Iowa Alumni Magazine | April 2008 | News

Newsmaker: Steve McGuire

By Kathryn Howe
Over the last 15 years, Steve McGuire has pulled three people from the miry depths of the Iowa River.

Why was he in the news?

UI art professor Steve McGuire was one of four men—including two UI students—who recently rescued the occupants of a station wagon that had plunged into the frigid Iowa River.

Bundled for a bicycle ride that cold December evening, McGuire had just crossed the river on the Park Road Bridge when he spotted a partially submerged vehicle and a woman flailing in the water. While other rescuers when to the aid of two young boys also in the water, McGuire plunged in and swam to where the woman struggled against hypothermia and the river's fierce current.

What's the big deal?

This wasn't the first time McGuire rushed to the rescue. In fact, he's once, twice, three times a hero—with an obvious knack for being in the right place at the right time. In 2003, McGuire helped a man whose fishing boat had capsized in the Iowa River, and, in 1993, he assisted a UI student who had fallen into the river after trying to retrieve a hat. "In each of those situations, something needed to be done and I felt capable of getting the person out," says McGuire, 83MA, 90PhD. "We live in a community of 50,000 people who, in a similar situation, would do whatever they could to save somebody."

What did people say about him?

The community responded to this courageous act with admiration and applause. Residents posting comments to online newspaper articles called McGuire "Super Steve" and "The Man." Someone even suggested that the professor set up his own lifeguard station along the river—for the next time he makes a splash as a hero.