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University of Iowa News Release

June 3, 2005

UI Alumni Association Presents 2005 Distinguished Alumni Awards June 11

Some of the University of Iowa's most acclaimed alumni and friends will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award (DAA), the highest honor given by the UI Alumni Association (UIAA).

The public is invited to join the UIAA in recognizing these individuals at a noon luncheon presentation Saturday, June 11 in the Main Lounge of the Iowa Memorial Union. Tickets are $20 per person and can be purchased by calling the UI Alumni Association at 319-335-3294 or 800-469-2586.

Given annually since 1963, the Distinguished Alumni Awards recognize the outstanding achievements and service of UI alumni and friends. This year's awards are given in five categories: Achievement, Service, Faculty/Staff, Young Alumni and Friend of the University. Full details of DAA recipients from this and previous years can be found at

The Distinguished Alumni Award for Achievement is given for significant accomplishments in business or professional life or for distinguished human service. This year, the UIAA honors seven recipients:

--Albert Bandura, who earned his master's and doctorate degrees from the UI, is one of the most eminent psychologists of our time, having been recently ranked in the Review of General Psychology among the top psychologists of the 20th century. A professor at Stanford University, Bandura is known as psychology's most cited contributor for his many influential theories, innovative experimental research programs and significant applications of that wisdom to practical domains. Best known as a leading proponent of Social Learning Theory, Bandura has influenced many areas of psychology, from psychotherapy and behavior modification, to the fields of medicine and criminology and the roots of aggression.

--Colleen Konicki DiIorio has had a tremendous impact on the lives of people with epilepsy and AIDS during a career that has earned her national respect and recognition. Currently a professor at Emory University in the Rollins School of Public Health, she has been awarded $26 million in research funding from organizations including the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and the Epilepsy Foundation. She was the first nursing professional to receive funding for HIV prevention and to publish epilepsy self-management research findings. She graduated in 1969 from the UI College of Nursing with a bachelor of science degree in nursing.

-- John W. Irving earned a master of fine arts degree from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop in 1967. He later taught at the Workshop and published several bestselling novels, including "The World According to Garp," "The Cider House Rules" and "A Son of the Circus." His screenplay for "The Cider House Rules" won an Oscar in 2000. Among other honors, John Irving has won the O'Henry Award and the National Book Award. Irving will not be present to receive his Distinguished Alumni Award, but will be honored at a later time.

--Grammy-award winning singer Al Jarreau enrolled at the UI in 1962, earning his master's degree in rehabilitation counseling from the UI College of Education two years later. After graduation, Jarreau moved to San Francisco, where he worked as a rehabilitation counselor and performed part-time as a singer. In 1975, he signed a recording contract with Warner Bros. Records. He went on to make many hit records in a range of musical styles. Winner of five Grammy Awards, Jarreau is one of the rare artists to have been honored in the three categories of jazz, pop and rhythm and blues. Jarreau received his Distinguished Alumni Award in April at a special event in Los Angeles with UI President David Skorton.

--Norm R. Nielsen has served public education in Iowa for more than 40 years as a teacher and coach, high school principal, school district superintendent and community college administrator. For 19 years prior to his retirement in 2004, Nielsen was president of Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, which has been recognized as a leading community college in the nation. In 2001, the National Alliance of Business selected Kirkwood as Community College of the Year, and in the same year, the Association of Community Colleges selected Nielsen as Executive Officer of the Year from 1,240 community college leaders nationally. Nielsen earned his PhD from the UI in 1986.

--Brian E. Ross, who graduated from the UI in 1971 with a bachelor's degree in journalism, has achieved a reputation for unquestioned professionalism and ethics while gaining national acclaim as an investigative journalist. As a journalism student at the University of Iowa, he worked for KWWL-TV in Waterloo. Since then, he has broken national and international stories that have made headlines around the world. From 1975 to 1994, he served as a correspondent for NBC News, and since 1994 he has been chief investigative correspondent for ABC News. He has reported extensively for World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, 20/20, and Good Morning America.

--James L. "Woody" Watson, who graduated with a bachelor's degree from the UI in 1965, grew up in New Market, Iowa, but he has gained international recognition as one of the most distinguished and important anthropologists of China. Currently a professor at Harvard University, he holds a well-deserved reputation for in-depth and influential studies in a number of aspects of Chinese culture, including the changing face of village life, family and kinship, popular religion and ritual, and migration and globalization. He is particularly known for challenging long-held beliefs that have traditionally separated the work of anthropologists and historians and for bringing the two disciplines closer together.

The UIAA will also give two Distinguished Alumni Service Awards, honoring graduates who have provided commendable service to their nation, their communities and their UI family:

--Nolden I. Gentry, Jr., earned a bachelor's degree from the UI in 1960 and also his law degree in 1964. Today, the Rockford, Ill., native is an attorney and shareholder with the Des Moines law firm of Brick, Gentry, Bowers, Swartz, Stoltze, Schuling & Levis. Gentry has served the university and state with distinction through his private law practice and as a citizen deeply committed to civic matters. He is on the boards of several prominent companies, having also served on the executive committee for United Way, as governor of the Greater Des Moines Community Foundation, president of the Des Moines Housing Corporation and former legal counsel for the Greater Des Moines Chamber of Commerce.

--Lloyd J. Palmer, of Postville, Iowa, has made significant contributions to the UI and to his many other personal and professional communities. In 1949, he earned a bachelor of science in commerce degree in accounting after serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Palmer, who was one of Henry B. Tippie's classmates, became a top executive at Nalco Chemical Company. After he retired in 1986, Palmer and his wife, Thelma, continued to work on several philanthropic efforts, including establishing a faculty fellowship in the Tippie College of Business and contributing to the arts, libraries, athletics and museums.

The Distinguished Faculty/Staff Award is granted to retired or former UI faculty and staff in recognition of significant achievement or specific meritorious service on behalf of the quality and advancement of the university. This year, the UIAA is honoring two retired professors:

--James A. Dixon was conductor of the University of Iowa Symphony Orchestra for 40 years. Dixon, now an emeritus professor, has brought national attention to Iowa's School of Music and made this region a center for American orchestral music. In addition, Dixon served for 29 years as music director and conductor of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, retiring from that position in 1994. Born in Estherville, Iowa, and raised in Guthrie Center, Dixon earned a bachelor of music degree from the UI in 1952, followed by a master of arts degree in 1956.

--Albert B. Hood, professor of education at the University of Iowa from 1965 to 2000 and now an active emeritus professor, has been one of the outstanding researchers in the field of student development for 40 years. He also devised important instrumentation to measure the effects of college experiences on college students' intellect and identity. One of his most significant recent accomplishments is his work with the Senior College, which brings together a group of active volunteers who have provided opportunities for intellectual growth for retired people in Iowa City and beyond.

The Distinguished Young Alumni Award honors UI graduates under the age of 40 who have attained significant accomplishments in their personal or professional lives.

This year's recipient is Brian H. Hook. He has an office in the West Wing of the White House, just steps away from the Oval Office and only five years after graduating with distinction from the UI College of Law. Hook is special assistant to the president for policy, Office of the Chief of Staff. In this role, he develops and coordinates domestic and homeland security policy for the president and his chief of staff, Andrew Card. Before taking his current position, Hook worked in the U.S. Department of Justice as counsel in the Office of Legal Policy, where he represented the executive branch before the 9-11 Commission and worked with the U.S. Senate to confirm the president's judicial nominees. He also developed federal regulations to address corporate fraud in the wake of the Enron scandal.

The Distinguished Friend of the University Award honors those individuals who are not Iowa alumni but who have provided outstanding service on behalf of the University of Iowa. The recipient of this award is William Phelan, who has served as legal counsel to the UI Foundation since 1963. He is a supporter of the university both professionally and privately. Recognized as one of the best "planned giving" attorneys in the nation, Phelan has taken time away from his role as partner with the Iowa City law firm of Phelan, Tucker, Mullen, Walker, Tucker & Gelman to regularly serve as a lecturer in the UI College of Law. He has served on numerous UI boards and been a generous donor to the UI, and served the Iowa City Community School District for six years as a director, with one term as president. In addition, he volunteered his time and efforts as a director of the Mercy Hospital Foundation and as a member of the Advisory Board for Mercy Hospital in Iowa City.

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

MEDIA CONTACT: George McCrory, 319-384-0012,