2015 Iowa State Year in Review


isu4u…ISU President Steven Leath (L) signed the “ISU 4U Promise,” an agreement with the Des Moines Public Schools to provide tuition assistance to economically disadvantaged elementary students who wish to pursue higher education in their futures.

…ESPN’s popular “College GameDay” program visited Ames for the first time ever. Thousands of Iowa State fans came out for the broadcast and subsequent 86-81 men’s basketball victory over Kansas on Jan. 17.

…ISU’s largest student organization, Dance Marathon, raised $444,000 at its annual event benefiting the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital.


…Roger Neuhaus left his position as president of the Iowa State University Foundation. Larissa Holtmyer Jones (L)(’94 marketing, ’03 MBA), an 18-year veteran of the organization, was named the Foundation’s new president and CEO.

…Iowa State University announced plans to hire its first-ever chief diversity officer.

kemboichamp…Racing on its home track at the Lied Rec Center, the Iowa State men’s track and field team recorded its best finish at the Big 12 Conference indoor meet since 1997 thanks to Edward Kemboi, who became the first athlete in Big 12 history to be crowned the 1,000-meter and 800-meter run champion in back-to-back seasons.

…More than 25 campus units participated in Iowa State Day at the Capitol Feb. 23, an annual showcase of how Iowa State serves Iowa and Iowans.


…Edward Kemboi won the national indoor title in the 800-meter run in Fayetteville, Ark., breaking the tape in 1:46.05 to become the first Cyclone man to win an indoor national championship since 1993.

gadson…Cyclone legacy Kyven Gadson (’14 child, adult, and family services) pinned Ohio State’s Kyle Snyder in 4:26 to win the 197-pound NCAA wrestling title, becoming the 69th national champion in ISU history.

…Freshman Haylee Young won the individual all-around crown at the Big 12 Women’s Gymnastics Championship, becoming the first Cyclone since 2002 to do so.

…The Iowa State men’s basketball team won the Big 12 tournament title in Kansas City for the second consecutive year, defeating Kansas 70-66 in the title game at the Sprint Center.

…ISU athletics director Jamie Pollard (L) suffered a heart attack and underwent triple bypass surgery at Iowa Methodist Medical Center. His greeting for Cyclone men’s basketball fans in Kansas City from his hospital bed drew cheers of support in the Power & Light District.

…Iowa State University was announced as a chief partner in the new Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium. ISU has planted 10,000 seeds of nine different milkweed species in an effort to help regrow the iconic butterfly’s habitat in the state.


talbot…The ISU Alumni Association received a $2.5 million gift from Lora and Russ Talbot (L) of Belmond, Iowa, to endow the organization’s president and chief executive officer position. The Talbots’ gift created the first non-academic endowed position at Iowa State and the first endowed alumni association president and CEO position at a college or university anywhere in the U.S. The announcement was made during the ISUAA’s annual Cardinal & Gold Gala in Des Moines.

…Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor of Agriculture and Life Sciences Catherine Kling was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, becoming the first Iowa State woman ever to receive the honor.

…Four Iowa State scientists were named to the team collecting data from the second run of the Large Hadron Collider – the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator, considered to be the “largest physics experiment in the world.”

…Beth McNeil (A) was named dean of the Iowa State University Library.

…Iowa State clinched the 2014-2015 Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series with a 5-4 softball victory in Iowa City.

…More than 450 Iowa State alumni and friends participated in “Cy’s Days of Service,” an annual ISU Alumni Association initiative encouraging Iowa Staters to unite worldwide in community service throughout the month of April.


…Iowa State University received a five-year, up-to-$20 million grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology to create the Forensic Science Center of Excellence, which will do important research for the nation’s law enforcement and criminal justice systems.

…after 4,300 participated in spring commencement exercises, Iowa State topped the 100,000 mark for alumni living in the state of Iowa. A total of 100,223 alumni now reside in the state, making it the highest number of alumni living in Iowa from any institution of higher education.

…construction officially began on a much-needed new campus residence hall. The 784-bed facility is being built adjacent to Buchanan Hall and is scheduled to open in spring 2017.


prohm…Head men’s basketball coach Fred “The Mayor” Hoiberg (L)(’95 finance) left his alma mater to fulfill a life dream and become head coach of the NBA’s Chicago Bulls. He was replaced by 40-year-old Steve Prohm, the 2012 Basketball Times Coach of the Year from Murray State.

…Despite supportive efforts by the governor, ISU, and the University of Northern Iowa, the Iowa legislature defeated a Board of Regents’ proposal that would have changed the state university funding model to be based 60 percent on the number of in-state students enrolled, resulting in significant funding increases for both ISU and UNI. ISU President Steven Leath expressed disappointment in the vote’s outcome, noting that he doesn’t want to have to deny qualified Iowans admission to ISU, where demand is at an all-time high.

…Edward Kemboi won the NCAA 800-meter outdoor track and field title in Eugene, Ore., with a time of 1:49.26, making him the third Cyclone in history to achieve indoor/outdoor sweeps and the first Cyclone man since 1996 to win an individual outdoor NCAA crown.


phaeton_capitol…In the 25th anniversary season of solar car racing at Iowa State, Team PrISUm took home its first-ever title at the 2015 Formula Sun Grand Prix with the award-winning car Phaeton. No other car was within 30 laps of Phaeton after three days of racing in Austin, Texas.

…ISU alumnus Dennis Muilenburg (L)(’86 aero engr) became the 10th president and CEO of Boeing, the United States’ largest exporter and the world’s second-largest defense contractor.

…Registration opened for ISU’s first-ever massive open online course (MOOC). University Professor Steffen Schmidt announced plans to teach the course on the topic of the Iowa Caucuses.

…Glassdoor Economic Research released a report indicating that Ames ranked eighth nationally for successful “Recession Rebound,” fueled largely by the rapid expansion of the university’s business and technology incubator, ISU Research Park. The Park added 14 companies in 2015 alone and began work on a 183-acre expansion that will include amenities and services for Park employees such as child care, dining, and fitness facilities.


…College of Human Sciences dean Pam White (A)(PhD ’81 food technology) announced her plans to retire in July 2016 after 40 years of service to ISU.

…The ISU chapter of Sigma Chi officially opened its new fraternity house at 2136 Lincoln Way.

…The ISU women’s soccer team earned its biggest win in program history, topping No. 10 Pepperdine on its home pitch in Malibu, Calif., Aug. 30, 1-0.

…The ISU College of Business launched a new master’s degree program in business analytics, an interdisciplinary program focused on business intelligence in the “big data” environment.


…Iowa State announced its seventh-consecutive record enrollment: 36,001 students.

…The ISU athletics department dedicated its $60 million addition at Jack Trice Stadium that created the Sukup Endzone Club and increased the stadium’s capacity to 61,500.

seasons…The ISU Alumni Association unveiled its new coffee-table book, “SEASONS of Iowa State University,” featuring the celebrated photography of Jim Heemstra (A).

…The National Science Foundation extended its grant supporting the Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC) based at Iowa State. The Center has already served as platform to launch six startup companies.


…Distinguished Professor of food science and human nutrition Diane Birt (A) was inducted into the National Academy of Medicine, making her the second ISU faculty member to receive National Academy induction in 2015 following a 10-year drought.

homecoming…Iowa State celebrated its 103rd Homecoming during a beautiful Halloween weekend, capped by a 24-0 gridiron shutout of Texas at Jack Trice Stadium.

…ISU President Steven Leath joined the Twitterverse, sending out the first message from @IASTATE_Pres on Oct. 12.

…readers of the website BuzzFeed selected Iowa State University as one of the 25 most beautiful campuses in the world.


rhoads…Beloved head football coach Paul Rhoads (A) coached his final game at the helm of the Cyclone program Nov. 28 in Morgantown, W.V., following an emotional week of goodbyes. The following day, athletics director Jamie Pollard (L) announced that Toledo head coach Matt Campbell had been hired to replace Rhoads on Campbell’s 36th birthday. Campbell, who was named 2015 MAC Coach of the Year, becomes the Big 12 Conference’s youngest head football coach. View a photo gallery of Paul Rhoads’ seven years at ISU on the ISUAA Flickr page.

…A team of ISU students received the Community Service Award of Excellence from the American Society of Landscape Architecture for its project at the Iowa Correctional Institute for Women.

…A team of ISU students won the first-ever National Cyber Analyst Challenge.

…Iowa State was announced as one of five universities comprising the National Science Foundation’s new Midwest Big Data Hub, SEEDCorn (Sustainable Enabling Environment for Data Collaboration).

…Cyclones junior Perez Rotich and sophomore Erin Hooker finished 1-2 in the Big 12 women’s cross country championship.


stewart…Reginald Stewart (pictured, right) began his duties on campus as ISU’s inaugural vice president for diversity and inclusion.

…the Iowa State volleyball team played in its 10th consecutive NCAA tournament, sweeping Miami (Fla.) in round one before losing to No. 10 Wisconsin. Ten of ISU’s 11 all-time NCAA tourney appearances have been under current head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch (L).

…The “Cardiac Clones” resurrected their crazy come-from-behind ways in men’s basketball under new coach Steve Prohm, beating instate rival Iowa 83-82 Dec. 10 with a last-second bucket by Monte Morris that sealed a 20-point comeback at Hilton Coliseum. The following night, the Cyclone women also came back from a significant deficit to beat Iowa.

…Vice president for student affairs Thomas Hill (A) retired after 18 years on campus.

…The Skunk River and Squaw Creek in Ames crested at twice their normal levels for mid-December following unusually warm temperatures and three consecutive days of steady rain from Dec. 12-14. Officials say the heavy rain may have been a factor in a deadly Dec. 14 hit-and-run accident that killed ISU freshman Emmalee Jacobs at the corner of Lincoln Way and Ash Ave. around 7 a.m. on the Monday morning of Finals Week.

…A record number of December graduates joined the ‪Iowa State alumni family Dec.18-19. The university awarded 1,631 bachelor’s degrees, 251 master’s degrees, and 111 doctoral degrees. Congrats to the last of the Class of 2015!

Bring on 2016! Happy Holidays!

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