said. “My parents and I invited my grandparents over for dinner, and I asked my grandpa if he would read something I received in the mail.”

Glosser handed her grandfather her acceptance letter. He studied it for a second then a big smile crossed his face as he handed the letter to her grandmother. They were so proud and excited that Glosser would be pursuing her PhD in sociology at Iowa State. They would spend the next few hours telling her stories about their college experiences.

Both of Angela’s grandparents graduated from Iowa State in 1949. Maurice, a retired farmer, received a bachelor’s degree in animal husbandry and Lois, a retired teacher, graduated with a degree in home management.

Glosser started taking sociology classes in the same classrooms in which her grandfather studied, when East Hall was the dairy sciences building.

A true Iowa Stater

"My grandpa was my best friend, and not a day goes by that I don't miss him." -- Angela Glosser

“My grandpa was my best friend, and not a day goes by that I don’t miss him.”
— Angela Glosser

The same night she told her grandparents she was going to be studying at Iowa State, her grandfather let her in on a well-known campus legend.

“You are not a true ISU coed until you are kissed under the campanile,” he said.

Glosser informed her grandfather that she would wait to get her kiss under the campanile until her graduation, when he could kiss her. He promised, and the deal was made. This would be their pact for the next couple of years.

When her grandfather’s health declined last year, Glosser asked him who would give her a kiss if he wasn’t there.

Her grandfather, always a joker, said, “Take $20 to the campanile. Some poor college boy will kiss you for beer money.”

They would then both laugh. But Glosser knew later in the fall of 2012 that her grandfather would probably not be able to make the trip to Ames for her graduation.

H. Maurice Beaver died on Oct. 15, 2012 at the age of 93.

Glosser has had a tough time dealing with her grandfather’s passing, but she always remembers the times when he used to make her smile and laugh. One of the first jokes he told her was that the “H” in his name stood for “Honey.”

Even though Glosser knew her grandfather would not be able to attend her graduation, she knew he would be there in spirit. She plans to purchase a class ring with the campanile engraved on it to symbolize the bond with a man she calls her “best friend.”

“Even though I have not known my grandparents all my life, I feel a bond with them as if I have,” Glosser said. “My grandpa was my best friend, and not a day goes by that I don’t miss him.”

Glosser has received great support through her major professor Matt DeLisi.

“Dr. DeLisi has been very understanding and encouraging,” Glosser said. “He gave me great advice for dealing with this loss and help with continuing to make advances in completing my dissertation.”

Angela with her parents, Wayne and Bonnie Glosser, on central campus.

Angela with her parents, Wayne and Bonnie Glosser, on central campus.

Glosser now spends her time finishing up her dissertation and working as an instructor of sociology at William Penn University in Oskaloosa, Iowa. One of the reasons she works there is because her grandmother lives in Oskaloosa and it makes it very easy to spend as much time with her as she can.

“One of the last things my grandpa said to me was ‘Take care of Grandma,’ and I’m doing just that,” Glosser said.

She walked across the stage at Iowa State’s graduate commencement ceremony in May. But before she lined up in her cap and gown, she visited the campanile with her parents, Bonnie and Wayne Glosser. Her grandmother’s health prevented her from attending the ceremony.

To keep them close on her special day, a photo of Glosser’s grandparents was tucked inside her cap.

“Grandma sent me a card and signed Grandpa’s name,” Glosser said, “because he would be so proud.”

About the writer: Nick Van Berkum ’06 is a communications specialist for the departments of sociology and anthropology at Iowa State University.

Holding your Pinterest


Posted by Kate Bruns, Associate Director of Communications

When it comes to alumni relations (and certainly other nonprofit and business enterprises, too), social media can be something of a mystery, especially with limited staff and resources. What sites are important to use, and which ones should you skip? With more than a billion users, Facebook is obviously a no-brainer. Twitter and LinkedIn seem popular with ISU alumni. And of course we know that all the best — and strangest — recipes come “from Pinterest.”

Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have always made sense to us at the Alumni Association. But Pinterest? We don’t generate a lot of recipes or craft ideas or amazing uses for everyday objects over here; would anyone pay attention to our Pinterest boards without these gems?

But the members of our Young Alumni Council pushed us to think outside of the box: Why not Pinterest? Shouldn’t Jim Heemstra’s beautiful photos and our selection of Cyclone merchandise live in another place? What about your staff’s awesome expertise in the areas of travel and wedding planning?  Suddenly, Pinterest made sense and, with that, we were ALL IN.

So, though our boards have been active for a while, I am excited today to officially invite you to connect with us on Pinterest. We’re still growing, but we hope you’ll like some of the boards we already have up and running:

  • ISU Wedding Style – All about how to plan a wedding on campus, in the ISU Alumni Center, or with Cardinal & Gold touches. Props to our awesome ISU Alumni Center student interns for making this board so great.
  • Jim Heemstra’s Photo of the Week – You know it, you love it. Enough said.
  • Traveling Cyclones – Travel tips, inspiration, and the latest about the tours we offer each year.
  • VISIONS Across America – Another way to follow Jim’s and Carole’s 50-state tour…soon to conclude in the great state of Iowa, but with much to look forward as the special commemorative issue is published in the springtime.
  • How do you live Iowa State? – We want to know. Have decorating ideas? Custom license plates? Pets or kids who show their school spirit? Send me your pics at kbruns@iastate.edu and I’ll include them not only in our Facebook gallery, but also on this inspiring Pinterest board for anyone who doesn’t think it’s cheesy to wear your Cardinal & Gold heart on your sleeve.
  • Cyclone Style for Men, Cyclone Style for Women, and Cyclone Style for Little Ones — Speaking of sleeves, of course we have a board for all the latest Cardinal & Gold fashions — both in and out of our ISUAA online store.

And of course you can just follow ALL our boards if you’d like. We hope to add some new ones in the near future. And thanks for your patience with us — mostly with me — as we figure this all out. Maybe we’ll throw in a crock pot recipe or two just for fun — or by accident.

How do you use Pinterest? What would you like to see the ISU Alumni Association pin?