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Distinguished Alumni

Distinguished Alumni Awards

Distinguished Alumni Awards

2006 DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI AWARD RECIPIENTS

ACHIEVEMENT:

   

Thomas Anderson

Thomas J. Anderson, 58PhD

Considered one of the leading composers of his generation, Thomas Anderson has in publication more than 80 works, including operas, symphonies and other orchestral works, band music, choral pieces, and chamber music. His compositions, which have been described as demonstrating “the capacity of a single soul to encompass the world,” reflect a global awareness, merging classical Eastern and Western traditions with the modern African-American experience. Emeritus professor of music at Tufts University and the recipient of many awards and commissions, in 2005, Anderson was the only composer elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
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Marvin Bell

Marvin Bell, 63MFA

Iowa’s first poet laureate, Marvin Bell is one of the important literary figures of our time and a key contributor to the widespread fame of the UI’s creative writing program. Retiring this past spring after 40 years of workshop instruction, he’s received numerous awards of national and international stature for his volumes of poetry. But perhaps most notable of all is his generosity of spirit. Because of his tireless work with the nationwide after-school program America SCORES, Bell’s inspired teachers from across the U.S. to expose underserved, inner-city students to the joy of poetic verse.
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Shanto Iyengar

Shanto Iyengar, 71MA, 72PhD

Arguably the world’s leading scholar on the relationship between the media and politics, Shanto Iyengar holds the Chandler Chair in Communication at Stanford University. A pioneer in the field of political communication, his research on the effects of negative campaign advertisements has made an unprecedented impact on American politics. The author of six books and countless academic articles, Iyengar won at a relatively young age what his field colleagues can spend their entire careers trying to achieve—the American Political Science Association’s Murray Edelman Lifetime Career Award.
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Ruth McGregor

Ruth Van Roekel McGregor, 64BA, 65MA

In 1981, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor asked Ruth Van Roekel McGregor to interrupt her successful private law practice in Phoenix and to serve as her law clerk. Since then, McGregor’s star has risen even higher in the legal profession. Following a series of high-ranking judicial appointments, she was named Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Arizona in June 2005. Also honored by the American Judicature Society with the Dwight D. Opperman Award, which is presented annually to recognize a career of distinguished judicial service, McGregor is renowned for her calm, practical, and fair approach to issues.
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David Milch

David S. Milch, 70MFA

Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue rank among the most groundbreaking television programs of the past two decades—and they owe their success and originality to the genius of David Milch. With thought-provoking scripts and characters who embody the complicated grit of life, Milch uses his medium to bravely investigate the human condition. Never afraid to shock or offend, he has stayed true to his art and earned the respect and admiration of the entertainment industry. His award case holds the most prestigious writing accolades, including several Emmys.
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Ronald Ross

Ronald K. Ross, 75MS, 75MD

An outstanding cancer epidemiologist, Ronald Ross focuses on the interaction between the environment and the genetics in the etiology of cancer. Chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Southern California—the nation’s highest-ranking preventive medicine department in terms of National Institutes of Health funding—and deputy director of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ross is highly regarded not only as a scientist but as an administrator, leader, and role model. With more than 300 scientific papers to his name, this internationally recognized researcher has made several seminal contributions to the fight against cancer.
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Jerome Sherman

Jerome K. Sherman, 54PhD

Widely recognized as the father of cryobiology, Dr. Jerry Sherman became a pioneer in developing a method for the preservation of sperm when working on his Ph.D. thesis at Iowa. Although his work attracted some controversy, it has served as a model for tissue preservation activities involved in everything from organ and bone marrow transplantation to vaccine/viral preparation. An outstanding teacher and mentor in the College of Medicine at the University of Arkansas, Dr. Sherman is also a willing volunteer who has devoted countless hours in his service to veterans, the Boy Scouts, and other worthwhile groups.
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Luther Smith

Luther H. Smith, 50BSME

Luther Smith is a retired U.S. Air Force captain who flew 133 combat missions in World War II as an original member of the famed Tuskegee Airmen. The Des Moines native destroyed two German enemy aircraft in aerial combat and ten German aircraft in ground strafing missions, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, the Prisoner of War Medal, and several other honors. After graduating from Iowa, Smith enjoyed a successful career with General Electric’s Missile and Space Operations in Philadelphia, acquiring two patents and publishing many technical documents reflecting special assignments with the U.S. military.
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SERVICE:

   

Greg Ganske

Greg Ganske, 72BA, 76MD

Setting aside his career as a reconstructive surgeon, Greg Ganske crusaded for Iowans during four terms as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. In Congress, he played a critical role in advancing patients’ rights and other aspects of healthcare reform, co-sponsored biodiesel and safe drinking water legislation, and spearheaded an effort to replace the gasoline additive MTBE with renewable ethanol. Throughout his time as a lawmaker, Ganske tackled our most pressing issues—from the costs of higher education to the threat of bioterrorism—with unmistakable sincerity and dedication.
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Gary Streit

Gary J. Streit, 75JD

Recognized as one of the best taxation and employee benefits lawyers in America, Gary Streit also inspires others with his service outside his profession. For three decades, Streit has dedicated his time and energy to numerous nonprofit organizations, perhaps most significantly in helping the American Cancer Society (ACS) prevent cancer, save lives, and diminish suffering. He has served on dozens of ACS committees, and in 2003 he was elected chairman of the organization’s national board of directors. A tireless volunteer and leader, Streit exemplifies the University of Iowa’s ethos of service.
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FACULTY:

   

Jude West

Jude P. West, 69PhD

Professor emeritus of the Tippie College of Business, Jude West is known as a superb teacher knowledgeable in all areas of organizational operations. For more than 40 years, he has quietly assisted dozens of troubled university departments and units with mediation, counseling, crisis intervention, and negotiation. He has spoken to hundreds of groups, from service clubs to businesses, about team building, conflict management, and organizational change. Recipient of the UI’s Hancher-Finkbine Medallion for Learning, Leadership and Loyalty and the Iowa City Human Rights Award, West has also dedicated countless hours and dollars in support of the mentally handicapped.
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FRIEND:

   

Ann and Russell Gerdin

Russell A. Gerdin and Ann S. Gerdin

University of Iowa student-athletes owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Russell and Ann Gerdin. The couple’s gift of $4 million helped create the state-of-the-art Gerdin Athletic Learning Center that enables the university to fully integrate the athletic and academic development of Hawkeye student-athletes. Although perhaps the most visible sign of the couple’s support for the UI, the learning center is but one of many examples of their generosity. Staunch believers in the power of education to transform society for the better, the Gerdins are renowned throughout Iowa for their philanthropy. 
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HICKERSON:

   

Thomas Gelman

Thomas H. Gelman, 78JD

Iowa City attorney Tom Gelman does more than practice law. He has employed his gentle wit and careful analysis in many volunteer capacities, leading the University of Iowa Alumni Association to reorganize its board of directors into a more effective body and establishing a strategic planning process for the organization that has provided a blueprint for decision making. In recognition of his 23 years of volunteer service to organizations such as the Iowa City Public Library, the UI Foundation, United Way of Johnson County, and the Iowa B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundation, the Iowa State Bar Association recognized Gelman with a Community Service Award in 2001.
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