2014 Iowa State Year in Review


Every year, the ISU Alumni Association is proud to bring Iowa Staters the year in review, which highlights the events and accomplishments that defined the past 12 months at Iowa State University. This year in review is sent via email to Association members and nonmembers as the first edition of “ISU News Flash” for the year. If you are an Iowa State graduate, friend, or Alumni Association member and did NOT receive ISU News Flash on Jan. 2, 2015, please contact us at isualum@iastate.edu or via telephone to (877) 478-2586 to request an update to our distribution list. We’d love to help you stay in touch with ISU throughout 2015.

Happy New Year from your lifetime link to Iowa State University!


…Iowa State was the beneficiary of a 4 percent increase in state appropriations that allowed the university to freeze tuition for a second consecutive year. Gov. Terry Branstad also announced $2 million in support for the university’s biosciences facilities project.

…President Steven Leath (L) announced the creation of a new university department – the Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations – and appointed senior policy advisor on economic development Michael Crum to head it.

…the ISU Bioeconomy Institute was awarded a patent for its fast pyrolysis bio-oil fractionation process that allows biomass to be converted into such products as bio-oil co-firing fuel and bio-asphalt.


…the Iowa Board of Regents green-lighted several campus development projects at its Feb. 6 meeting, including the $80 million expansion of the bioscience facilities, the $30 million enclosure of Jack Trice Stadium and creation of a new south campus gateway, a $24.5 million renovation of Marston Hall, and a $5 million renovation of the former Friley Dining Center.

…the Des Moines Register and Slate.com recognized Iowa State University for being the only university in the U.S. to have trimmed its budget while simultaneously increasing the size of its faculty.

…President Obama announced a $70 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to help create the Chicago-based Digital Lab for Manufacturing, a $320 million enterprise designed to serve as the country’s flagship research institute for digital manufacturing and design innovation. Iowa State University was announced as a top-tier partner in the lab.

…the ISU Alumni Association held its third Cardinal & Gold Gala on Valentine’s Day at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in Des Moines. The fundraiser netted more than $66,000 for first-generation student scholarships and student and alumni outreach programming. The fourth Cardinal & Gold Gala is scheduled for April 10, 2015. Find out more online at www.isualum.org/gala.


…Ames voters rejected a $19 million bond referendum that would have paid for half of a proposed renovation and convention space addition at the Iowa State Center’s Scheman Building. Iowa State had planned to foot the other half of the bill, but the referendum was defeated by a 63 to 37 percent margin.

…Iowa State clinched the 2013-2014 Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series with a 195.925-192.775 victory in women’s gymnastics on Senior Night at Hilton Coliseum. The two schools have traded wins in the series annually since it began.

…the Cyclone men’s basketball team won the Big 12 tournament in Kansas City, then advanced to the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16 with victories over North Carolina Central and North Carolina. Senior Melvin Ejim was named Big 12 Player of the Year, and DeAndre Kane was recognized as the league’s Newcomer of the Year.

…the ISU Alumni Association published “VISIONS Across America,” a special issue of the ISU alumni magazine that featured alumni in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The project took more than two years for editor Carole Gieseke (L) and photographer Jim Heemstra (A) to complete. You can read all 51 published features, plus numerous online bonus features, online at www.visionsacrossamerica.com.

…the Cyclone women’s hockey club won a national title at the American Collegiate Hockey Association’s women’s division II championship in Newark, Del. The club had finished 5-11 the year before and shocked just about everyone with the win. “The only way to describe it is surreal,” said tournament MVP Mille Luedtke, a Cyclone sophomore from Orono, Minn.


…a Campustown riot during the early morning hours of April 9 destroyed property and sent one student with head injuries to the intensive care unit at a Des Moines hospital. The disturbance, which was the fifth of its kind in the celebration’s 90-plus-year history, left ISU President Steven Leath with what he believed to be no other choice than to cancel the remainder of the 2014 celebration. Leath went on to appoint a campus task force that would spend the summer working to determine the future of the annual event.

“VISIONS Across America: Portraits of Iowa State Alumni by Jim Heemstra” opened in the Brunnier Art Museum. The photo exhibition was designed as a companion to the special spring issue of VISIONS magazine and marked Heemstra’s first-ever campus exhibition in his 25-year history as an ISU photographer.

…Adam Schwartz was named director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory, replacing new Critical Materials Institute director Alex King. Schwartz began his duties in Ames June 2.


…the VEISHEA Task Force held an alumni open forum at the ISU Alumni Center to collect feedback about the future of the VEISHEA celebration from members of the alumni community. It was the task force’s fifth and final open forum event.

…the Iowa State men’s golf team earned its eighth-ever NCAA Regional berth and went on to qualify for the NCAA championships for the first time since 1953. The men’s team joined the Cyclone women, perennial NCAA qualifiers under head coach Christie Martens (A), to make Iowa State one of just 11 teams nationally with both its men’s and women’s golf squads in the national championships. The women and men finished 23rd and 25th, respectively, at their championship events.

…due to dwindling attendance and increased class sizes, the ISU Alumni Association hosted the annual Alumni Days 50-year reunion celebration for the last time. Reunions will now be held annually during Homecoming.


…the Iowa Board of Regents endorsed a new state funding model that changed how the state’s general university appropriation will be allocated among regent universities.

…Cyclone junior Christina Hillman defended her 2014 NCAA indoor shot put title by throwing a career outdoor-best 57 feet, 2.25 inches to claim the national outdoor title at the NCAA championships in Eugene, Ore. She joined distance runners Lisa Koll Uhl (’08 biology) and Betsy Saina (’13 child, adult, and family services) as the only three Cyclones in track and field program history to win national titles both indoors and out. Later in June, Hillman and men’s basketball star Melvin Ejim were named ISU’s athletes of the year.


…the VEISHEA Task Force submitted its final recommendations in a 45-page report to President Steven Leath. Central recommendations listed in the report were to discontinue VEISHEA in its known form and to discontinue the use of the VEISHEA name. The task force also recommended creating a new, overarching, university-wide event or series of events and taking measures to address student behavior. “Attempts to restore VEISHEA to an incident-free event have come with financial and human resource costs,” the report reads. “Simply proposing to do more of the same will not satisfy a community beleaguered by the disturbances. The 2014 VEISHEA Task Force must provide recommendations different from past proposals and acknowledge that VEISHEA cannot continue in its current form.”

…a team of ISU graduate students won the 15th annual Data Mining Cup in Berlin, Germany.

Team PrISUm placed third in the American Solar Challenge with its solar car, Phaeton.

…the university reported that its external funding totals for fiscal year 2014 were the second-highest on record: $368.4 million, up 12.9 percent from the previous year.


…Iowa State University staged one of its most popular Iowa State Fair exhibitions in history, publishing the names of all 97,002 Iowa State alumni living in the state of Iowa on a wall in the Varied Industries Building.

…President Leath announced his decision to permanently cancel VEISHEA, supporting the recommendations of the task force. “I understand that it is very sad and disappointing to see this 92-year tradition come to an end, and there may be some who are upset with this decision,” Leath said. “But I am not going to continue to put students at risk so that we can preserve what, to many, has become a week-long party.”

…the website www.livability.com rated Ames the “best college town in America.”

…the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences dedicated the Jeff and Deb Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center.

ground was broken on a new Economic Development Core Facility at the ISU Research Park. The 49,210-square-foot facility is being supported by a $12 million state appropriation and is expected to be used as a one-stop shop for business and industry to seek ISU expertise and assistance. The facility is expected to open in mid-2016.

…the Ames Chamber of Commerce kicked off its CyclONE City tour at the ISU Alumni Center. Throughout the fall, the 30 themed, life-sized statues of Cy painted by local artists were scattered around Ames.


…Iowa State announced another record fall enrollment: 34,732. It was ISU’s sixth year of record enrollment and eighth consecutive year of growth.

…Iowa State was announced as one of 10 public universities who are members of the new University Innovation Alliance, the first-ever national organization designed to expand the use of innovative programs aimed at helping more students, especially students from low income and underrepresented minority groups, complete college educations. Iowa State’s primary contribution to the Alliance will be to share best practices from its award-winning learning communities program.

…Iowa State dedicated the new home of the agricultural and biosystems and engineering department: Elings Hall and Sukup Hall

…the Iowa State Alumni Association team of David Blum (A), Tyler Brady (A)(’05 finance), Johnny Larson (L)(’08 comm studies) and Patrick Hall (’07 marketing and management) claimed a national title at the Acura College Alumni Team Championship for the second year in a row. The foursome won the annual Cy’s Birdie Classic golf outing at the Tournament Club of Iowa in June to qualify.


Homecoming 2014 was deemed a huge success, with thousands of alumni and friends joining forces with ISU students to celebrate the 102nd annual event on campus Oct. 5-12. Homecoming also marked a citywide celebration of ISU mascot Cy’s 60th birthday. Nearly 1,000 people signed a giant birthday card for the big, bad bird – in at least seven different languages. Homecoming 2015 will be held Oct. 30-31.


…the Iowa State women’s cross country team won its fourth-straight Big 12 Conference championship, posting the lowest team score in a Big 12 championship race since 2004 and placing first, second, and fourth in the individual standings. Junior Crystal Nelson broke the tape in 19 minutes, 49 seconds to become the second Cyclone individual conference champ in history; head coach Andrea Grove-McDonough was named Big 12 Coach of the Year. The Cyclones went on to finish second at the NCAA championship in Terre Haute, Ind., Nov. 22 – tying the highest national finish in school history.


…an anonymous alumni couple made a $22 million gift to benefit ISU’s planned Student Innovation Center and endowing the dean’s chair in the College of Human Sciences.

…the Board of Regents approved a third-straight resident undergraduate tuition freeze and green-lighted the Department of Residence’s plan to construct a new $49.5 million, 700-bed residence hall east of Buchanan Hall on Lincoln Way. Construction may begin as early as May 2015.

…the Iowa State volleyball team qualified for its ninth-straight NCAA championship during head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch’s (L) 10th season at ISU. The Cyclones advanced to the second round but were defeated by No. 10 Illinois to conclude Johnson-Lynch’s 10th anniversary season with a 19-10 overall record.

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