Catering Spotlight: Cookies, etc.

angelaCheck out some great event-planning tips from our ISU Alumni Center team. This piece was written by Angela Horner, ISU Alumni Center Program Assistant. For more tips and assistance planning a special event at the ISU Alumni Center, call Angela, Lexi, or Brooke at (515) 294-4625 or visit

Over the next several weeks, we will be putting each of our approved caterers in the “spotlight” and giving them a chance to answer a few questions about their food, beverages, and services. This week Cookies, etc. is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth!

  1. Who or what influences your catering?

As a specialty caterer we love sharing our made-from-scratch cookies!  We use family recipes to make our ¼ lb. cookies and cater them fresh from the oven.  The lessons I learned in my mom’s kitchen influence me daily: “Always try to improve on what you did yesterday”; “You eat with your eyes as well as your stomach”; and, one I tell my employees, “If you say that’s good enough, it isn’t.”

  1. What sets your catering business apart from others in the industry?

We’re unique in the industry—scratch made items that are incredibly fresh.  It is our policy to sell our products the same day they are baked.  We want customers to get the best quality product we can make.  In addition to our ¼ lb. cookies we also make large decorated and mini cookies by special order along with muffins and cinnamon rolls.

  1. What is one thing most people do not know about your business?

Many people think we are a franchise business.  My family started our business 30+ years ago using our own cookie recipes and family members continue to own/manage 3 locations along with a national mail order business today.

  1. cookiesWhat is your most popular menu item?

Chocolate chip cookies have always been #1.

For more information about ISU Alumni Center approved caterers click here.

Five-Question Catering Spotlight: Olde Main Brewing Company

angelaCheck out some great event-planning tips from our ISU Alumni Center team. This piece was written by Angela Horner, ISU Alumni Center Program Assistant. For more tips and assistance planning a special event at the ISU Alumni Center, call Angela, Lexi, or Brooke at (515) 294-4625 or visit

Over the next several weeks, we will be putting each of our approved caterers in the “spotlight” and giving them a chance to answer a few questions about their food, beverages, and services. This week is Olde Main Brewing Company, more than a downtown Ames restaurant and brewery.

Heels for Hope Event

  1. Who or what influences your catering?
    My clients influence me the most, learning what type of event they are holding or what type of special occasion they are celebrating helps create a vision for the event and inspires me to create and capture the essence of their event. Working with brides-to-be is especially influential, nowadays there are so many options for couples that creating their menu is influential as well as just plain fun!
  1. What sets your catering business apart from others in the industry?
    Cy's LoungeOlde Main Brewing Company’s catering services are unique, custom as well as constantly changing.  We strive to provide our customers with one on one personal service from the initial planning stages to the very last detail. No event is too small or too large, we will cater to it all. The staff at Olde Main pay careful attention to detail and offer exceptional customer service from beginning to end.  While we offer a full catering menu, our Chef will happily develop custom menu items based on your requests. Chef Jamie has been a Chef all over the world and is influenced by many different cultures and types of food.
  1. What is one thing most people do not know about your business?
    That we in fact cater. Most people think that we are just a restaurant and that we brew beer. We offer a full range of catering services for any occasion large or small. We have full service catering as well as full service bar catering, one of the few in Ames!
  1. What is your chef’s favorite entrée to make?
    Many of Chef Jamie’s menu items are influenced by the French. He does a wonderful job of tying in American cuisine with that of other cultures as well. Chef Jamie’s range is limitless and he takes great pride in preparing and presenting his food. Any dish that a guest raves about brings a smile to his face!
  1. What is your most popular menu item?
    From our catering menu, the most popular item would have to be the Boursin Stuffed Chicken Breast, oven-roasted chicken breast, filled with spinach, boursin cheese and sun dried tomatoes in boursin cream sauce. This entrée item not only looks great and tastes great, but is hands down our most popular buffet entrée item.

For more information about ISU Alumni Center approved caterers click here.

Helpful Hints for Taking Your Cell Phone on Trips

IMG_5742Check out these great travel tips from the February issue of “Cy’s Suitcase,” the official newsletter of the ISU Alumni Association Traveling Cyclones written by director of alumni travel Shellie Andersen ’88.

1) Charge your phone using the USB port on the side of a hotel TV. Power adapters are kind of a pain. But many of the flat-screen TVs you’ll find in hotel rooms have USB ports on the side, which can come in handy for charging. You do have to keep the TV on, so it’s probably not great for an overnight charge.

2) But still bring a travel adapter. Get a universal travel adapter that lets you toggle for use in different regions. (And buy it in advance; they’re always marked up in the airport.)

3) Get an international data plan. They aren’t that expensive.

4) If you use roaming data without a prepaid plan, you will return to a huge bill. Most carriers let you buy 100 MB or so of data for use on your trip, which is enough to check your email a few times a day and maybe post a picture on Facebook. AT&T charges $30 for 120 MB (a good bet for a trip that’s shorter than 10 days) or $60 for 300 MB (ideal for longer trips), which you can use over the period of a month. Verizon’s structure is slightly different — they let you pay $25 for every 100 MB. The 100 MB or so is enough data for light usage, but it’s not a ton. On an iPhone, you can track how much data you’re using by going to Settings > General > Usage > Cellular Usage. Just before you leave, hit “Reset Statistics” so you can start tracking your usage.

Five-Question Catering Spotlight: ISU Catering

angelaCheck out some great event-planning tips from our ISU Alumni Center team. This piece was written by Angela Horner, ISU Alumni Center Program Assistant. For more tips and assistance planning a special event at the ISU Alumni Center, call Angela, Lexi, or Brooke at (515) 294-4625 or visit

Over the next several weeks, we will be putting each of our approved caterers in the “spotlight” and giving them a chance to answer a few questions about their food, beverages, and services. First up is ISU Catering, and we know this post is going to make you hungry – guaranteed!

  1. Who or what influences your catering?
    We blend contemporary culinary style with the honesty and simplicity of classic Midwestern cooking to provide meals rich in cultural influences from the heartland.
  1. What sets your catering business apart from others in the industry?
    What sets us apart, is the broad range of meal and service options available to those in the greater Ames area. Our full-service catering is a one-stop-shop operation that covers every meal type, all the needed supplies, equipment, decorations, and trained servers and managers to ensure a perfect event.
  1. What is one thing most people do not know about your business?
    ISU Catering is often confused with being just a part of the university’s residential dining service. But what most people don’t know is that ISU Catering has five, professionally degreed chefs that support the catering operation. That and the fact that we handle almost 5,000 catering events annually.
  1. What is your chef’s favorite entrée to make?
    Prime rib would be high on the list – roasting larger cuts of meat is a great challenge. You can’t rush the process and still expect great results. We combine this and other cuts of meat, such as pork belly and beef short rib, with “low and slow” cooking until fork-tender. The results always make a lasting impression on our customers.
  1. What is your most popular menu item?
    Everything. Ok, so if I have to pick something it would be all the pork entrees which are all fabulous…or maybe the Champagne Cashew Chicken…of course there’s the Homemade Buttermilk Brownie…and the Carmelita Bar….see…everything.

For more information about ISU Alumni Center approved caterers click here.

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Forty Frequently Asked Questions about Wedding Venues

angelaCheck out some great event tips from our ISU Alumni Center team. This piece was written by Angela Horner, ISU Alumni Center Program Assistant. For more tips and assistance planning a special event at the ISU Alumni Center, call Angela, Lexi, or Brooke at (515) 294-4625 or visit

Knowing what questions to ask and what to expect is a key element in finding the perfect wedding venue. Before you make any final decisions, sit down with the venue’s manager and go over the following questions. The Alumni Center events staff has answered the questions below to give you a head start if you are interested in reserving the Center for your special day. Happy planning and hope to see you at our booth (south end of the Reiman Ballroom) at Bridal ExCYtement on Sunday, Feb. 8.

  1. Do I have to be a member to rent the venue? No, but there are discounted rental packages for ISU Alumni Association members. Click here to become a member.
  2. Do you have a professional wedding planner? Yes, there are three events staff professionals onsite.
  3. Who will be our point person prior to the day of our wedding? The three events staff professionals rotate weekends and one will be assigned 3-4 months prior to your wedding day.
  4. Who will be our point person on the day of our wedding? The events staff that you work with prior to your wedding day will be onsite day of along with additional events staff depending on your final headcount (generally 2-3 staff).
  5. Is my wedding date available? Contact one of our events staff at 515-294-4625 or request more information here and we will look at dates for you and set up a tour of the venue.
  6. How many guests can your venue accommodate? We can accommodate up to 250 ceremony guests depending on which space is requested. For wedding receptions we can accommodate up to 194 in the Reiman Ballroom, 300 guests in Reiman Ballroom and Mente/Boyd Reception Area, and up to 500 utilizing the entire building for a less formal reception. Contact the events staff for examples of diagrams and room setups.
  7. What is the rental fee, and what is included in that price? See the Alumni Center wedding packages here and everything included with these rates.
  8. Are there different rates for peak and off-season dates? Yes, there are peak wedding season rates from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.
  9. Is there a service charge on top of the bill? No, the wedding package price is the only charge (unless outside vendors are required per your request and arranged through your wedding planner). There is a 10% catering commission fee that your caterer will charge on the food and beverage bill.
  10. Are there any cleaning fees, overtime charges, insurance-fees? The Alumni Center reserves the right to charge a damage/cleaning fee if necessary after the wedding. There are no overtime charges; however, the guest and client must exit per the agreed upon time. Proof of liability insurance may be required. Security may also be required at the expense of the client.
  11. What kind of deposit is required? 50% of the package rate is due at time of signing the rental agreement. Acceptable forms of payment include credit card (VISA, Master Card, Discover, and American Express), check, or cash.
  12. What is the cancellation policy? Cancellations are accepted provided that notification is given in writing to the events staff. The following cancellation fees will apply:
    1. More than 9 months prior to the wedding date, cancellation fee will be 25% of the deposit
    2. Between 6 and 9 months prior to the wedding date, cancellation fee will be 50% of the deposit
    3. Fewer than 30 days prior to the wedding date, cancellation fee will be 100% of the deposit
  13. When is final payment due? 5 business days prior to your wedding day.
  14. What is the last possible date that we can make changes to diagrams and timeline? The day before your wedding day.
  15. What is the back-up plan for rain or inclement weather if using outdoor space? We can always move outdoor ceremonies indoors to the Mente/Boyd Reception Area or Reiman Ballroom. The events staff will work with you the day before your wedding to determine if an outdoor or indoor space will be set for the wedding.
  16. Can you provide a list of venue policies? Yes, click here for our general policies.
  17. How many weddings will be booked on my special day? Just your wedding!
  18. Is there an in-house caterer or do you allow outside caterers? All food and beverage must be contracted through an approved caterer. No food or beverage may be brought into the Alumni Center from any other source.
  19. Do you allow alcohol? Yes, from an approved caterer.
  20. Do you allow us to bring in our own alcohol? We do not allow outside alcohol. All alcohol has to come from an approved caterer.
  21. Are plates, silverware, and glassware provided? The Alumni Center does not provide these items. Contact individual caterers for more information about what items they provide.
  22. Is there a food and beverage minimum? This depends on the selected approved caterer. Contact individual caterers for more information about F&B minimums.
  23. Can I bring in a cake from a bakery? Cakes and mints may be brought into the Alumni Center from a licensed vendor in the state of Iowa if arrangements have been made in advance with the events staff. We do not provide cake-cutting, but some approved caterers can offer this service at a fee. We do not provide plates, forks, napkins, or serving utensils for cake and these items must be provided by you, your bakery, or approved caterer cutting the cake.
  24. Must I use vendors of your choosing? We require a caterer from our list of approved caterers. We also have a list of vendor partners for vendors other than caterers, but do not require you to select from this list. We ask that you provide us with names and contact information of the vendors you are working with so we may assist with making day of arrangements, especially for vendors whom have never been to our venue.
  25. Can we have a DJ or band and dancing? Yes, we ask that DJs and bands provide their own sound equipment and we provide the dance floor. We have multiple outlets in the entire building to accommodate DJ and band equipment.
  26. Are there restrictions for the photographer in terms of flash usage? If your photographer has not been in our building before, have them make an appointment with one of our events staff to tour the facility prior to the wedding.
  27. Who is responsible for setting up and tearing down décor and when? The Alumni Center events staff sets tables, chairs, linens, and other items included in the wedding package by 8 a.m. the day of wedding. Other décor is set by client or vendors starting at 8 a.m. the day of the wedding.
  28. How early can vendors get in to setup? 8 a.m. day of wedding.
  29. Can I move furniture around and decorate to suite my likes and dislikes? Yes, every wedding is custom and we work with you to create personalized diagrams and layouts for your wedding day.
  30. Are there decoration limitations and do you allow candles? All decorations and furniture arrangements must be approved and coordinated in advance with the events staff. Décor may not be affixed to the walls, ceilings, banisters, doors, or stairways. Nails, hooks, tacks, screws, and bolts may not be used on any surface at the Alumni Center. Glitter, sprinkles, confetti, petals, rice, birdseed, wheat or similar materials are not allowed. Fog machines are not allowed. Use of candles is restricted to enclosed flames at least one inch from the top of the container or floating in water. All décor must be removed and cleaned up at the end of the wedding.
  31. At what time will my guests and vendors have to leave the facility? Guests must exit by 12 a.m. Immediate family and close friends assisting with tear down and vendors must exit by 12:30 a.m.
  32. Do you provide assistance with getting gifts or décor to designated cars at the end of the event? Yes, the events staff working can assist with loading cars if needed.
  33. Is there a shuttle service available? The Alumni Center does not provide a shuttle service, but our events staff can work with you to find reliable service in the Ames area for your guests.
  34. What overnight accommodations do you provide? The Alumni Center does not have sleeping rooms, but there are several hotels and bed and breakfasts in Ames to accommodate guests.
  35. Are there adequate bathroom facilities? There are men’s and women’s restrooms located on each floor of the Alumni Center each with multiple stalls. There is also a family restroom located on the 2nd
  36. Is there coat check? No, but we have a coat room and two coat racks that can be used if needed.
  37. Is the site handicap accessible? There is elevator access to all three floors at the Alumni Center. There is one handicap parking spot on the west side of the building and one on the east side of the building.
  38. Is there ample parking? Will guests be charged for parking? Complimentary guest parking is located east of the Alumni Center.
  39. Do you have signage or other aids to direct guests to my wedding? Yes, at each entrance to the venue there is a sign holder with last name of the bride and groom along with the room name and floor level where the event is taking place.
  40. Do you like the people working at the venue? Come meet us to find out. The ISU Alumni Center events staff is experienced, professional, courteous, and LOVE what they do!

Campus Baby


Originally published in the winter 2015 issue of VISIONS
Written by Carole Gieseke. Photographs from Special Collections Department, Iowa State University Library

Baby Ned came to the home management house as so many had come before him: as an infant from a Des Moines orphanage.

He was just six weeks old when he arrived at the Ellen Richards House on the Iowa State College campus on Sept. 20, 1938. Ned’s unwed birth mother was 16, and he had become a ward of the court.

Ned spent his first year in the home management house. He was cared for by six or seven college students at a time – female home economics majors who lived in the house as part of their senior curriculum.


The students lovingly chronicled that first year in a scrapbook filled with small black-and-white photos of “King Ned” and his caregivers, with hand-written notes, many of then written in rhyming couplets. One early entry reads, “We think his brown hair is going to be curly, and with his big blue eyes and wellshaped head he should be a very handsome fellow.”

The scrapbook thoroughly documents his milestones: his size, the food he eats, play time, his first words, rolling over, and crawling. At one stage, the students were feeding Ned “formula, orange juice, prunes, peas, and pablum.”

As each group of students finished its stay at the house, the young women left notes about his campusbaby3care for the next group:

“Make sure you love him
As much as we did.
He’ll turn out to be
A wonderful kid.”

During his first year, Ned experienced his first haircut, got his first tooth, exercised in a “Johnny jumpup,” and learned to hold his own cup. He liked to cuddle and take his daily sunbath. Ned’s first words were “Mama,” “Daddy,” and “duck.”

campusbaby4By June 1939, he weighed 21 pounds and could crawl, sit up, and pull himself to a standing position. (“The getting down is kinda difficult,” writes one caregiver, in Ned’s voice. “But if I yell loud enough someone usually helps me down.”)

On Aug. 6, 1939, Ned celebrated his first birthday. Gifts included a little red wagon, a rattle, a rubber car, and a Mickey Mouse toy.

A week later, Baby Ned went to live with his adoptive family.

Hazel and Emerson Reichard had adopted a baby girl a year and a half earlier. When the Des Moines couple adopted Ned, they named him John.

John Reichard always knew he was adopted.

“I’ve known for as long as I can remember,” he said recently. “My mom always used to show me the [“Baby Ned”] book. I knew right up front that I was adopted.”

As a youngster, John lived in Des Moines. His dad was a newspaper man, and his mother stayed home to raise John and his sister, Mary Ann. When he was 6 years old, his family moved to Long Beach, Calif.

John grew up in California. He joined the Naval Air in 1957. He got married. He lived in Utah, California, Arizona, and Colorado. He worked in the newspaper business for 53 years. He and his wife, Jan, had three children: Michael, Gregory, and Laurel.

In 1991, John returned to the Iowa State campus where he had spent his first year of life in very special circumstances. He was a baby boy who was well loved by 24 college women.

ned“I thought it was pretty cool that I wasn’t in your normal orphanage,” John said.

After his campus visit, John said he began thinking about donating his “Baby Ned” scrapbook to Iowa State.

“I felt it was important that the college had it,” he said. “I copied it into my computer and made a scan for each of the kids.” One day last summer he dropped the book off at the ISU Alumni Center. Today it resides in University Archives at Parks Library with a dozen or so similar scrapbooks.

John celebrated his 76th birthday in August. He is retired and lives in Avondale, Ariz.




For more than half of the 20th century, female home economics students at Iowa State were required to take a course in home management and live in “practice houses” – later called home management houses.

Home management houses grew out of a 1916 proposal by Catherine J. MacKay, then home economics dean, that stressed that students needed to experience the “real problems of a homemaker.” Her proposal was backed up by the Smith-Hughes National Vocational Education Act of 1917 that promoted hands-on training.

In the first practice house – the Hiestand House at 1208 Kellogg Ave. – six students lived with a home director. Students remained in residence for approximately two weeks, for which the girls paid a living fee of $8. College authorities of that time required the house to be financially self-sustaining.

Locations of the houses changed over the years, and as the program expanded the number of home management houses grew to as many as six during peak enrollments. Houses were named for pioneers in home economics with special significance to Iowa State College – such as Mary B. Welch and Helen H. Richards.

The academic program in home management included child development, household equipment, personal and family health, textiles, economics, food science, and organization of household work. In the houses, labor was divided into areas such as housekeeping, meal preparation, and – starting in 1924 – caring for an infant.

1948 Home ManagementAccording to The History of Home Management at Iowa State College located in University Archives: “The desire to provide an opportunity for seniors in home economics to have direct contact with a young child under conditions approaching that of a home and to apply principles in child care and training led to the request in 1923-24 that the division be permitted to secure physically fit children of preschool age from child welfare agencies of the state and that one becomes a resident of each of the houses for such a period of time as might be considered feasible.”

However, the history document goes on to report that then-president Raymond Pearson and the board of education “needed to be convinced that this innovation in a course in home management was more than a fad and not one that would play havoc with the well-being of the children or be unfair to college seniors.”

The “fad” lasted more than 50 years, and it became a benefit both to the home management program and to the state of Iowa, which needed homes for wards of the state.

Soon students were living in home management houses with six or seven other girls, an adviser, and a baby for half of one quarter, or about six weeks.

“I lived in Sloss House [in 1947-48]. It was a wonderful experience for a girl who had little contact with a baby or running a household,” Ruth Hartwell Rossow (L) (’49 dietetics) wrote in an email.

As a student in 1951, Mary Kay Pitzer Bidlack (A)(’52 home ec journ) was editor of the Iowa Homemaker, the only home economics magazine in the country published at that time by college home economics students.

“Housekeeping and laundering didn’t worry me,” she wrote in the November 1951 issue. “I thought I could handle that, and I even looked forward to caring for the baby. But the cooking! How could I ever satisfy nine hungry people who depended on me for three meals a day?” Indeed, many of the women who lived in the home management houses remember exactly how much they had to spend for meal preparation.

“It was budget, budget, budget!” said Gwen Mayer Wells (’52 home ec ed). “We had 67 cents per person per day for meals.”

“Each house had a six-week total food budget that rotated weekly among three USDA food cost plans: low-cost, moderate-cost, and liberal,” said Beverly Schlacks Madden (L)(’60 home ec ed, MS ’70). “These plans, based on the current dietary standards for nutrient content and costs for food purchased and prepared at home, are still available.”

Iowa State’s home economics core curriculum provided students skills in a variety of key areas; the half-quarter spent in the home management house served as a senior capstone course – a valued part of the student learning experience.

“Economics is the use of resources; thus, home economics is the use of family resources in household production of food and clothing, child development, family relations, family finance, household equipment, etc. in the home,” said Madden, who spent a year as a graduate resident instructor for one of the home management houses. “The economic unit in this case was the family. Successful family units or households effectively managed those resources.”

Etha Schipull Hutchcroft (L)(’47 dietetics, MS ’70) was a student at Iowa State in 1947. “Gender roles were pretty well defined” back then, she said. But Helen LeBaron Hilton, dean of the College of Home Economics from 1952 to 1975, had strong ideas about women’s roles.

“[She said that] women needed to have a credit card,” Hutchcroft remembers. “Her emphasis was on women becoming professionals. They were expected to be leaders in the community.”

In 1952, three new campus duplexes were designed specifically to serve the teaching needs of the course. By fall of 1958, babies were no longer included in the home management house experience, primarily because laws and attitudes concerning child care and adoption had changed. But home economics students would continue to experience life in the home management houses for several more years.