Iowa Alumni Magazine | June 2009 | People

Hawkeye Heir: Allison Martin

By Shelbi Thomas
Lifelong Hawkeye fan Allison Martin had an advantage when she decided to apply to the University of Iowa. Not just her impressive ACT score or transcript—but her grandfather.

As a third-generation Hawkeye, Allison enters the UI this fall with an Iowa Heritage Award—a four-year, $6,000 scholarship for incoming out-of-state students whose parents or grandparents graduated from Iowa. Allison's grandfather, Donald Martin, first got her hooked on the Hawkeyes.

"I am ecstatic, and my 81-year-old grandfather will undoubtedly do a flip-flop," says Allison, a Barrington, Illinois, native, about her scholarship. "He has had two hip and knee replacements, but he still insists on driving four hours each way to come to football games."

Donald attended the UI from 1947 to 1948, and his father, Bryan Martin, 18BA, [deceased] graduated as a track and field letterman. Otherwise known as "Mr. Hawkeye," Donald has a champion wire-haired dachshund named Kinnick, a car horn that plays the "Iowa Fight Song," and a house so decked with black and gold that his wife says it "looks like a bumblebee establishment."

Every football Saturday, Donald and his family drive from his home in Libertyville, Illinois, to Kinnick Stadium. They stop the car at the state border, so Donald can sniff the fresh Iowa air and sing "On, Iowa."

Donald jokes that when his sons chose Iowa State, "Grandpa Bryan rolled over in his grave." The rivalry between Iowa and Iowa State became so intense in the Martin family that Donald no longer attends that game. Instead, Allison takes her grandfather's place alongside her dad for the intrastate matchup.

Allison's decision to attend Iowa was based on more than her grandfather's devotion. Interested in pharmacy, she was impressed by Iowa's program and the UI Hospitals and Clinics. She also received Old Gold and honors scholarships that will help pay for her education. For Allison, the Hawkeye heritage she shares so proudly with her grandpa is "icing on the cake."