Cy’s Suitcase May 2018: Travel Tips

travel quote

shellie-newHere are the latest travel tips from Traveling Cyclones director Shellie Andersen ’88 as published in the May 2018 issue of Cy’s Suitcase — the e-newsletter for Traveling Cyclones everywhere. If you’d like to begin receiving this publication in your inbox, contact Shellie at

1. Back Everything Up
Keep both digital and physical copies of your passport, visas, driver’s license, birth certificate, health insurance card, serial numbers, and important phone numbers ready to go in case of an emergency. Back up your files & photos on an external hard drive as well as online.

2. Take Lots Of Photos
You may only see these places & meet these people once in your lifetime. Remember them forever with plenty of photos. Don’t worry about looking like a “tourist.” Are you traveling to look cool? No one cares. Great photos are the ultimate souvenir.

3. Observe Daily Life
If you really want to get a feel for the pulse of a place, spend a few hours sitting in a park or on a busy street corner just watching day-to-day life happen in front of you.

4. Smile & Say Hello
Having trouble interacting with locals? Do people seem unfriendly? Maybe it’s your body language. One of my best travel tips is to make eye contact and smile as you walk by. If they smile back, say hello in the local language, too. This is a fast way to make new friends.

5. Don’t Be Afraid
The world is not nearly as dangerous as the media makes it out to be. Keep an eye out for sketchy situations, but don’t let that be the focus of your whole trip. Use common sense and you’ll be okay. One of the best reasons to travel with the Traveling Cyclones is because we have guides who are with you and can help you in many situations.



Career Question Dropbox: Email Overload


Hooray! It’s time to answer our first-ever question from the ISU Alumni Association’s new Career Question Dropbox. To get YOUR career question answered, simply submit it online.


THE QUESTION: What is the best way to manage an overload of emails?

While there are certainly a variety of methods for managing your inbox, one of the most popular approaches has been coined ‘Inbox Zero.’ Even within this approach there are different recommendations on actually achieving Inbox Zero. Michael McWatters, Director of Experience Design at TED, prefers “a manual approach: read, reply, take action, archive, unsubscribe.” Other experts swear by a set of specific tips.

A few of the most common ones are:

1. Schedule time specifically for responding to emails. Maybe it’s a half hour, maybe it’s an hour. Perhaps you need to schedule time in the morning and again after lunch. Determine the amount of time you need and when it works best in your schedule, then add it to your calendar!

2. React right away. If the email requires action and you can complete that action right now, do it! Chances are you’ll spend more time flagging that email for later or moving it to a ‘to-do’ folder than you would simply completing the task.

3. Delete, Delegate, Respond, Defer, Do. Delete spam, junk mail, anything you don’t need to do anything else with. If someone else should take action on the item, delegate it by forwarding it on to them. Respond right away if you can. And if you’re waiting on a reply or more information before you can respond, defer the message – but make sure you know when you’ll readdress it. As for Do, see tip #2!

Additional Resources:
4 Tips to Better Manage Your Email Inbox (By: Jacqueline Whitmore)
Improve Your Productivity With Inbox Zero (By: Aytekin Tank)


Until next time…keep those inboxes spick and span! And keep sending your questions to the ISUAA Career Question Dropbox!


A season to believe


From VISIONS magazine, spring 2018

By Kate Bruns

With its ups and downs, twists and turns, there was something powerful about what happened in the Iowa State football program in 2017. In the face of seemingly  insurmountable obstacles, the team overcame. Through leadership, belief, and grit, it overcame. It trusted the process. And the process, as Matt Campbell famously declared Oct. 7 in a jubilant, crowded Norman, Okla., locker room, started loving it back. For the third-year Cyclones head coach, it’s just the beginning.

“The biggest thing we learned [this season] is that belief occurred within our walls,”  Campbell said. “In 2017, we created belief. It was about who wanted to sacrifice and take leadership value into our football program. The next step is creating winning, and I think you saw that start to happen in 2017.”

And now, a quick look at exactly what did happen in 2017 – one game at a time.

Sept 2: Iowa State 42,
Northern Iowa 24
Iowa State debuted its 2017 team before a sellout crowd under the lights at Jack Trice Stadium with QB Jacob Park leading the offense, former QB Joel Lanning leading the defense, and the Cyclones winning handily thanks in large part to two first-quarter TDs on interception returns.

Sept. 9: Iowa 44,
Iowa State 41 (OT)
Cyclones fans weren’t quite sure what to make of the team’s performance in a 44-41  overtime loss to Iowa in the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series – a thrilling game, no doubt, but not necessarily a strong defensive performance by either squad. Iowa State took a 38-31 lead with 4:36 to play on Park’s fourth touchdown pass of the game but was unable to hold off the Hawkeyes for the remainder of the quarter; Iowa forced overtime with a 46-yard touchdown pass with just 1:09 left in regulation before sealing the victory in OT.

“That was one of only two games in which we played badly on defense,” senior end J.D. Waggoner would go on to say after the season ended. “I’d like to have that one back.”

Sept. 16: Iowa State 41,
Akron 14
Campbell & Co. took the show on the road for the first time Sept. 16, traveling to familiar territory for the Ohio native and former MAC Coach of the Year: Akron. Fellow Ohio  native David Montgomery, a Cyclone sophomore running back, rushed for 127 yards and a touchdown and caught five passes in the win – signaling great things to come.

Sept 28: Texas 17,
Iowa State 7
In what would end up being Park’s final game as a Cyclone, the Iowa State offense  sputtered on a Thursday night at Jack Trice Stadium. Park would go on to announce Oct. 6 that he was taking a leave of absence from the team to deal with some personal health issues. He remained on the roster all season but was ultimately granted a release from
his scholarship in December. Despite the game’s negatives, the Cyclones did see promise in a new-look defense but were unsure how to move forward with confidence. That’s when the Cyclones head coach stepped in.

“The challenge after the Texas game was that there was an imbalance in our football program,” Campbell said. “I had to fix it.”

Oct. 7: Iowa State 38,
No. 3 Oklahoma 31
Coming off the disappointing home loss to Texas, concerned eyebrows raised across the country at the announcement that third-string signal-caller Kyle Kempt, a fifth-year senior transfer who had never played a down at either of his previous two schools, was going to start at quarterback for the Cyclones. On the road. Against the nation’s third-ranked team.

The rest, of course, is history. In a win that redefined the Cyclones’ season and perhaps even the future of Iowa State football, Iowa State was triumphant in Norman for the first time since 1990. Kempt, who was 18-of-24 for 343 passing yards on the game, connected with senior Allen Lazard for the game-winning touchdown on third and long with 2:19 to play that solidified Lazard’s legacy as the Cyclones’ greatest all-time receiver. It was a come-from-behind victory that Campbell says started well before the first snap in Norman.

“The week leading up to the Oklahoma game was the turning point in our entire football program,” he said. “Those Tuesday and Wednesday practices, I’ll never forget. Tuesday it rained, and that was one of the best practices we’d had all year. On Wednesday, Joel Lanning stepped back into quarterback for a period of practice and you just felt the team come together. We said we’re going to move forward together and not on an individual basis; that was really powerful for us.”

Oct. 14: Iowa State 45,
Kansas 0
The Cyclones were on “letdown watch” Oct. 14 as they returned home to take on Kansas on a rainy afternoon in Jack Trice. After a 37-minute weather delay, the Cyclones took their field and delivered anything but a letdown, pitching a shutout paced by 10 tackles from Lanning.

Oct. 21: Iowa State 31,
Texas Tech 13
For the first time since 1960-1961, Iowa State recorded a fourth-straight road victory when it spoiled Texas Tech’s Homecoming and improved to 3-1 in Big 12 play for the first time since 2002. Lanning and Willie Harvey led the way on defense with 14 tackles apiece as Kempt moved to 3-0 as a starter, connecting on 22-of-32 passes for 192 yards and three touchdowns.

Oct. 26: Iowa State 14,
No. 4 TCU 7
It was Homecoming in Ames as the Cyclones faced another top-5 opponent for the chance to move into a tie for first place in the Big 12 and secure bowl eligibility for the first time in five seasons.

Marcel Spears picked off Kenny Hill’s pass with 1:16 left to play to seal the third-ever Cyclone win over a top-5 opponent – and second that month. “We played harder for longer,” Campbell said postgame. “It was really rewarding to see.” It capped a perfect October that vaulted Iowa State into the national spotlight – a light Campbell says his team took on with grace.

“We’re such an instant gratification society with Twitter and social media. We had started to talk about lessons of handling success in the summer – that it was going to be a huge indication of the future of Iowa State football,” Campbell said. “A lot of my own growth has come from learning how to shut the noise off, because if you don’t know how to do it, how will your kids ever do it?”

Nov. 4: West Virginia 20,
No. 14 Iowa State 16
The Cyclones’ winning streak finally came to an end in Morgantown, W.Va., where an early 20-0 Mountaineer lead proved too difficult for the Cyclones to overcome.

Nov. 11: No. 12 Oklahoma State
49, Iowa State 42
Another sellout crowd was on hand at Jack Trice Stadium, looking to will the Cyclones  back into the win column against the Cowboys. The shootout ended in a controversial loss for the home team, however, when wide receiver Marchie Murdock and OSU’s A.J. Green tumbled to the ground in the end zone after both getting their hands on a pass from Cyclone quarterback Zeb Noland in the final minute of the game – a tie ball that was ruled an interception. Iowa State fans were furious about the call. Little did they know, it wouldn’t be the angriest they’d get in 2017.

Nov. 18: Iowa State 23,
Baylor 13
The Cyclones grabbed their fourth road win in five tries during a trip to Waco.  Montgomery piled up 158 yards of offense, including 144 rushing yards, to lead Iowa State to a grind-it-out victory that kept the Clones in theoretical contention for a berth to the Big 12 title game.

Nov. 25: Kansas State 20,
Iowa State 19
Trips to Manhattan (and occasionally Kansas City) to take on Kansas State haven’t exactly been friendly to Iowa State in recent history, and an almost improbable collapse in their last game at KSU ultimately led to the firing of head coach Paul Rhoads.

This season, the Cyclones came into Manhattan ready to get the purple monkey off their back. They  controlled the tempo of the somewhat ugly contest and were in a favorable position with a 6-point fourth-quarter lead as they tried to milk the clock on a drive. On third-and-6, a pass intended for Lazard was not caught after a KSU defender hugged him tightly as a golden hankie struck his feet. The pass interference call would result in a first down for the Cyclones. Except that it didn’t. In a move that remains unexplained, head official Reggie Smith directed officials to pick up the flag. Kansas State would end up getting another offensive possession and scored, giving them a victory that left Iowa State fans and players both perplexed and irate.

Campbell endured sleepless nights in the wake of the loss.

“One thing we talk about all the time is ‘control the controllables,’” he said. “And in this situation, we didn’t.”

Dec. 30: Iowa State 21,
No. 19 Memphis 20
The Cyclones headed into the 2017 AutoZone Liberty Bowl with several rather large chips on their shoulders. From the pain and frustration of the Kansas State loss to the blatant disrespect displayed by Memphis players when they flipped Iowa State’s helmet upside-down for press photos in the lead-up to the game, the Cyclones had something to prove Dec. 30 in Memphis, Tenn.

Getting the win in the Liberty Bowl would end up taking some toughness and, once again, an ability to rise in the face of questionable calls from the officials.

Driving late with a 21-20 lead, Montgomery appeared to hit pay dirt, but the officials ruled he had fumbled prior to crossing the goal line. Several excruciating minutes of official review later, the Tigers were awarded a touchback.

“We were in the huddle [during the review] and I remember [Campbell] coming up and telling us, ‘I hope we don’t get this call,’” Waggoner remembered. “I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ But I understood where he was coming from. At Kansas State we were placed in the same situation and it didn’t go our way. He said, ‘I want to know if this team’s learned from our mistakes, if we can finish it.’”

The Cyclone defense stood tall.

“We just kind of anchored down and said, ‘Look, we’re not gonna let this happen again,” Waggoner said. “All they needed was a field goal, but we were able to make a fourth-down stop to get off the field and that was a pretty awesome way to end it. It was.”

“It felt great,” Murdock added. “It was only right for us to send our seniors and our fans out with a W. And that’s what we did.”


171229-libertybowl-245-mattcampbellfileLed Iowa State to an 8-5 season and named Big 12 Coach of the Year after being picked ninth in most league preseason polls. The Cyclones were ranked in the AP Top-25 for the first time since 2005 after it defeated two top-five teams for the first time in ISU history. On the week of his 38th birthday, Campbell agreed to a new six-year contract extension worth $22.5 million.

Known for: Being famously dubbed “good as gone” on Twitter by ESPN pundit Kirk Herbstreit after the Cyclones beat TCU – a prediction that drew an angry reaction from Cyclones everywhere. After Campbell inked a new contract with ISU Nov. 27, Herbstreit
publicly acknowledged he was wrong and called Campbell “rare” and “impressive.”

His 2017 highlight: “Honestly, it was coaching the seniors. They love football and they love Iowa State. A lot of them had been through really hard times. But it was a group that had a spirit about itself, had the ability to overcome adversity consistently. That was really fun to watch. Those were the guys who really led a lot of change in culture within our walls that I thought was really powerful.”

The 2017 game he wants back: “Kansas State. Or Texas. Kansas State. I was probably as mad at myself as I was at anybody after that game, because I felt like I’d taken the mentality that I was going to let someone take the game from us instead of thinking about how I was going to step up and finish it.”


Waggoner_JD17LibertyBowl_6A 2017 second-team all-Big 12 and first-team academic all-Big 12 selection at defensive end from Dallas, Texas, who tasted senior success after a tumultuous Iowa State career that included struggles with injuries and coaching changes

Known for: His signature celebratory highkick after making big plays – including a down linemen-best 42 tackles in 2017.

His 2017 highlight: “After Kyle took that last knee at the Liberty Bowl. I just kind of collapsed to the ground, because finally we had done it.”

The 2017 game he wants back: “Kansas State. That was the most upset I’ve ever been in my life, I think.”


Murdock, Marchie_Iowa_2017_2A graduate transfer from Arlington, Texas, who played at and earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois before inking with Matt Campbell in 2016. In 2017 he emerged as one of Iowa State’s top receiving threats, finishing third in receptions (41), receiving yards (513), and touchdowns (5).

Known for: Catching what would have been a game-tying touchdown in the final minute of ISU’s home game vs. No. 14 Oklahoma State – a catch that was also made by OSU cornerback A.J. Green and ruled an interception. “If it’s a tie ball…possession is to the offense… ROBBED,” Murdock famously tweeted Nov. 11.

His 2017 highlight: “I want to say a three-way tie between beating Oklahoma, beating TCU, and beating Memphis. If I had to pick one of the three it’d probably be beating Oklahoma, because of the way we won, but the TCU game is probably a close second because it was at home and we rushed the field.”

The 2017 game he wants back: “Oklahoma State. I think if we would have won that game we would have gone into the Kansas State game thinking a lot differently.”


One of the biggest stories of the 2017 Iowa State season – and, in fact, the 2017 college football season – was Joel Lanning. In what defensive coordinator Jon Heacock described preseason as “one of the most impressive things that a player could do,” the Ankeny native moved from quarterback to middle linebacker for his senior campaign.

What Heacock couldn’t have predicted at the time, however, was just how impressive Lanning would be – not just in terms of his unbelievable success as a defensive player, but also the fact that, of 934 total snaps he would go on to play during ISU’s regular season, 45 of them would come on offense and 124 on special teams. His nomination for the Paul Hornung Award recognizing college football’s “most versatile player” was for obvious reasons. The fact that he didn’t win it was a head-scratcher.

That said, individual recognition has never been that important to Lanning – though he certainly did collect a thick stack of All-America and all-Big 12 awards in 2017. Matt Campbell praised Lanning all season long as the consummate team player, noting “we’re a better football team with Joel Lanning on the field.”


It stands for “Greatest of All Time,” and it’s exactly what Allen Lazard is on Iowa State’s long list of celebrated wide receivers. The only player in school history with four 40+ reception and 500+ receiving yard seasons, he made the catch heard round the world to secure the win at Oklahoma. He broke five school records during his ISU career, which ended in style when he snared a Liberty Bowl-record 10 receptions for 142 yards as bowl MVP Dec. 30 in Memphis, Tenn.


For all the talk of offensive weapons on the Cyclone roster, the breakout performance of the season didn’t come at the wide receiver spot. Or even the much-discussed  quarterback spot. It was sophomore running back David Montgomery, who raced into the record books as a first-team All-American with 1,146 rushing yards.

“We had a lot of great leadership, but there’s probably nobody that’s pumped as much life and blood into our football program than that young man has,” Campbell said. “He’s the one who, in so many ways, captured the heartbeat of this football team. He doesn’t say it; he does it. It’s never an ego situation with David. It’s about what he can do for his team to make the team the best it can be.”


Kyle Kempt was one of the feelgood stories in all of college football in 2017. We all know it by now: The native of Matt Campbell’s hometown was a benchwarmer at Oregon State and then at Hutchinson Community College. He was third on ISU’s depth chart as a walk-on when he was called up to start at Oklahoma Oct. 7 and promptly proceeded to make history.

And in February, Campbell learned that his petition for an extension of eligibility for  Kempt was granted by the NCAA. So Kempt isn’t done yet as a Cyclone; he’ll be back for 2018.

“It is a thrill for me to be able to represent this great university for another year,” Kempt said.

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.


A conversation


Get to know Wendy Wintersteen, Iowa State’s 16th president

VISIONS met with President Wintersteen in Beardshear Hall on Dec. 8, 2017. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

VISIONS: You grew up in Kansas and went to school at Kansas State University. How did you end up at Iowa State?
WINTERSTEEN: I was thinking that I would go to grad school, and I thought I’d go to  Oregon State (laughs). But then I applied for two jobs. One was here at Iowa State,  working for Extension in integrated pest management, and one was at New Mexico State University on the rangeland caterpillar. And then I got the job at Iowa State University. So, I was given an opportunity that was, for me, an incredible opportunity. I graduated in 1978, and I started in January 1979 over in the Davenport Extension Office. I worked in
seven counties, from Clinton County down to Lee County, and worked with the most
wonderful farmers and their families.

Why did you stay at the same institution for 38 years? How did you stay motivated and passionate?
It’s really about Iowa State University and [the state of] Iowa and the partnerships that we have, with our stakeholders, with our students and our alums, and how you care about your faculty and staff. I had opportunities to leave over the years … but I looked around and looked at the partnerships and still felt that I had a lot to give here at Iowa
State University and wasn’t interested in leaving. I love Iowa State. I have my “forever
true” button on.

How long have you been seriously thinking, “You know, I’d really like to be president of this university”?
I really didn’t give it a thought until Steve Leath announced his resignation. It had really been special to me when [former ISU president] Greg Geoffroy, way back when, had mentioned my name, and I thought, well, NO! That’s not right! (laughs deeply) I thought, you know, I’m too young … I’m not ready for that.

So, it’s been fairly recent.
And the reason is because, in searches like this, you never know who will be in the pool, and I decided that I wouldn’t be happy if I didn’t put my name in the hat.

It was a good pool. You had strong competition.
I think so, too. But, again, I knew I could, if it went either way, I could still be the dean. I just thought it was important to have somebody at this time that knew and understood Iowa State University and understood [the state of] Iowa. So, I just felt compelled and I was excited about the opportunity to do it.

What’s one thing about this job that keeps you awake at night?
You know, we have a number of challenges in front of us. The budget is uncertain for the coming year; I think that is an important issue. And then, where we are in the discussions about the campus climate – have we really helped everybody understand what it means to reach out to somebody that is different than themselves? How do we get our students to that place? To understand that it’s important to value differences.

Talk about university size and managing growth.
I think we’re at a good size. And what has been important about the growth at Iowa State University is that it has increased the diversity of our student body. Twenty-four percent of our students are international or multicultural students from the United States; that  provides for all of our students a better set of opportunities, and so I think that is just a  tremendous value. So, I think this is a good size for us. I think we’ve managed the growth in enrollment pretty well. We would like to be able to reduce the faculty/student ratio. Certainly, our facilities are running at full capacity, but we are taking appropriate steps. You talk to each of the deans, and this is something they work on every day. We have a  great plan to look at how we increase our graduation rates.

How many red jackets are in your closet?
I don’t have enough! (laughs) There just are not enough red jackets!

What’s your favorite insect?
(No hesitation) Right now it’s the monarch butterfly. Iowa State is partnering with other entities to preserve the butterfly through the Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium. We have support for research from those groups, support to ask private landowners to  provide land that could be habitat for the monarch butterfly. We’ve had great conversations, and we’re making progress. If Iowa leads the way on this, I think we can save this important insect and save its iconic migration back and forth to Mexico.

What else would you like people to know?
I was being very sincere at President’s Council when I said I care and we should all care.  And I think we do. And how we demonstrate that is important. I think that really is something we need to be known for at Iowa State, that we care about our faculty, staff, and students. That we care about each other, that we work together to accomplish our goals and to serve our students and the state.

James Autry is my favorite author. He wrote The Servant Leader, and one of the things he says in his book is that leadership requires love. I believe that deeply. There will be things we have to face, but we’ll do it together. We can do it all together.

Wintersteen on…

…the budget
“We are having numerous conversations about the budget. Of course, there simply are a lot of unknowns at this point. The Board of Regents is working through its process to determine the tuition increase. We know that the Board of Regents’ proposal to the Legislature is about new dollars to support student financial aid at Iowa State University and the other Regent universities. I think that shows the commitment to assist students and their families with any tuition increase. We also know that Iowa State had a very tight budget last year. For the most part, our faculty and staff did not receive salary increases. I’m making that a priority to address in this coming year. We work in a competitive market, and we have excellent faculty and staff.”

– From a Nov. 27, 2017 interview with Inside Iowa State

“We knew fairly quickly that [7 percent] was a number that wasn’t very well received in Iowa. It was jarring to students and to their families.”

– From an interview with the Des Moines Register on Jan. 16. Presidents from Iowa’s three public universities proposed annual tuition hikes over the next five years of 7 percent at ISU and the University of Iowa. In the Register interview, Wintersteen  predicted next year’s tuition rates will increase at least 3.5 percent and that the Board of Regents would not approve a 7 percent tuition hike. A final decision will be made by the Iowa legislature in April or May.

…being the first female president at Iowa State
“We went to the Homecoming football game with [interim president] Ben and Pat [Allen], and we visited all the tailgate tents. We walked along and stopped and visited with so  many people, but what was life-changing for me was the number of women who came
up and hugged me and thanked me for serving as president. To be a role model for young women, for their children, they thought that was important. And I think it is  important. We all need role models, and you know, I’m the 16th president – we were  formed in 1858 – and we now have the first female president. So, it’s a big deal. It was  nice to see the outpouring of support from people I don’t even know.”

…the student experience
“We have to always be committed to an extraordinary student experience. I want every student to be able to succeed at Iowa State. They have to work hard; they have to earn it, but we need to be making sure they have the opportunities to reach their full potential. That’s our obligation. ¶ We’re proud of where we are in terms of graduation rates, but those graduation rates are not where they should be. We need to be more successful  there. [We must provide] that extraordinary student experience, where more and more students are able to successfully graduate and go forward. ¶ It’s also about research, innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic development. We do this every day, and we’re going to do it even better in the future.”

“We’re not bringing back VEISHEA. It wasn’t President Leath who took away VEISHEA. It  was the people that came into town and misbehaved [and some of our own students]. Those people took away VEISHEA. So, what I think [senior VP for student affairs] Martino Harmon and [Talbot ISU Alumni Association endowed president and CEO] Jeff Johnson and other leaders have done, working with student government, is create a set of events throughout the year now. [These events] give students an opportunity to celebrate, an opportunity to be part of the planning and leadership of a big event that gives them a new set of experiences that will help them in their future careers, and an opportunity to raise money for the student organizations they’re a part of. That all exists, and it will  continue to be refined and improved upon. And when students have an opportunity to
participate, lead, carry out something like that, that’s a learning experience.”

…the importance of alumni in the life of the university
“We have a great Alumni Association, and people love being engaged in the Alumni  Association. I’ve always thought it was fabulous how the alumni board of directors is elected. That shows a level of commitment by alums. They know their set of  responsibilities that come with that seat, and they take it very seriously. You can see it in the outcomes that they achieve. ¶ It’s important to begin working with alums immediately [after graduation]. By having our young alums become engaged with us, they may go up and down with how they participate as their life changes and they have children and their job gets bigger, but when you connect early, then I think you connect forever.”

…the 21st century land-grant university
“When I think about the 21st century land-grant university, I believe that our missions are still as relevant today as they were back in 1858 and when the very special pieces of legislation were passed to support the Morrill and Smith-Lever Acts. I think those missions are still in place. I think it’s critically important that we have our Extension programming out in the state, that we have a diverse set of programmatic areas that we work in. ¶ I think the work we do in all three missions – teaching, research, and extension – continues to evolve, and how we reach and connect with Iowa citizens and with our students, how we connect nationally and internationally, continues to evolve. But the core stays the same, and in the end it’s about the relationship we have with people, it’s how we communicate with them, and it’s the trust that we’ve built together really to achieve some very great things.” ■

Statements are from Wendy Wintersteen’s Dec. 8, 2017 interview with VISIONS magazine
unless otherwise noted.


Just call him the president’s spouse

Life for Robert Waggoner (L) since Oct. 23, 2017, has been a whirlwind.

That was the day his wife, Wendy Wintersteen, was named president of Iowa State  University.

“Around that time there had just been the hurricanes in Texas and Florida, and I told people that we’d just entered our own personal Category 5,” he says, laughing. “But as each week went by it decreased and decreased, and now we’re just in a tropical storm. That’s our current life.”

Waggoner and Wintersteen met in the state of Kansas when they were still in high school. They married in 1984. Waggoner is a 1981 graduate of Drake University, with a degree in psychology. He worked in sales and marketing in his family’s business before pursuing his dream job: dreams.

“I decided that I wanted to write a book on a niche area of psychology called lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming means that you realize within the dream that you’re dreaming,” he said.

He joined the International Association for the Study of Dreams, and he published a book, Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self, in 2008. That book has been translated into multiple languages and is currently in its 10th printing. He followed it up with a second book, Lucid Dreaming, Plain and Simple: Tips and Techniques for Insight, Creativity, and Personal Growth in 2015, co-written with author Caroline McCready.

Waggoner had to make a speedy transition to the president’s spouse, his new official job title. On Oct. 23, he says, Wintersteen was on the phone with the Board of Regents,  accepting the position.

“She gave a date that was literally about 10 days later, and I was in the background thinking, ‘We will not be ready!’” he said. “So, thankfully she thought about it for 30 seconds after she hung up and called them back and asked for one more week.” Wintersteen started her job on Nov. 20.

But now he’s ready to embrace his new role, one that, for 160 years at Iowa State, has been held by women.

“For the most part, I see the demands of the role are roughly the same [for a male]: to act as someone who supports their spouse, supports the president, supports the university, supports the students, faculty, and staff, and in many degrees is involved in social  functions. But it is a little bit different, I think, being a man in this role, because my wife is the first woman who’s been a president of Iowa State University. So, in that sense I’m aware that I’m setting precedents.”

Waggoner has experience, serving as the dean’s spouse for 11 years, during which he traveled, met with alumni and donors, visited project sites, and attended events for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He said he plans to reach out to all parts of the campus and the Ames community, making the historic president’s residence available for events.

“We’re happy to have events here, because we know for many people, coming to The Knoll is a special time,” he said. “I think things will be a bit more active here [in The Knoll].”

Wintersteen says her husband is ready to step in to his new role.

“Robert is very serious about his role,” she said. “He was engaged in conversations with [former interim first lady] Pat Allen very much during that month we had with them. He’s in great conversations with [former first lady] Kathy Geoffroy; he and [former first lady] Janet Leath have had a conversation. He’s very serious about it. He wants to do a good job.”

Waggoner says he’s excited about the challenge to support the new president.

“You know, we’ve been here at Iowa State University throughout Wendy’s entire career,” he said. “We feel very much at home here. We’ve come to love Iowa State and the students and the faculty and staff. It’s truly a phenomenal university.”

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.



Madam President


Wendy Wintersteen is the first ISU graduate and first internal candidate to be named president of Iowa State University in more than 50 years. She’s also the first woman to hold the top administrative spot in ISU’s 160-year history. And she is forever true to Iowa State.

By Carole Gieseke

Wendy Wintersteen’s journey at Iowa State University has been slow and sweet.

She arrived 38 years ago, fresh out of college, as an integrated pest management specialist for University Extension. Her journey led her from hands-on field days in eastern Iowa to a PhD program to an academic appointment in the Department of  Entomology. From there, she climbed the ladder in the College of Agriculture (now Agriculture and Life Sciences) to the very top: She became dean of the college in 2006.

And then, on Oct. 23, 2017, after a nearly six-month national search involving three other finalists, Wintersteen (L)(PhD ’88 entomology) was named Iowa State’s 16th president. She started officially in her new role on Nov. 20.

Wintersteen grew up in rural Kansas, with two sisters, a love of insects, a mom who supported her passions, and a dad who taught at a community college.

Her parents farmed outside of Fort Scott in southeast Kansas, but a combination of drought and low cattle prices led the family to move to Hutchinson, northwest of Wichita. Growing up in Kansas, which Wintersteen describes as “a much wilder place than most of Iowa,” nurtured her love of insects and the outdoors.

“My mother helped me build this little insect zoo,” she says. “I was very young, and just have such a vivid memory of her willingness to do that with me. You know, my mother was a great lady. [I also remember] collecting cicada skins off trees and [finding] spiders in the basement…we had a wonderful childhood.”

As an undergraduate at Kansas State University, Wintersteen visited the Iowa State  University campus and a corn insect laboratory. (She remembers thinking, “Wow, Iowa! We’re going to Iowa!”) And although Iowa State wasn’t her first choice for graduate school, she was offered a job at ISU Extension and found that she thrived in that  environment.

“What I always will remember is that Extension at Iowa State University is a very caring community. They welcome individuals to that community and help you grow as a professional,” she said. She had “extraordinary mentors” and encountered many other caring professionals – including the late Al Seim, an Extension crop production specialist
who worked out of the Ottumwa area office and always called her “My Kansas Sunflower.”

“I could almost cry thinking about some of these people, because here I was, a young woman who really didn’t know very much, and they helped me learn what it meant to be a member of Iowa State University Extension,” she said. “And what they also taught me is that you have to work with farmers, community members, and youth where they are. Because it’s not about telling a farm family, a farmer, or a business what they need to know; it’s about hearing what they need.”

By 1988, Wintersteen had earned both her doctoral degree in entomology and the rank of assistant professor at ISU, and she was leading pesticide management programs for the state.

Bob Dodds (’77 ag ed, MS ’85), assistant vice president for the county services unit of ISU Extension and Outreach, was a county director back in the late 1980s when he first worked with Wintersteen, and he gained an appreciation for her leadership style early  on.

“One thing that I’ve always appreciated about Wendy is it didn’t matter whose idea it was,” Dodds said. “It didn’t matter if you were the dean of the college or if you were the county director, all ideas were welcome. If it was a good idea and Wendy thought it was a good idea, you would be amazed how quickly it was implemented. And she always said, ‘Number one, how can I help you? And number two, what do we need to change to make it better?’ [She said that] to me so many times. Also, she always took your phone call [or] called you back. And you didn’t have to be the president of the university to get that call.”

Her strong management skills did not go unnoticed. She became director of Extension to Agriculture and Natural Resources in 1997, and by 2002 was a senior associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS).

That was the year Iowa State hired its ninth dean of agriculture – and the fi rst female to hold that role. That new dean, Cathie Woteki, immediately recognized Wintersteen’s strengths and contributions to the college. “Oh, most definitely,” Woteki said. “She was already serving as the executive associate dean to the dean of agriculture. She had a wide range of knowledge and insights.” (Woteki would go on to serve six years as undersecretary for research, education & economics and chief scientist for the USDA; she recently returned to ISU as a faculty member in the Department of Food Science and  Human Nutrition.)

In 2006, Wintersteen herself took the reins of the college, becoming its dean and the director of the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station, roles she would hold until November 2017.

During her tenure as dean, she helped raise more than $247 million in donor support for College of Agriculture and Life Sciences students, faculty, and staff . In those 11 years, undergraduate enrollment grew by 90 percent, and the college’s placement rate for  recent grads was consistently 97% or above. Th e college’s Agricultural Entrepreneurship
Initiative has prepared students who have started companies and has created hundreds of jobs. And for four of the last five years, ISU’s agriculture programs have been ranked in the top 10 among thousands of universities worldwide.

Edan Lambert, a senior in animal science, had the opportunity to interact with Wintersteen as the 2017 CALS Student Council president and as a member of the Dean’s Student Advisory Committee. She describes Wintersteen as “genuine, caring, fearless, independent, and selfless.”

“There are so many times when she speaks that I find myself sitting back, laughing,  intently listening, and saying over and over again, ‘I just love this woman,’” Lambert said.

Brian Meyer (L)(’83 journ/mass comm), director of communications for CALS, has worked with Wintersteen for 16 years. He calls it a “good stretch.”

“I just think the world of her. She’s the best boss I’ve ever had,” Meyer said. “She always  believed in the team effort. She built a team when she became dean in 2006. She’s very  direct, in a way that gets to the heart of things. She really does want to make  progress in  whatever way possible, and she has that ability to bring people along and work towards  that. I think that kind of marks her style.”

Wintersteen’s name was mentioned as a replacement for President Gregory Geoffroy when he retired in 2012, but at that time she believed she was too young and  inexperienced for the top position.

But when Steven Leath (L) announced in May 2017 that he was leaving to become president of Auburn University, Wintersteen began to give it some thought.

“I love Iowa State, and I felt like I was a good candidate at this time,” she said. “I decided that I wouldn’t be happy if I didn’t put my name in the hat. I was excited about the opportunity.”

As an internal candidate for the Iowa State presidency, Wintersteen knew there would be advantages – and disadvantages. No internal candidate and no Iowa State graduate had risen to the rank of university president here for more than 50 years. (W. Robert Parks, president from 1965 to 1986, was an Iowa State professor, dean of instruction, and vice president for academic affairs before being named president; James H. Hilton,  president from 1953 to 1965, was a 1923 Iowa State grad.)

Wintersteen’s colleagues warned her that it would be tough. Though she was a popular dean with an exemplary track record, she had weathered a few controversies: an  appearance of having political ties to “Big Ag,” a dispute with the Harkin Institute, and, most recently, the defunding of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.

The four finalists for president each participated in a public forum in October, and  Wintersteen’s crowd in the Memorial Union’s Great Hall was the largest, with about 300 people in attendance.

“I do not believe, given the challenges facing us, that we have time to wait for someone to  come in from the outside and spend one or two years learning about the situation,”  intersteen told the audience. “I believe I am a compelling candidate…because I do understand the situation. I understand the challenges we are facing.

“I am forever true to Iowa State,” she said. “It’s my turn to ‘lean in.’”

In the end, the obvious advantages of being an internal candidate won out.

“One enormous strength is, because her career has been at Iowa State, she has such a deep knowledge of faculty, [not just] within the College of Ag, but also contacts throughout the university,” Woteki said. “She has an in-depth knowledge of the work of the university, and she has a way of listening and really comprehending and grasping the issues that people are trying to bring forward.”

Meyer said Wintersteen possesses a deep love and commitment to the institution. “We’ve had some great presidents and deans, but she really, truly came from this grassroots place of being a field specialist for Extension, very literally working on the ground with Iowans, and seeing the value of the mission first-hand and as a young person. I think she just grew to love Iowa and grew to love the university. And I think that’s reflected in her actions and how she cares about what happens here. The roots go very deep with her, in a way that maybe we haven’t seen in a president for a while.”

Talk to anyone who’s worked with Wintersteen, and eventually they will all say the same thing: She’s an excellent listener.

Her old Extension colleague Bob Dodds says, “She has a very unique ability to listen. She hears what you say, and even when you may not say it well, she understands. Not a lot of people can do that. She hears what you say and can fill in the blanks. She can do that
very, very well.”

Meyer describes her listening ability, saying, “She’s empathetic. I really believe she does listen incredibly carefully to people. It’s not about her. She loves the institution. She wants things to move forward.”

She listens to students, too. Lambert says, “She listens. There is no better leader than one  who listens to the concerns and fears of those they lead. Additionally, she acts on the  concerns and fears she hears to the best of her ability. I saw her in action several times during CALS multicultural student forums. She intently listened to story after story of how her very own CALS students were feeling alone, alienated, and not welcomed on campus, in clubs, and in classrooms. She took these stories to heart, made changes within CALS, and held several other multicultural student forums.”

Strategic listening is one of Wintersteen’s top goals.

“I have to go out and listen,” she said. “I want to hear people’s stories. Hearing people’s stories really helps me learn. And it’s not about a question-and-answer discussion; we do that and we’ll always do that, but I want to sit down and just hear what people want to  share with me. It’s not about responding so much as it is valuing the story and  understanding what their experience has been. So, I think we’ll be doing listening  sessions on campus, and then I’m going to go out and do that in the state as well, because I want to hear what Iowans have to say.”

AT HOME IN THE KNOLL: In January, President Wendy Wintersteen and her husband, Robert Waggoner, visited The Knoll as it was being prepared for their move-in day later in the month. The Knoll has undergone many repairs, expansions, and updates over the years. In the past year, a four-season room was added to the south side of the home, along with new stairs and a wheelchair-accessible ramp to the front door, projects initiated by former President Steven Leath and first lady Janet Leath. Tuck pointing of the exterior walls wrapped up in December, and the roof is due for replacement this spring. The home’s boiler will be replaced in the summer. On Oct. 19, the state Board of Regents gave Iowa State permission to begin work on an evolving list of improvements estimated to cost up to $750,000. Four days later, Wintersteen was named Iowa State’s 16th president and dramatically pared back the project to $150,000. “The suggested list of improvements was extensive. Given the budget situation at Iowa State, it simply wasn’t appropriate,” she said. The Knoll was completed in 1901, with additions made in 1922, 1967, and 2001.

Back in the early days, when Wintersteen was an extension specialist in eastern Iowa, she drove a Volkswagen Beetle – she’s an entomologist, after all. She had been used to the
pancake-flat plains of Kansas, but in Eastern Iowa, near the Mississippi River, the roads are curvy, hilly, and harder to navigate. That took some getting used to. And so, one thing Wintersteen depended upon was a compass that her father had given her as a gift. She carried it with her always.

Brian Meyer told us this story. “I like that as a metaphor,” he said. “She always had this compass of which way to go, literally and figuratively. She was meeting with a lot of  people and had this gift from her father that was guiding her along in her early career. That carries through today: She’s got a strong compass; she’s committed, and she knows where to take the institution.”

There’s a lot of positive energy surrounding this new president, both on campus and among the university’s alumni and friends. Rich Degner (L)(’72 ag & life sciences  education, MS ’77) worked with Wintersteen for many years in his role as CEO of the  Iowa Pork Producers Association.

“President Wintersteen utilizes a servant style of leadership philosophy,” he said. “I have had decades of watching her in action, and she truly cares about the Iowa State University community and the citizens of Iowa. She provides a calming influence when dealing with difficult societal issues. She is an accomplished fundraiser for Iowa State University. She is one of those rare people widely known by her first name. Many people in the agricultural community, certainly in Iowa, and beyond know her simply as ‘Wendy.’”

Students, too, are offering praise for Wintersteen’s leadership. Edan Lambert, the 2017 CALS Student Council president, said, “As the new ISU president, I am looking for her to stay genuine and independent. This goes hand in hand with her leadership style, but she is just a normal gal. She is funny, genuine, and caring but yet a role model and mentor.”

Jeff Johnson (L)(PhD ’14 education), the Lora and Russ Talbot ISU Alumni Association endowed president and CEO, applauded Wintersteen’s approach to alumni relations.

“I’m looking forward to working with Wendy in her new capacity with the university,” he said. “She understands that alumni relations starts during the student days, continues with graduation, and never ends. Wendy has already given Iowa State 38 years of her life. Some incredible relationships have been built over this time. She’s in a new role, but you can bet she’s not a new Wendy. She knows us, and we know her. This is a great time for Iowa State and for alumni.”

“I was delighted about her being named the first woman president of Iowa State, and also so thrilled that the Board of Regents had recognized her leadership,” Woteki said. “She’s a great choice. I think she’s going to be one of the great presidents.”


Meet the Prez

After 38 years at ISU, Wendy Wintersteen is Iowa State’s newest president

Age: 61

• Bachelor’s degree in crop protection, Kansas State University, 1978
• PhD in entomology, Iowa State University, 1988

At Iowa State since 1979, leaving only briefly (1989-90) to serve as acting
National Pesticide Education Program leader for the U.S. Department of
Agriculture’s Extension Service in Washington, D.C.

ISU administrative experience:
• Endowed dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, 2006-2017
(the first endowed dean at Iowa State)
• Director of the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station
• Senior associate dean of CALS, 2002-2005
• Associate director of Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station,
• Director of Extension to Agriculture and National Resources at ISU (1997-2000)
• Coordinator of pesticide management and pesticide applicator training programs
• Extension specialist in the Davenport and Des Moines areas, working with
farmers on integrated pest management

ISU academic experience:
• Professor in the Department of Entomology, 1996
• Assistant professor of entomology, 1988

• Carl F. Hertz Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award from the American
Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, 2016
• Named an Alumni Fellow by her alma mater, Kansas State University, 2007
• Member of the Entomological Society of America and the American Association
of University Women

• First-year salary as president of Iowa State is $525,000
• Contract is for five years, with incremental salary increases and a deferred
compensation package

Family: Husband Robert Waggoner

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.


A (Cyclone) golf life


By Kate Bruns

In 2012, Nick Voke emailed about 50 American collegiate golf coaches to see if anyone might be interested in working with an up-and-coming Kiwi. Voke, who grew up in Auckland, New Zealand with parents who couldn’t tell a hook from a slice, had used the sticks Mum and Dad reluctantly purchased to golf his way into the World Junior Golf Championship and was now facing the potential of turning a childhood hobby into a fruitful career.

Five years later, Voke (’17 kinesiology & health) found himself golfing in New Zealand once again – this time in the Asia-Pacific Amateur Golf Championship, where he rubbed elbows with some of golf’s biggest names while serving as an ambassador for the host country. Voke’s father, who still doesn’t know a draw from a fade, saw his son in his element: as one of the country’s biggest sports stars, surrounded by cameras and crowds, representing New Zealand at press conferences and publicity events.

“He said he was a proud chap,” Voke remembers, “which was quite nice to hear.”

The golden-headed lad Voke’s father remembers schlepping to youth golf meets had transformed into a soon-to-be pro. It happened 7,940 miles away, thanks to a reply to one of those hopeful emails.

Andrew Tank, then in his second year at the helm of the Iowa State men’s golf program, offered Voke a scholarship. Without having ever set foot in Ames, Iowa, Voke accepted – and tucked an extra dose of blind faith in his golf bag.

Today, Ames has become a special place to Voke. It’s not only a place he considers a home away from home, but a place he’d someday like to call a long-term home. It’s a place where he rewrote the Iowa State golf record books, where he earned academic all-Big 12 accolades while studying kinesiology and health, where he overcame a potentially career-ending injury after a freshman-year longboarding accident, and where he found the coaches — Tank and assistant coach Chad Keohane — he says will be his mentors for life.

“What’s allowed me to succeed has just been having coaches who were so honest and open and willing to do things to help you succeed,” Voke says. “If you combine the facility we have here and the coaches, I haven’t seen a better combination in America. It truly is a phenomenal place to develop.”

Voke’s impact on the Iowa State golf program was immediate, as he broke ISU’s rookie scoring mark and notched four top-10 finishes as a freshman. And once he recovered from his accident, things only got better for Voke on the course. He left Ames as an honorable-mention Ping All-American and ISU’s all-time career stroke average leader (71.89). As a senior, he led the Cyclones to a national championship berth by shooting a jaw-dropping, school-record 61 as the NCAA Austin Regional individual medalist.

“That was the second time we made it to nationals in four years, and what a great group of guys to share that with,” remembers Voke, who seems more gratified by the team achievement than by the individual performance that turned heads across the country. “That was probably the pinnacle of my time [at Iowa State].”

As Voke prepares to move from a collegiate amateur to a touring professional, he reflects with great admiration on the unique team aspect of the college game. “College golf is very cool. You take all your own individual ambitions and funnel them toward a collective purpose,” Voke says. “If we’re all collectively doing our thing to better the program, then that’s the ultimate thing. My favorite Greek proverb reminds us that society grows great when wise men plants trees whose shade they’ll never see. If in 10 or 20 years’ time we can understand that we were an influential part of helping the program rise, then that’s our great responsibility.”

Voke sees the Iowa State golf pro-gram as well-positioned to become one of the nation’s best, not just because of the proverbial trees he and his teammates planted but because of the leadership of the program and the quality of university it represents.

“[Iowa State] is a place where, if you put your head down, do the best you can, you can have a happy day. The community packs Jack Trice, it packs Hilton, it support all sports. They genuinely love this place – they support the athletic pursuit to be the best, the academic drive, and the desire to improve not just individual students but also to improve society. The culture is special.”

img_7998Voke finished in a tie for 10th Oct. 29 at the Asia-Pacific Amateur, an event he would go on to say was officially his last as an amateur golfer. In November, he finished just out of qualifying at the Tour Q School second round at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas, so he now plans to make his professional debut on the Austalasian Golf Tour in 2018.

“It’s a good place to learn the trade and almost like an apprenticeship to become a tour professional,” Voke says of the Australasian. “There aren’t a lot of big purses, but it’s certainly a good stepping stone.”

Voke says there are many paths he can follow to achieving his ultimate dream of playing on the PGA Tour, leading with his long-consistent reputation for strong ball-striking and iron play.

“The best way to describe my game right now is that it’s pretty solid,” Voke says. “I know that if I putt and drive well, I’ll shoot well. I’ve had a big emphasis on those two components lately.”

And along the way, no matter where he is, Voke knows he can rely on the support of the Iowa State community – even in the middle of rural Japan, where an opponent’s caddy recently remarked on the Cyclone emblem emblazoned on his golf bag.

“Wherever I go to compete, I hear ‘Go, Cyclones’ from the crowd,” Voke says. “It gets me pretty pumped up and excited. If you’re proud to be a Cyclone, they’re always happy to cheer for you.”

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.

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.


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.


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.”


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


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


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


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:


…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.


…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.


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.


…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.


…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.


…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.


…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.


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.


…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.


…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!