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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 17, 2008

Photos: Mom of the Year Gertrude Wiener and her granddaughter, Ligeia Pennington. Dad of the Year Andy Rowe and his daughter, Amy Rowe

UI names Mom of the Year and Dad of the Year

Gertrude Wiener of Sioux City and Andy Rowe of Marengo have been named University of Iowa's Mom and Dad of the Year.

Wiener and Rowe were honored at halftime of the Saturday, Nov. 8 Hawkeye football game against Penn State.

Mom of the Year Wiener was nominated by her granddaughter, Ligeia Pennington, a junior majoring in pre-social work and psychology. Wiener obtained guardianship of Ligeia and her two sisters after their parents abandoned them. All three girls were under the age of 4 at the time. Weiner, 88, worked two to three jobs to support the girls without government assistance. She took the girls to church every Sunday and taught them they could "accomplish great things and come through hardships better than you were before them."

Dad of the Year Rowe was nominated by his daughter, Amy Rowe, a senior majoring in biology. Rowe is an agriculture education teacher and Future Farmers of America advisor at Iowa Valley High School; a member of the Lions Club; and community volunteer. He is involved with local blood drives, Kinze Manufacturing Family Fun Day, and events such as livestock judging and the Kiddie Pedal Power Pull at the Iowa County Fair. During the floods of 2008, Rowe helped sandbag in several Iowa communities.

The Mom of the Year honoree is selected by Mortar Board, a national honor society that recognizes college seniors. The Dad of the Year honoree is selected by Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society for upper-level students. The Parents Association also supports the awards program.

All students can nominate their parents for the annual awards, which have been an UI tradition for more than 50 years. The application includes a list of the parent's occupational achievements, community activities, volunteer work, and personal accomplishments and honors. In addition, students write essays describing their parents' personal characteristics, what they've done for the students or others, and why their parents should represent all Iowa parents.

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

MEDIA CONTACTS: Andrea Kann, University of Iowa Honors Program, 319-335-1932,; George McCrory, University News Services, 319-384-0012,