A letter from the travel director: Travel Changes You!

From the February/March 2017 issue of Cy’s Suitcase, the official publication of the Traveling Cyclones

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I recently saw a story on Facebook about an older woman who denied treatment for her cancer so she could spend the rest of her time traveling. She died a year later after visiting 34 states with her son and her dog. The story ended with this quote: “You cannot control the wind, but you can direct the sail.”

I really like that. At a crucial point in her life, she chose to experience new things in new places, with the little time she had left. For anyone who has traveled, you know how it changes you. I know it has changed me! I have a couple of those life-changing experiences that have stuck with me over the years and have helped mold me into who I am.

In 2005, I hosted a trip on the Danube River before I was the Alumni Association’s travel director. I was hesitant about going since I was a single mom and leaving my four kids was not easy. Little did I know that this trip would be significant in helping me gain my independence. One of the stops on the trip was Prague, which remains one of my favorite places I have visited. I was on my own one day and found this amazing church hidden in a quaint courtyard. I am still not sure how I found that place. I attended service and it was beautiful. The church was so plain and although they spoke a different language, I didn’t have to understand the words. I felt the faith. After leaving the church, I found a restaurant and had lunch on a patio at this cute restaurant and remember thinking how far I had come: this small town Iowa girl in a foreign city, exploring on her own. On the last night of that trip, I was sitting on the top deck of the river boat in Budapest. There I was in the dark, watching all the lights of the boats cruising by and taking in the lights of the city, thinking how I didn’t want to leave my kids and now I don’t want to go home! This trip had changed me, and I knew I would never be the same.

A more recent experience was on a trip to Egypt. We were fortunate to stay in a hotel that

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The “best bathroom ever,” basically

was one of the most amazing places I have ever been. As a colleague and I each entered our rooms, we both let out a squeal at the sight of what we saw when we opened our doors. It was a former palace and the rooms were exquisite. On top of that, the bathrooms were made of marble and tile and fit for a queen. As I soaked in the tub that night, the curtains were blowing in the breeze off the Nile. I remember thinking I couldn’t believe I was in Egypt. We had seen the pyramids and the Sphinx and now I was staying in a hotel off of the Nile River! How did this happen? I will never forget that moment and how that warm breeze felt. I then promised myself I would never take one minute of traveling for granted. I am truly blessed.

THAT is what traveling can do. It changes you. It changes your perspective and you are never the same because of it.

As I plan my trips for 2018, my hope is that each of my passengers will have one of these experiences with the Traveling Cyclones.

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The Hall-of-Famer

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A college football player rushing for 2,000 yards in a Division I season has only happened 26 times in history – and two of those were the work of one man: Iowa State’s Troy Davis. In 1995 and 1996, Davis raced into the record books and kicked off an era of Iowa State football in a way no other player could.

“We were coming off an 0-10-1 season and needed somebody to get us on the map and represent the standard our new coach, Dan McCarney, was espousing,” remembers former Cyclone offensive tackle Tim Kohn (1993-1996). “Troy was a talent that was an order of magnitude above everyone else on that team. Even though [1995 and 1996] were losing seasons, what he did in reversing our momentum is an accomplishment you can’t find on the stat sheet.”

Kohn (’96 pol sci & intl. studies) says he wouldn’t have blamed Davis if he’d left Ames after a winless freshman season in which he carried the ball only 34 times for Coach Jim Walden. But if there was one person who could light a fire under the diminutive phenom, it was McCarney. The young, energetic coach was full of belief – not just in Iowa State, but particularly in Davis. McCarney knew he could make the elusive, 5-foot, 7-inch Miami native the centerpiece of his program.

“Coach Dan McCarney didn’t recruit me, but he re-recruited me,” Davis says. “He told me he could help me transfer, but he also promised we were gonna run the ball here. He looked me in the eye and shook my hand.”

Davis took a chance on the future, surmising that McCarney’s commitment could translate into as many as 20 carries a game for him going forward. As a sophomore, Davis would carry the ball 345 times for 2,010 yards and finish fifth for the Heisman Trophy. As a junior, he rushed 402 times for 2,185 yards. In ISU’s 1996 home opener against Northern Iowa, Davis carried the ball an astounding 53 times.

Davis, who averaged nearly six yards per carry in his college career, succeeded because, Kohn says, he was almost mystifyingly durable, mentally tough, and innately able to see holes on the field.

“He was an incredibly complete player,” Kohn says. “He knew his body and knew what he was capable of and absolutely maximized it. He took Coach Mac at his word, and my goodness Troy held up his end. He always had the self belief and the awareness that he could do all the things he ended up doing – and I know a lot of us are better because of it.”

Davis still remembers his years at Iowa State – particularly 1995 and 1996 – as the best of his life. He held up his end of the bargain, put in the work, and showed off his talents. His belief in McCarney paid off and he became the football star he always knew he could be. So when, in 1996, Davis was denied the prize at his second-straight Heisman Trophy ceremony after accomplishing something no one in college football had ever done – rushing more than 2,000 yards in back-to-back campaigns – he felt helpless and hurt.

“I still remember Coach McCarney after the ceremony saying, ‘Troy, are you coming back for your senior year?’ I was like, ‘There’s nothing else for me to prove, Coach.’”

So Davis took his talents to the NFL, but he landed with Mike Ditka’s New Orleans Saints in a situation where he struggled to showcase his talents on a bad team. He spent three years with the Saints before heading north to Canada, where he became a Hall-of-Famer during seven seasons with three different CFL squads.

“I hear people say, ‘Troy, you left too early’ or ‘Troy, you did a good thing leaving,’” Davis says. “I can’t have any regrets. I feel like I made the best choice but ended up in the wrong situation.”

Years went by, and memories of Davis’ unprecedented accomplishments faded from the national conversation. Davis settled into a quiet existence surrounded by family back in Miami, returning to Ames just once in 2007 for his induction into the Iowa State
Athletics Hall of Fame. Number 28 jerseys remained popular at Jack Trice Stadium, however, and the lore of Troy Davis endured. “Only Iowa State,” self-deprecating fans would moan, “could produce a 2,000-yard rusher in back-to-back seasons and NOT get the Heisman Trophy.”

ISU officials never stopped toiling to right the Heisman wrongs and get Davis the recognition he deserved, even as decades passed and football coaches came and went. And then, in 2015, they learned their efforts had finally paid off: The 2016 College Football Hall of Fame class would include Troy Davis.

Davis couldn’t believe the news himself: “My first response was, ‘Oh, okay, when does the ballot come out?’ But I wasn’t just on the ballot, I was in. I just dropped the phone and looked up [in disbelief]. Every kid, that’s in their goals and dreams to be a Hall-of-Famer – and I’m there.”

Davis was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in New York City in December, the culmination of a year’s worth of celebration and reminiscence. A visit back to Jack Trice Stadium this fall wasn’t without “chillbumps” or tears for Davis as his beloved coach, Dan McCarney, was introduced on the football field as a member of the 2016 ISU Athletics Hall of Fame class one weekend and Davis was presented with his College Football Hall of Fame plaque the next.

Davis has been able to use the year to reflect on his unique story – on the people who helped him achieve his dream and the decisions he made along the way that shaped not just his life, but the Iowa State football program.

“I just think about how I was ready [in 1994] to pack it all up and go back home,” Davis says. “If it wasn’t for Dan McCarney, there wouldn’t be a story and there wouldn’t be a Hall-of-Famer. I’m glad he invited me to play in his system. There will never be another Troy Davis.”

 

 


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: A snapshot

Another year, another record-breaking student enrollment. And now, a historic fundraising campaign, changes all across campus, and a new strategic plan.Welcome to Iowa State University in 2017.

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Where we are; where we’re headed
Maintaining quality amid growth. That’s one of President Steven Leath’s top goals for this academic year.

It’s a tall order, given the fact that student enrollment has grown 44 percent in the past decade (to last fall’s high-water mark of 36,660) but state funding has continued to decline.

In 2008, Iowa State received about $12,700 in state funding per resident student. At that time, nearly 50 percent of the university’s operating revenue came from the state; the other 50 percent came from tuition and fees. Today, ISU receives about $9,400 from the state per resident student, shifting the budget revenue ratio to approximately 30 percent from the state and 70 percent from tuition and fees.

Meanwhile, the Regents have held the line on resident undergraduate tuition, freezing or making only minimal increases over the last five years.

“We’ve been unable to make meaningful improvements in our national ranking and our student-to-faculty ratio because of the tremendous growth we’ve seen,” despite hiring more than 400 new faculty over the past five years, Leath said during his annual address last fall.

But progress is being shown in a number of areas:

  • Iowa State continues to offer the lowest tuition and fees of its peer institutions, and student debt has declined 8.5 percent, due in part to Leath’s Moving Students Forward campaign to raise $150 million in private gifts for student financial aid over five years. That campaign has now raised nearly $190 million, and so far more than 23,000 students have received support from the fund.
  • A number of facilities to enhance academics and student life have opened in the past few years, and more are in the works, including two biosciences facilities, improved classroom spaces, new residence halls and apartment communities, and a cutting-edge student innovation facility.
  • Iowa State is becoming a more inclusive community. With the hiring of Reginald Stewart as the university’s first vice president for diversity and inclusion, Leath says he believes Iowa State can become a model of diversity. Last fall the university hired project directors for diversity and inclusion in LGBTQA+ Affairs and in Hispanic/Latinx Affairs and will soon create a new position to oversee sexual misconduct prevention.
  • The ISU Research Park continues to expand, and the new Economic Development Core Facility that opened last summer will greatly enhance the positive impact the university will have on the state’s economy.
  • A new strategic plan was rolled out last summer, with four key objectives to take Iowa State well into the next decade.
  • An administrative team that features familiar faces, as well as key leaders new to campus, has been put in place.
  • The ISU Foundation announced in September the launch of Forever True, For
    Iowa State, a landmark initiative to raise $1.1 billion for the university, the largest goal ever for an Iowa State comprehensive campaign.

Forever True: Iowa State launches historic $1.1 billion campaign
On Sept. 30, Iowa State University announced the launch of the Forever True, For Iowa State campaign, a historic initiative to raise $1.1 billion for the university by June 30, 2020. The goal is the largest ever for an Iowa State comprehensive campaign.

forevertruelogo1With a name inspired by the Iowa State Fight Song, the campaign will rally support for scholarships, faculty support, facilities, and programs. It will help ensure access to an exceptional education, advance Iowa State expertise in key areas that address global challenges, and enhance the university’s impact on the economy and quality of life in Iowa and around the world.

“I invite everyone whose lives have been touched by Iowa State to consider what it means to be Forever True to this university,” said Jon Fleming (L)(’75 meteorology). “With the help of our extended Iowa State family, I know we can make this the most transformative campaign in Cyclone history.” Fleming serves as campaign chair and is a former Alumni Association Board of Directors chair.

Larissa Holtmyer Jones (L)(’91 marketing, MBA ’03), president and CEO of the ISU Foundation, announced that since the campaign began its quiet phase in 2012 more than $551 million has already been raised. “This goal stretches us,” she said, “but there is so much to be gained in meeting it for our students’ and for our children’s futures.”

For more information, visit forevertrueisu.com. To learn about the Iowa State University Alumni Association funding priorities within this historic campaign, visit the ISU Alumni Association’s website.


By the numbers
Iowa State’s fall 2016 enrollment…and other fun facts

  • 36,660: Iowa State’s total student enrollment for fall 2016
  • 44: The percentage of student population growth in the past decade
  • 20,713: The number of Iowans attending Iowa State
  • 23.9: The percentage of U.S. multicultural and international students enrolled
  • 64: The percentage of Iowa State classes that have 29 or fewer students
  • 2 million+: The number of visitors to the Iowa State Library last year
  • 65: The number of new student organizations added last year, for a total of 850+ organizations on campus
  • 5: The number of wireless devices, on average, that students bring with them to campus. Iowa State has installed 9,300 wireless access points to accommodate all that digital traffic.

The class of 2020
A look at Iowa State’s fall 2016 entering freshmen

  • Total freshman class: 6,325
  • Total Iowans: 3,380
  • U.S. multicultural enrollment: 946 (15% of new freshmen)

Who’s counting?
10 years of enrollment growth
2006: 25,462
2007: 26,160
2008: 26,856
2009: 27,945
2010: 28,682
2011: 29,887
2012: 31,040
2013: 33,241
2014: 34,732
2015: 36,001
2016: 36,660

 

 


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.

President Leath’s Letter to the ISU Community

December 13, 2016

Dear Iowa State Community:

For nearly three months, there has been significant media coverage about ISU Flight Service and specifically my use of university aircraft. I understand why there have been many questions and concerns. I take very seriously my role and responsibility to adhere to university and Board of Regents policy and to be open and transparent. That is why I welcomed the Board’s decision to conduct a comprehensive internal audit, and I offered my full cooperation.

The Board of Regents Internal Audit report concluded there were no violations of university or Board policy, but there are clearly things I could have done differently and I am sorry for that. I take full responsibility for the issues raised. To avoid any perception of impropriety, I have paid for the following: the use of the Cirrus for training to obtain my instrument flight rating, which was required by the university insurance policy; the amount attributed to my brother and his partner on the flight to and from Elmira, NY; and two trips to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN for medical procedures, which required use of the plane so I could make it back to Ames in time for university obligations.

We recognize there are policies and practices that need improvement, and the audit has provided valuable recommendations. Our plan to move forward includes:

  • I will no longer fly the Cirrus or any state-owned aircraft. Because of this decision and the fact that our head pilot is retiring soon, we plan to sell the Cirrus.
  • We are implementing new guidelines for all users of university aircraft and requiring the purpose of all trips be clearly documented.
  • The ISU Flight Service’s operations manual is being overhauled to contain specific instructions for accurate, detailed record-keeping and billing.
  • Flight Service rates are being examined as part of our budget planning process.
  • And we are conducting a comprehensive review of ISU Flight Service to determine the cost-benefit of retaining this unit.

One of things I enjoy most about my job is meeting people and developing relationships to benefit Iowa State. For the past five years, we have been in the quiet phase of our largest-ever capital fundraising campaign, Forever True, For Iowa State, with a goal of $1.1 billion. As a result, I have been traveling a lot. I saw the university planes as useful, convenient tools that allowed me to meet with donors and cultivate new support across the state and the country in an efficient manner.

I recognize now that I used the university planes more frequently than was absolutely necessary, and I should have been more transparent about my use. I will change this practice, and I will do better to ensure that any time the university planes are used it is in the very best interest of Iowa State.

I truly love my job and I am honored to be president of this great university. Iowa State has the potential for unprecedented impact in the years to come. I am fully committed to moving our university forward, to focusing on the objectives of our strategic plan and successfully pursuing our historic fundraising campaign.

I appreciate your support. And I look forward to working with you.

Sincerely,

Steven Leath
President

Lovebirds

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Surrounding Keith and Kathie Ervin (center) are family members Susan Judkins-Josten, Bob Josten, Whitney Judkins, Eric Elben, Bill Ervin, Daniel Ervin, Roxanne Ervin, Alexandra Thompson, Kirstin Robinson, Sean Gassen, and Carol Gassen.

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When Keith and Kathie Ervin celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this fall, their family wanted to do something special for them, so they arranged a visit to the Iowa State campanile and a special carillon concert on central campus.

Keith (’56 industrial administration) and Kathie (’56 home economics) met on a blind date in the Memorial Union back when they were students at Iowa State. They were married in Philadelphia on Sept. 1, 1956, and they’ve lived in Vinton, Iowa, for 58 years, where they own and manage Ervin Motor Co. The couple has three grown children: Susan, Carol, and William.

Kathie couldn’t remember specifically if she and Keith had campaniled when they were students.

img_4626“I’m sure we did,” she said, smiling.

Just as we were assembling the family for a group photo, we noticed a young couple happily campaniling. Turns out Nick Schramm (’12 computer engineering) just asked his girlfriend, Kristen Muehlenthaler (’12 computer engineering), to marry him.

Love is definitely in the air.

 

Five Things

Happy Cyber Monday, Cyclone Nation! Here are five things to put on your Cardinal & Gold radar this week:

2016_11_25scarfnew1) We’d be remiss if we didn’t start with our Cyber Monday offer: $10 off a purchase of $50 or more from the ISU Alumni Collection online. Simply enter code CYMON10 at checkout to get the discount — and remember, ISU Alumni Association members already receive individual discounts on each item in the store. Some of our most popular holiday deals: Our Zoozats Infinity women’s scarves are currently on sale for $10/each, and we’re liquidating our inventory of the discontinued Cat’s Meow collectibles, which you can also now score for only $5/each.

2) This Thursday the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics is bringing its fall 2016 Mary Louise W32Z-208.jpgSmith Chair to campus as Lynn Povich, the first female senior editor at Newsweek magazine and former editor-in-chief of Working Woman magazine, will present “The Good Girls Revolt: Women, Work and Politics” at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 1, in the Memorial Union Great Hall.

The Smith Chair was established in 1995 to honor Iowa native Mary Louise Smith – the first and only woman to chair the Republican National Committee. The purpose of the chair is to bring nationally known political leaders, scholars, and activists to Iowa State to enrich the experiences of students and educate citizens about the role of women in the political process. Povich is the 29th woman leader to visit Iowa State through the sponsorship of the Smith chair. Past chairs have included such prominent figures as Hillary Clinton, Christine Todd Whitman, Carol Moseley Braun, Mara Liasson, Carly Fiorina, Elizabeth Dole, and the late Gwen Ifill, to name just a few.

3) After Iowa State students staged a walkout Nov. 16 over concerns about the status of undocumented students under the next U.S. presidential administration, Iowa State University issued a pre-Thanksgiving statement on the matter.

“Iowa State University Police do not gather information about the citizenship or immigration status of the people who have interactions with police officers and have no jurisdiction or role in enforcing United States immigration laws,” the statement read, in part. “The university has no plans to change this practice.” Read the full statement here.

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4) Yesterday was Selection Sunday — no, not for basketball but for women’s volleyball. The the 11th-straight year, Iowa State has been selected to participate in the NCAA championship under head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch. The Cyclones will take on Purdue Thursday in Columbia, Mo. The first-round first serve is set for 4:30 p.m. at the Hearnes Center; if the Cyclones advance, they will play the winner of No. 15 Missouri/Northern Illinois in a second-round contest on Friday night. Stay tuned to Cyclones.com for ticket and live-streaming info.

1-1197052336ycrm5) The ISU Horticulture Club’s poinsettia sale starts Wednesday and continues through Dec. 3. If you’re local, consider giving our students your business as you prepare to trim your home.

Get all the details about the sale here.

Five Things

Here are five things to put on your Cardinal & Gold radar this week:

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1) This weekend in Lubbock, Texas, the Iowa State women’s cross country team won its fifth Big 12 Conference title in six years, thanks to a team effort that helped the Cyclones 27 points ahead of second-place Oklahoma State. The Cyclones were led by a fourth-place finish from sophomore Anne Frisbie — though Iowa State had three individuals who finished in the top 10.

The Cyclone men also had a strong showing at the conference meet, finishing second. Iowa State was led by redshirt freshman Thomas Pollard, who placed fourth in 25:39.8 in his postseason debut. Pollard’s fourth-place performance is Iowa State’s best individual finish at the Big 12 Championship since Philemon Too also took fourth in 1998.

2) Iowa State is playing two home football games in a five-day period, with a nationally televised showdown against Oklahoma set to kick off at 6:30 p.m. this Thursday. Lost in the shuffle, perhaps, of Homecoming excitement and preparation for back-to-back home games was Friday’s announcement by the Big 12 Conference office that it will be bringing back its league football championship game in 2017. The conference, which has consistently drawn criticism over the last several years for NOT having a football championship game is, perhaps not surprisingly, being criticized for the decision to implement one. With 10 teams and what is apparently a final decision not to expand, the championship game will pit the league’s two top teams against one another for the conference crown — regardless of geography or any other factors.

14915629_10210888188945584_7231264710821288765_ncv8b9wzwiaalitg3) Do you like to speak in emoji? Thanks to the Iowa State Daily and Fareway Stores, you can now download a new, free Cymoji sticker app for your phone. The app features football-related emojis, ISU alumni emojis, Iowa State traditions emojis, and more — and an expansion pack will be released soon for hoops season, too. Give it a try by searching “Cymoji” in the app store or by texting “Cyclones” to 31996.

4) Twin Cities Cyclones: The deadline to register for the Nov. 9 “Celebrate State” event at Surly Brewing Co. in Minneapolis is coming up this Wednesday. Be sure to register this week and make plans to be there for all the Cardinal & Gold camaraderie.

5) Happy Halloween! Check out “Ghost Stories of Iowa State” on campus tonight!