The Landowners

Who owns the 200,000+ acres of prime Iowa land that helped finance the beginnings of Iowa State University? ISU Extension and Outreach is connecting with landowners and telling their stories.

Here are three of those stories.

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Butcher Family

Bob Butcher (A)(’74 animal science) of Holstein, Iowa, attended the ISU Extension and Outreach Land-Grant Legacy celebration at the Clay County Fair in 2016 thinking it might be interesting. What he didn’t know was how involved he would become in the project.

“I thought, ‘Well, I’ll just see what this is about.’ They were talking about different farms that were legacy farms, and they said, ‘Come back and look at the map of where all these farms are.’ So, I went back there thinking maybe I’d know somebody or at least a neighboring county, but the closer I got, I’m like, ‘There’s Hwy. 20, there’s 59, and that’s kind of where we are,’ and I got closer and closer, and then I was looking at the township map and we’re three down and two over and it was just unbelievable! The whole section lit up where we live.”

The Butcher family has owned land-grant parcels in Ida County since 1901 when Bob’s great-grandfather, Robert L. “Jake” Butcher purchased the land.

Bob’s father, Robert, and mother, Betty, raised pure-bred hogs on the farmland, then added a dairy herd and sold milk. They had two chicken houses, selling both the eggs and the chickens.

“We were diversified,” Betty said. At age 90, she’s still regarded as the best cook in the family.

Bob and his two sisters, Renea Ogren (’80 home ec ed) and Ronda Edwards (’85 dietetics), grew up on the farm.

“It was a typical farm,” Bob says. “We had cows and chickens.”

“And lambs and a big garden,” Renea adds.

“Dad was progressive.”

Both siblings give credit to 4-H and to Iowa State. The Butchers are Cyclones through and through: Bob has four children, all of whom graduated with ISU degrees – Katie Merrill (A)(’02 logistics), Wendy Weber (’04 elem ed), Andrew Butcher (’08 ag studies), and Ben Butcher (’10 ag studies). He has eight grandchildren and is married to Connie Butcher.

Bob and his two sons run a cattle operation, and he’s also president and CEO of Community Bank in Holstein. Long involved on the 4-H Foundation Board and with other community projects in Holstein, Bob also took the lead in bringing together landowners in Ida County to help ISU Extension and Outreach identify the land-grant parcels in their area.

“We invited all the landowners in Ida County that owned legacy land, and there were lots of them,” Bob said. “We probably had 50 or 60 people there.”

Ida County is the first Iowa county to have all of its land-grant landowners identified.

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Maxwell Family

Helen Logan Maxwell’s father instilled in her that if you had Iowa land you’d probably never go hungry.

Helen’s family owned land in Iowa’s Woodbury County, but didn’t farm it themselves. They lived in the town of Moville, where her father, Charlie Logan, was a local banker. He purchased the land after the Great Depression and paid farm workers to
raise crops, hogs, and cattle.

Helen (L) attended Iowa State, graduating in 1951 with a degree in child development. She met Earl “Doc” Maxwell (L) on campus; he earned a DVM in 1949, and the couple married in 1951. They settled in Moville and bought land from Helen’s father. Doc set up a veterinary practice, while Helen kept the family’s books and worked in the local bank.

They had four children – Stee Maxwell (L)(’78 DVM), Chantry DeVries (L)(‘78 English & history), Tad Maxwell (L) (’80 ag biz), and Reed Maxwell – and were named ISU Parents of the Year in 1977.

But despite the family’s close connection to Iowa State, it came as a total surprise that the land that had been in the family for more than 70 years was a part of the university’s land-grant legacy.

“We got a call from Iowa State saying they wanted to come up here,” Helen explained. “They wanted us to get the deed out because they thought we might be one of the ones” who owned a land-grant parcel.

And, in fact, the first page of the abstract recited the Morrill Act.

“It’s right in the deed, and that’s the first we ever knew of it,” Doc said.

“They were really excited to see it right in the deed,” Helen continued. “We didn’t have a clue. If my father was alive, I’d know a lot more. I think my dad would be real proud that he purchased this farm.”

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Doolittle Family

For Pam Holt Doolittle, who went to Iowa State some 50 years ago, it was one thing to know she was attending a land-grant university, but quite another to own a piece of its history.

“You knew and you always heard it was a land-grant college, but you never really knew what it meant,” she said. “It’s been interesting finding that out, and to now be part of it is really neat.”

Pam (’67 sociology) married Dennis Doolittle (attd. ’62-66), whose father, Don, owned the first land-grant parcel deeded in Hamilton County. Dennis farmed the land beginning in 1969. Son Eric graduated from Iowa State in 1996 in ag business and took over the farming business that year.

“I never wanted to be a farmer,” Eric said. “I went to Iowa State, and halfway through college I decided to farm. I guess once you live in town for a while you realize how much you want out of it. That’s kind of how I felt.”

Eric’s younger brother, Grant, graduated from Iowa State in 1999 in liberal studies and is a physician in Ames.

Krystal Doolittle, Eric’s wife, did not attend Iowa State, but she’s become an integral part of the ISU Extension and Outreach Land- Grant Legacy project. An active advocate for agriculture, she’s provided stories, photography, and videography for the project’s website.

“When the Extension staff came out and met with Eric and me and Eric’s uncle and grandfather, I snapped some pictures and asked if I could write a blog post about it because I thought it was kind of a neat story,” Krystal said. “Then they said they were looking for somebody who is a part of one of the land-grant farms to help tell the story, so it worked out really well.”

 

Iowa State’s Land-Grant Heritage

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Who owns the 200,000+ acres of prime Iowa land that helped finance the beginnings of Iowa State University? ISU Extension and Outreach is connecting with landowners and telling their stories.

By Carole Gieseke

Ray Hansen’s a-ha! moment came during an Emerging Leaders Academy meeting.

Hansen (’83 ag ed, MS ’03), an Iowa State Extension director of value-added agriculture, was listening to an ISU history lecture by retired professor of sociology Gerald Klonglan when his ears perked up. Klonglan was explaining the process of identifying the land granted to support the young land-grant college back in the 1800s. Like so many people, Hansen didn’t fully understand where the land came from and how the profit from the sales came back to Iowa State.

“I understood the land-grant concept and mission, but I had no idea that it was 200,000-plus acres,” Hansen said. “Until I heard Gerald speak, I didn’t realize the massiveness of the land that was used in the land-grant process.”

Hansen pondered this bit of information but didn’t do anything with it for a couple of years, he said, “because I thought I was the only person that didn’t realize how big it was.” But then, during a chance meeting with an Iowa State colleague, an idea was formed to plot the original parcels of land on a map.

The Land-Grant Legacy Project was born.

Our land-grant history
Ray Hansen and his ISU Extension and Outreach colleagues now knew the scope of land involved, and they already had boots on the ground in every county in Iowa State’s Extension offices. They were eager to learn more.

But first, it’s important to understand the basic timeline of Iowa State’s beginnings, because there’s still a lot of confusion:

  • March 22, 1858: Iowa’s legislature established the Iowa Agricultural College and Model Farm.
  • June 21, 1859: Ames is chosen as the site of the new college.
  • 1859: The original college farm of 648 acres is purchased from Story and Boone County landowners (note that this happened BEFORE the land-grant act).
  • July 2, 1862: President Abraham Lincoln signs the Morrill Land-Grant Act, providing parcels of land to the states to create colleges that would provide instruction in agriculture and mechanic arts, based on science and open to all.
  • July 3, 1862: Iowa Gov. Samuel J. Kirkwood calls a special session of the legislature, saying that Iowa needs to be first in line so it can get the very best available land.
  • Sept. 11, 1862: The Iowa legislature officially accepts the provisions of the Morrill Act, the first state in the nation to do so.
  • September 1862 – January 1863: Peter Melendy, appointed by Gov. Kirkwood to implement the selection of the land, travels to northwest Iowa to view the available land parcels (state apportionment was based on the 1860 census).
  • March 29, 1864: Iowa legislature approves the land-grant funds to the Iowa Agricultural College and Model Farm in Ames.
  • Oct. 1, 1868: The first students arrive at the new agricultural college for “preparatory training.”
  • March 17, 1869: Iowa Agricultural College is formally opened for the admission of students; the class contains 136 men and 37 women coming from 55 Iowa counties.

So, that’s the creation story in a nutshell. The part of the story that so intrigued Hansen and his colleagues is the tidbit about Peter Melendy selecting the land. This is a story that really hadn’t been told before.

Brandon Duxbury (MA ’17 history), a graduate assistant and PhD candidate in Iowa State’s Department of History, was brought on the project to research the historical aspects of the land-grant story. Like most people, Duxbury’s knowledge of the land-grant process was limited, and flawed.

“To be honest, coming into it, I had no idea,” he said. “When I heard ‘land-grant institution’ I never even asked myself what it meant. I just assumed the land that campus sits on is the land-grant. Come to find out, it’s a lot more interesting than that. There’s a lot more land involved, and it’s nowhere near the actual campus.”

He learned that Melendy – an Ohio native, cattle breeder, and future mayor of Cedar Falls – was on the original board of trustees for the college and model farm between 1858 and 1862. When Congress passed the Morrill Act, the state of Iowa already had a framework in place, so it was able to act very quickly.

Melendy’s assignment was to evaluate all the unclaimed federal land in Iowa and claim the finest 200,000-plus acres on behalf of the state. He acted fast, spending a month in Ames and Des Moines going over surveyors’ maps and notes to learn what might be the prime agricultural land with the highest values.

“Then he spent two months traveling around northwest Iowa, meeting with federal land agents, meeting with people who had local knowledge of the area, and he selected about 1,240 quarter sections of 160 acres each,” Duxbury explained. “The land he chose represented the best ground at the time, with very specific parameters: high, well-drained slope soils, access to open water, close to transportation. They wanted the first settlers to be successful so they could recruit new settlers.”

Traveling mostly on horseback, the parcels of land he chose were scattered throughout northwest Iowa in counties like Kossuth, Palo Alto, Emmet, Clay, and Ida – 27 counties in all.

Why northwest Iowa? Because much of eastern Iowa had already been settled.

“Melendy did it very fast, because that’s what the governor wanted, and the legislature was in agreement,” said Klonglan (L)(’58 rural sociology, MS ’62, PhD ’63), who is also a retired assistant dean for national programs in the ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and assistant director of the Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station.

Within a few years, the land Melendy identified began producing income for the Iowa Agricultural College and Model Farm to fund its infrastructure, buildings, and faculty hires.

The people behind the land
Fast forward to today. While the settlers who moved onto the 160-acre parcels of land in northwest Iowa in the 1800s may or may not have known that their land payments were helping finance the ag college in Ames, today’s current landowners certainly did not know.

“I don’t think when people bought the ground it made any difference to them that it was used to fund Iowa State or that there was any personal connection at that time,” Hansen said. “They weren’t doing it because of that; they were doing it because it was cherry picked as the best ground available. They were more interested in the quality of the land.”

Duxbury went to state archives in Des Moines and to county historical societies and museums in northwest Iowa, uncovering historical documents that tell the history of the land-grant act in these small parcels of land.

“I think the most fascinating part to me is looking at the people involved within the history,” Duxbury said. “That’s what makes history interesting – people can sit down and read a couple of paragraphs on the Morrill Land-Grant Act, but when you start looking at the individuals involved, that’s what gets people connected to it.”

Once the land parcels had been confirmed and plotted on a map, ISU Extension and Outreach staffers began personally reaching out to landowners, county by county, to inform them of their connections to Iowa State’s history and, in turn, to learn more about the history of the land.

“Once we had the map, it kind of added the ‘wow’ factor,” Hansen said.

The first public unveiling of the project occurred in September 2016, when families in 13 northwest Iowa counties – who own all or part of a quarter-section of land that was first leased or sold under the terms of the Morrill Act – shared their family stories at the Iowa Land-Grant Legacy celebration at the Clay County Fair.

Bob Butcher (A)(’74 animal science) of Holstein was at that celebration, and his reaction to learning he owned land-grant land was one of the highlights of the event for Ray Hansen.

“When we go to an event and somebody totally unexpected comes up and starts looking at the map, and they say, ‘Oh, my gosh, that’s my place!’ like Bob Butcher, those are great moments, when they find out for the first time.”

What started with a red square on a map had turned into a celebration of commonality between Iowans who care for the land.

“We want to let these land-owners know about their special connection to Iowa State and land-grant history,” Cathann Kress (A)(’83 social work), then vice president for extension and outreach, said last year before leaving Iowa State for another position. “We also hope they’ll share, for our archives, their history of growing up on this land and caring  for it.”

The Extension and Outreach staff, including regional directors and county staffers, have just begun to scratch the surface of what will be a long-term project that has the potential to bring communities together, engaging a whole new population of Iowans.

“I think it’s been a theme with most of the people we’ve talked to: After they get over the excitement of owning this parcel and understanding its history, they always talk about the legacy of it, with their family who’s owned it before, and what they plan to do with it in the future,” Duxbury said. “It’s like one big community, and they’re very proud of that.”

Additional reporting by ISU News Service and ISU Extension and Outreach


This article was originally published in VISIONS magazine. To receive the full issue delivered to your mailbox four times per year, become a member of the ISU Alumni Association.

Curriculum of opportunity

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By Avery Amensen

Ask a human sciences student what a dream research project looks like, and you may hear the words “leading-edge,” “multi-generational,” “insightful,” and “comprehensive.” Enter the Family Transitions Project, an Iowa State-based research initiative that has focused on the evolution of families since 1989.

The project began as a study of rural families coping with the 1980s farm crisis, a severe recession that impacted the entire U.S. agriculture economy. The study focused on more than 500 adolescents, along with their siblings and parents. Since then, the project has kept up with the original subjects, wherever they’ve ended up, and their romantic partners and children, with researchers collecting information on their social, work, financial, and romantic lives, as well as genetic data. A grant from the National Institute on Aging is currently funding work focused on the original parents in the study.

Olivia Diggs, a second-year graduate student at Iowa State, works with Tricia Neppl, director of the Family Transitions Project, to help collect the data. “I chose to pursue human development and family studies because I am interested in the relationships between parenting behaviors and child outcomes,” Diggs said.

Studies like this are not only unique in structure, but they offer valuable insights. Researchers can assess how the participants’ relationships as couples have evolved and changed over time, helping them decipher why they make the decisions that they do. One of the biggest findings is called the “Family Stress Model,” referring to how economic pressures can impact the quality of romantic relationships, parenting skills, and child developmental outcomes.

Diggs is able to spend 20 hours per week on the groundbreaking project as a recipient of the Ruth and Vincent Mahoney Student Opportunity Fund. Richard Mahoney (L)(PhD ’11) and his wife, Lois Hartman, established the scholarship specifically to provide students with opportunities to pursue internships and research.

Learning opportunities beyond the classroom are a quintessential aspect of the Iowa State experience – yet without scholarships, many students would not be able to participate in them. That’s why student support is a key priority for the Forever True, For Iowa State campaign. Since the start of the campaign, donors have created more than 600 new undergraduate and graduate scholarships. Gifts to the ISU General Scholarship Fund – or to scholarship funds in each college – also make a well-rounded Iowa State experience possible for thousands of students each year.

Having a hands-on research role in such a unique and long-running study is precisely the type of opportunity that could also launch a career for Diggs. After completing graduate school and receiving both her master’s and doctoral degrees, she hopes to become a college professor at a top-tier research institution – where she could one day mentor students like herself.

“Being a Cyclone is about embracing all of the opportunities this school offers,” Diggs said. “It’s about disseminating the knowledge and skills learned here on campus to take the world by storm.”


This article was originally published in VISIONS magazine. To receive the full issue delivered to your mailbox four times per year, become a member of the ISU Alumni Association.

2017: An ISU Year in Review

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Happy New Year, Cyclones everywhere! Let’s have a little stroll down memory lane. Here’s our annual look back at the events that defined the year at Iowa State University: the ISU News Flash Year in Review. Thank you for being part of a Cardinal & Gold 2017:

IN JANUARY…

…the ISU Foundation announced receipt of one of the largest major gifts in university history: an anonymous donation of an equity stake representing majority ownership of the education company Curriculum Associates, LLC to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The gift would later be analyzed and valued at $145 million, providing $5-6 million annually to the college in perpetuity.

…a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at Geoffroy Hall, a new 784-bed residence hall that is named in honor of Iowa State University President Emeritus Gregory L. Geoffroy (L).

…the College of William and Mary’s Vernon Hurte (A) was tabbed to take over as ISU’s dean of students effective July 3. He succeeds Pamela Anthony, who served as ISU’s dean of students from 2012-2016 before becoming vice president at Southern Methodist University. The ISU campus mourned when Anthony died of cancer Jan. 17 at age 45.

…Iowa State’s largest student-run philanthropy, Dance Marathon, celebrated its 20th anniversary raising funds for the Children’s Miracle Network.

…the ISU Alumni Association launched a new Black College Network Mentor program for African American students and alumni.

…a team of three ISU design and engineering students captured first place at the 26th annual Walt Disney Imagineering Imaginations Design Competition.

…head wrestling coach Kevin Jackson announced he would step down from his position following the 2016-2017 season.

IN FEBRUARY…

…the Iowa legislature passed a de-appropriation bill that administrators estimated would have an $8 million negative impact on the university’s bottom line in 2017-2018.

Lisa K. Nolan resigned her post as ISU’s Dr. Stephen G. Juelsgaard Dean of Veterinary Medicine to become vet med dean at her alma mater, the University of Georgia.

…Virginia Tech’s Kevin Dresser was named Iowa State’s new head wrestling coach.

…more than 570 Cyclones attended the sixth-annual Cardinal & Gold Gala in Des Moines, which raised approximately $80,000 for student and alumni programming and fully funding the endowment that supports first-generation college student scholarships.

…Iowa State alumna Nawal El Moutawakel (’88 phys ed), who chaired the 2016 International Olympic Committee’s Coordination Commission, was part of an IOC team that was recognized with the international 2017 Laureus Sport for Good Award for its creation and support of the 2016 Refugee Olympic Team.

…the ISU Alumni Association sponsored the ISU men’s basketball team’s Senior Night game at Hilton Coliseum and launched “Cyclones Everywhere,” a new rallying cry and commitment to tell the stories and provide the experiences that bond us as Iowa Staters.

IN MARCH…

Steven Leath (L) was appointed the 19th president of Auburn University, ending his five-year tenure at Iowa State. Leath announced that his last day on campus would be May 8. Former ISU dean and provost Benjamin Allen (L) was quickly tabbed to take over as Iowa State’s interim leader.

…the Iowa State men’s basketball team won its third Big 12 tournament title in four seasons, defeating Oklahoma State, TCU, and No. 11 West Virginia to earn the 2017 league tourney crown at Kansas City’s Sprint Center (Hilton South).  Point guard Monte Morris (’17 liberal studies) was named the tournament’s most outstanding player.

…Iowa State was one of 25 schools with both its men’s and women’s basketball teams represented in the NCAA tournament. The men advanced to the second round and the women bowed out in round one to defending national champion Syracuse. Head coaches Steve Prohm and Bill Fennelly (L) each signed contract extensions following the season.

…ISU vice president for extension and outreach Cathann Kress (A)(’83 social work) resigned her position to become vice president and dean at Ohio State University.

…a record number of women participated in the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics’ annual “Ready to Run: Campaign Training for Women” workshop on campus.

…Iowa State held its annual Conference on Race and Ethnicity (ISCORE), which was for the first time named in honor of retired ISU administrator Thomas L. Hill (A).

…Michael Newton (A) was named ISU’s chief of police, replacing retired chief Jerry Stewart.

…the ISU Alumni Association launched a new special interest society for Graduate College alumni during ISU’s 4th annual Graduate and Professional Students Research Conference.

IN APRIL…

…the Iowa Board of Regents appointed the search committee tasked with selecting Iowa State’s 16th president—led by co-chairs Dan Houston (’84 marketing), president and CEO of Principal Financial Group, and Luis Rico-Gutierrez (A), Dean of ISU’s College of Design.

…four Iowa State students were awarded the prestigious Barry Goldwater Scholarship for math, science, and engineering excellence. Iowa State was one of only four schools nationally to go 4-for-4 on having its nominated students selected for the award in 2017.

…the Iowa legislature passed Senate File 510, a budget bill that zeroed funding for ISU’s Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture – a 30-year-old institution created at Iowa State to provide sustainability resources for Iowa farmers.

…Cyclone gymnast and Des Moines native Haylee Young qualified for the 2017 NCAA gymnastics championships in St. Louis, Mo., after notching a top-two individual finish at regional competition.

IN MAY…

…for the second year in a row, Iowa State graduated a record number of students at its spring commencement exercises; 5,093 Cyclones earned undergraduate, graduate, or veterinary medicine degrees May 4-5.

Benjamin Allen (L) began his term as ISU’s interim president after Steven Leath (L) officially left office following spring commencement.

…Iowa State alumna Kim Reynolds (A)(’16 liberal studies) was sworn in as the first female governor of the State of Iowa. Reynolds was the state’s longtime lieutenant governor under Terry Branstad, who left office to become U.S. Ambassador to China.

…Cyclone men’s golfer Nick Voke (’17 kinesiology & health) shot a school-record 61 to earn medalist honors and the Iowa State team shot a school-record 263 (-21) at the NCAA Austin Regional to qualify for ISU’s eighth national championship appearance in school history.

…Iowa State’s Black Cultural Center was officially renamed in honor of the late ISU retiree George A. Jackson. Jackson, who died in 2016 at the age of 75, played a pivotal role in creating opportunities for African American students on campus throughout his distinguished career.

OVER THE SUMMER…

…the Iowa Board of Regents approved a supplemental tuition plan that has added $216 to ISU students’ undergraduate tuition bills for the 2017-2018 academic year. The Regents also approved a new Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at Iowa State.

…ISU announced a $7 million commitment from the Gerdin Charitable Foundation to fund facility expansion in the College of Business – something Raisbeck Endowed Dean David Spalding (L) described as critical, citing the fact that the college has grown by a whopping 30 percent just since he arrived in 2013.

…ISU’s Team PrISUm unveiled its latest solar car, Penumbra, on a 99-county summer tour that kicked off at the ISU Alumni Center. The $750,000, four-seat passenger car would go on to race in October at the World Solar Car Challenge in Australia.

…All-American point guard Monte Morris (’17 liberal studies) and All-American long jumper Jhonamy Luque (’17 marketing) were named ISU’s male and female athletes of the year, respectively, for the 2016-2017 season.

…Iowa State University became a partner in a new, $104 million research center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation was created to study the next generation of plant-based, sustainable, cost-effective biofuels and bioproducts.

…Iowa State also announced a new partnership with Des Moines Area Community College to create the Iowa Cyber Hub, a regional facility designed to create “a critical mass of cyber security education and training in central Iowa.”

…Iowa State head softball coach Jamie Trachsel resigned her position to become head coach at the University of Minnesota after only one season in Ames. She was replaced by Jamie Pinkerton, a former Cyclones assistant who most recently served as head coach at the University of Montana for three seasons.

…the ISU Alumni Association re-introduced its LegaCY Club, with new programs and benefit—including a brand-new children’s book, Cy’s Surprise.

IN SEPTEMBER…

…Iowa State University received a historic gift commitment of $50 million to name its College of Business. The Ivy College of Business, named in recognition of the support from Debbie and Jerry (’53 indus admin) Ivy (L) of Los Altos Hills, Calif., is ISU’s first-ever donor-named college.

…Iowa State’s presidential search committee began discussion of the 64 applications it received for the position.

…the university received gift commitments from Kent Corporation, the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, and Sukup Manufacturing Co. to create a new $21.2 million ISU feed mill and grain science complex.

IN OCTOBER…

Wendy Wintersteen (L)(PhD ’88 entomology) was selected as Iowa State’s 16th president and first-ever female president. Wintersteen had served as dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences since 2006 and has been an ISU faculty member almost continuously since 1979, leaving only briefly from 1989-1990 to work for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. She was chosen from among four finalists who visited campus early in the month. “I love this university,” Wintersteen said at her introductory press conference. “I care about its future. I am just thrilled I’ve been given this opportunity.”

…Iowa State was an October surprise and became the talk of college football, going undefeated in the month with victories over not one, but two, top-five teams. The streak began Oct. 7, when third-string quarterback Kyle Kempt got his first career start at No. 3 Oklahoma and led the Cyclones to a 38-31 victory. Three weeks later, ISU closed out the incredible month with a 14-7 defeat of No. 4 TCU at Homecoming.

Homecoming 2017: Sound the CYren was a tremendous success – with 900 Cyclones marching in the second-annual downtown parade, 7,495 meals being served on campus throughout the week, 1,400 students yelling like hell, and 542 alumni gathering for special reunions.

Iowa State swept the Big 12 cross country championships, winning its sixth women’s title in seven seasons and its first men’s team title since 1994. The Cyclones would go on to sweep the NCAA regionals and finish seventh (men) and 20th (women) at the national championships in November.

…the Iowa Board of Regents tabled its high-profile, ongoing discussion of 2018 tuition rates at the state’s three public universities. Stiff increases were being proposed by leaders, including ISU interim president Ben Allen (L), in the face of flagging state support. The Regents opted to buck the standard operating procedure of reading rates in October so that it could instead wait and react after the Iowa General Assembly considers the Board’s request in January for a $12 million increase in financial aid support. Stay tuned.

…the ISU Alumni Association launched the Cyclone Traditions Challenge on its Iowa State Alumni mobile app as a way for Cyclones everywhere to collect and share memories and experiences of participating in some of the university’s most beloved traditions.

IN NOVEMBER…

…Wendy Wintersteen (L)(PhD ’88 entomology) officially took office Nov. 20 as Iowa State University’s 16th president.

Big 12 Conference Football Coach of the Year Matt Campbell agreed to a new six-year contract worth $22.5 million after leading the 2017 Cyclones to a 7-5 record and its first bowl berth in five seasons.

…ISU chief of staff Miles Lackey (L), senior vice president for university services Kate Gregory (L), and chief information officer Jim Kurtenbach (A)(’90 indus admin) all vacated their executive posts at ISU.

…Iowa State alumnus Paul A. Newman (’78 physics, PhD ’84) of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center was named one of six recipients of the United Nations’ highest environmental honor, the Champions of Earth award, for his efforts to restore Earth’s ozone layer.

IN DECEMBER…

…the Iowa State football team defeated No. 19 Memphis in front of thousands of fans at the 2017 AutoZone Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tenn., marking the Cyclones’ first bowl victory since 2009.

What’s to come? We can’t wait to see what is in store for 2018. Happy New Year!