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University of Iowa News Release

June 5, 2003

UIAA Honored For Writers' Workshop Event

The University of Iowa Alumni Association (UIAA) has been selected to receive a Seal of Excellence award from Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) for an alumni event featuring the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

The CASE recognition program honors outstanding work of member colleges, universities and independent schools. CASE received more than 3,700 entries for its nationwide annual awards program; this is the second year in row the UIAA has won this award.

The event, "Los Angeles Celebrates the Iowa Writers' Workshop -- An Evening with Marvin Bell, T.C. Boyle, David St. John, Jane Smiley and David Milch" was held April 28 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. About 450 guests attended; about 70 percent were Iowa alumni and 30 percent Los Angelinos at large.

"This event celebrated one of the most distinguished writing programs in the country and served as an opportunity to bring together Iowa alumni, as well as literature lovers in the greater Los Angeles area," said Susan Griffith, director of alumni programs at the UIAA.

"This event certainly deserves the recognition of this award. The celebration brought together two of the UI's greatest strengths: the Writers' Workshop and our alumni. The Los Angeles event put the great talent of our alumni on display, brought many of our California Hawkeyes together, and showcased the achievements of The University of Iowa for the entire L.A. community. We were able to highlight the creativity of not only the Workshop itself, but the UI Alumni Association as well, "said UI President David Skorton.

The evening began with a reception-including refreshments and entertainment by a local jazz quartet on the patio of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. During the reception hour, Timothy Benson, UI graduate and curator of the Robert Gore Rifkind Center for German Expressionist Studies at the museum, provided a guided tour and walk-through of the exhibit, Central European Avant-Gardes, Exchange and Transformation, 1910-1930.

Following the reception, the program involved the five graduates of the renowned Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa in an evening of readings and conversation on writing. Between them, the featured authors have published more than 50 books and have won every major literary award. Patt Morrison, Los Angeles Times columnist and book show host on KCET-TV (Los Angeles PBS affiliate), moderated the discussion.

The Los Angeles Iowa Club and the UI Alumni Association presented the program in association with Writers Bloc, a Los Angeles literary series that features authors. Through Writers Bloc, the UIAA was able to reach a larger audience - especially one closely aligned with literature and books - and as a result, spread the word about writing at the University of Iowa.

The Los Angeles Times carried articles about the event in several sections, providing positive publicity for the UI in the Los Angeles area.

This event was part of an ongoing series, "Iowa Stories," produced by the Iowa Club of Los Angeles that features distinguished University of Iowa alumni and faculty in special events for alumni and friends of the university, as well as Los Angeles-area residents. The series has previously featured Simon Estes, Charles Ray, Paul Conrad, Ethan Canin and Antonio Damasio. Last year's event, the fall 2001 Los Angeles premiere of the "The Nazi Drawings," a documentary based on the work of Mauricio Lasansky, also won a CASE Seal of Excellence.

"'Iowa Stories' is our way of bringing the UI to alumni and friends in the Los Angeles area. We showcase and celebrate some of the jewels of our alma mater. Winning this award two years in a row is a wonderful honor for our special series celebrating the UI," said Ted Habte-Gabr, a 1989 UI alumni who curates the series.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: George McCrory, University of Iowa News Services 319-384-0012, george-mccrory@uiowa.edu.Program: Susan Griffith, UIAA, 319-335-3294, susan-griffith@uiowa.edu