Catching the entrepreneurship bug at Iowa State

entrepreneurship

By Betsy S. Hickok

For a young man who grew up dairy farming, Geert Boelen has found a novel way to diversify his future farm business.

Boelen may have come a long way from his childhood home, but farming has been a  constant. Eight years ago, he and his family relocated from a dairy farm in the Netherlands to one in Brooklyn, Iowa. With his agricultural focus, he decided Iowa State was the perfect place to pursue a higher education.

Besides his major in agricultural business, Boelen is taking advantage of the university’s  unique minor in entrepreneurship – and participating in Iowa State’s Agriculture  Entrepreneurship Initiative, created in 2005 to inspire students to think outside the box as they envision careers in agriculture. At the initiative’s core is the student incubator
program, which provides resources and mentoring for around 15 students each semester as they develop business plans and concept pitches.

As a participant, Boelen alighted on the tasty idea of cricket-farming after hearing a  podcast titled “Are edible insects the future of food?” He is now in the research and  development stage of a business cleverly called “One Hop Shop,” which raises crickets for human consumption. He and his co-founder, Darian Davis, have a business goal to provide restaurants in Ames and beyond with specialty-flavored whole crickets, and ultimately to become the most efficient and sustainable cricket farming operation in the  United States.

Boelen’s idea is one of many incubating in the multi-pronged Agriculture Entrepreneurship Initiative, in which students network with entrepreneurs; pursue coursework, workshops and internships related to entrepreneurship; and work toward  graduating with viable business plans. The program is focused as much on generating  new ideas as on teaching entrepreneurial thinking, whether graduates seek to initiate  startups or simply bring a fresh perspective to existing businesses. Boelen said, “I have been very fortunate to participate in the Student Incubator program. Being in the same room with like-minded people and getting immediate feedback on new ideas helps me tremendously.”

The potential for the Agriculture Entrepreneurship Initiative to diversify and grow Iowa’s economy is not lost on organizations such as the Iowa Farm Bureau, which is the largest source of private support for the program. Since many of the students are  preparing to return to family farms and agribusinesses, the initiative can help re-energize rural Iowa – and the state’s economy – by infusing farming operations and agribusinesses with entrepreneurial energy, knowledge, and leadership.

For the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the Agriculture Entrepreneurship  Initiative is among its key priorities for the Forever True, For Iowa State campaign, reflecting an entrepreneurial energy that is widespread across campus. For example, the
Ivy College of Business not only offers its minor, but the college has also established
the first entrepreneurship major in the state and the eighth entrepreneurship doctoral degree in the nation. Initiatives such as the CYstarters Summer Accelerator in the Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship and CyBIZ in the Ivy College of Business are also winning the university a national reputation for educating future innovators.

Such programs are preparing a whole new generation of professionals ready to hit the ground running – or at least hopping, in the case of Boelen. “The mentors I have through this program have helped me immensely during the semester,” he said. “They’ve  supported me and questioned me to better myself as an entrepreneur and as a person.”


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.

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‘A True Passion for Iowa State’

JulieBy Carole Gieseke

Julie Larson has tiny feet, but she has very big shoes to fill.

After working for the ISU Alumni Association for 34 years, Larson (L)(MS ’84 higher ed) is retiring in July 2018.

No more Big 12 spirit rallies. No more 50-year class reunions. No more board meetings,  Senior Week, fundraising visits, Honors & Awards ceremonies, or Cyclone Centrals. No more early-morning-workoutsand-grabbing-a-Starbucks before 8 a.m. management team meetings. It’s time for a well-deserved break.

With 34 years of service to the Alumni Association – plus additional years on campus with the YMCA and Financial Aid Office – it would be easy to focus on Larson’s longevity, but her lasting legacy is much more about quality than quantity.

She started out as an adviser to the Student Alumni Association (now Student Alumni  Leadership Council) on March 22, 1984.

“Truly, working with students is why I came to the Alumni Association,” she says. “That was a true joy.”

Under Larson’s leadership, the SAA program quickly became a standout among student alumni programs nationally. And it was during those years that she left an imprint on students’ lives – and created lifelong relationships.

Cyndi (Murray) Bonus (L)(’85 consumer food science, MEd ’92) first met Larson when she interviewed for a position on Senior Class Council. Larson was a new staff member at that time, but she impressed Bonus with her ability to work with each individual student’s personality and work style.

When Bonus decided to return to Iowa State to earn a master’s in education, Larson served as her mentor – and, coming full circle, Bonus became Larson’s graduate assistant.

“Working side by side with her and gleaning all I could about working with the students was priceless to me,” Bonus says. “Iwatched her maintain close and personal contact with countless alumni.

“Julie embodies true passion for Iowa State University.”

Later, Bonus served on the Alumni Association’s Board of Directors, and her husband, Ken Bonus, is a current Board member.

Larson’s job title has changed many times over her 34 years with the organization. As director of student and career programs, she served as adviser to ISU’s Parents’ Board, worked closely with the Family of the Year program, helped create the Cyclone Alley student section for ISU basketball games, and implemented a strong alumni career resources program. As director of outreach and events, she oversaw all on- and off-campus events for the ISU Alumni Association, including alumni clubs, Young Alumni Council, reunions, special interest societies, Des Moines outreach, career resources, gala and golf fundraising events, spirit rallies and other athletics-related events, the OLLI program, and ISU retirees. She coordinated the Honors & Awards program, oversaw Alumni Days, planned receptions for Iowa community presidential visits, coordinated the Alumni Relations Council, and supervised six staff members. When the Association moved into the Alumni Center 10 years ago, Larson helped create and implement policies for the new facility.

Scott Stanzel (L)(’95 journalism & mass comm) met Julie in 1992 as a student ambassador, and as a senior he served as chair of the newly created Student Foundation Committee of SAA.

“Julie had the unique ability to simultaneously provide sound guidance and insights to  students while also giving them plenty of room to make their own decisions about the
mission of their SAA committees and activities,” he said. “That meant a great deal to student leaders, as it provided a true opportunity to grow and learn.”

Stanzel’s family became ISU Family of the Year in 1994, and he later served on the Alumni Association’s Board of Directors, ultimately serving as chair of the Board.

In her most recent position as chief of staff and director of development, Larson has had the opportunity to reconnect with former students, Board members, and other alumni as she raised endowment funds for the Association. By the time she retires on July 5, she will have helped raise about $2 million.

“It’s rewarding to think that I’ve contributed in a small way to help sustain the Alumni Association for the future,” she says.

Jeff Johnson (L)(PhD ’14), Lora and Russ Talbot Endowed President & CEO of the Association, has worked with Larson for 18 years.

“She’s like a mini-alumni association,” Johnson says. “She’s an institution. She’s had an amazing journey, from student affairs to alumni relations professional to fundraiser.  Everyone she meets, she makes them feel so special, and Iowa State continues to benefit from that.”

Larson, whose husband, John, recently retired from a position with ISU Facilities Planning and Management, says she’ll miss working with the Alumni Association staff  and alumni, but she’s looking forward to the opportunity to travel and spend more time with her grandchildren.

“This was a dream job,” she says. “I truly can’t imagine doing anything else than what I’ve done. I’ve loved my job for 34 years. How many people can truly say that?”


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 season to believe

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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.”


THE MATT CAMPBELL FILE

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.”


THE J.D. WAGGONER FILE

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.”


THE MARCHIE MURDOCK FILE

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.”


SIDEBAR: ‘I HAD TO GET HIM ON THE FIELD’

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.”


SIDEBAR: MEET THE GOAT

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.


SIDEBAR: ‘HE DOESN’T SAY IT; HE DOES IT’

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.”


SIDEBAR: BACK FOR MORE

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

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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.”

…VEISHEA
“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.


waggoner

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

spring2018-wintersteen2

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.

A KANSAS SUNFLOWER
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.”

‘I JUST LOVE THIS WOMAN’
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.”

HOME-FIELD ADVANTAGE
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.”

LISTENER-IN-CHIEF
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.”


spring2018-wintersteenwaggoner
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.

A STRONG INTERNAL COMPASS
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.”


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Meet the Prez

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

Age: 61

Education:
• 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,
2002-2005
• 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

Honors/awards:
• 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

Salary:
• 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

Voke_Nick17NCAA_14

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 Web.com 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

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

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

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.”