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University of Iowa News Release


May 28, 2010

UI Alumni Association presents 2010 Distinguished Alumni Awards June 12

The University of Iowa Alumni Association will present the Distinguished Alumni Awards to 12 notable alumni and friends of the UI at a luncheon from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 12, in the UI's Levitt Center for University Advancement.

The awards luncheon is open to the public. Cost is $25 per person and space is limited. To reserve a seat or for more information, call the UI Alumni Association at 800-469-2596.
The Distinguished Alumni Awards, presented annually since 1963, are the Alumni Association's highest honor. The awards recognize the outstanding achievements and service of UI alumni and friends. This year's awards will be given in six categories: Achievement, Service, Young Alumni, Faculty/Staff and Friend of the University, as well as the Hickerson Recognition.

The Distinguished Alumni Award for Achievement is given for significant accomplishments in business or professional life or for distinguished human service:

Nancy “Rusty” Barceló is a pioneer in convincing university communities to embrace principles of equality, diversity and multiculturalism. Her career in academic administration began at the UI, where she helped found the Latino and Native American Cultural Center. After earning her doctorate from the UI in 1980, she accepted her first full-time UI position as assistant dean in the Office of Academic Affairs. She went on to serve as the interim director for the Opportunity at Iowa program and as assistant provost. She also served as an administrator at the University of Washington and the University of Minnesota. She recently was appointed president of Northern New Mexico College.

John Cambier has led an extremely productive and distinguished scientific career since receiving his doctorate from the UI. Widely respected as a researcher, educator, administrator and mentor, he is currently chair of the Integrated Department of Immunology at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and the National Jewish Medical and Research Center. He has made many seminal contributions to his field, particularly in relation to a vital subset of cells called B lymphocytes that produce antibodies to protect us from disease. His work has earned him recognition as one of the world’s premier immunologists.

Colleen Goode, nursing professor and retired nurse executive, has dedicated her professional career to advancing the quality of nursing education and patient care. As a leader in evidence-based practice, she has researched and successfully implemented care delivery models at the UI and University of Colorado teaching hospitals that have been adopted worldwide. Goode has also inspired her colleagues and students with her dedication to service, including her leadership on national nursing boards and organizations such as the American Academy of Nursing.

Bradley Hyman, is an accomplished physician/scientist and a graduate of the UI’s renowned Medical Scientist Training Program. Currently a neurology professor at Harvard Medical School and the director of the Massachusetts Alzheimer Disease Research Center, Hyman is helping medical science gain new insights into and develop therapies for this devastating neurodegenerative disorder. In addition to his research, which has attracted numerous grants from the National Institutes of Health, Hyman maintains an active clinical practice. This internationally acclaimed UI alumnus has received many honors for a career that encompasses cutting-edge research, clinical investigation and specialized patient care. Hyman is unable to attend the awards luncheon and was presented his award in Boston on May 20.

Richard Knapp has devoted a distinguished career to advocating for academic medicine and helping find policy solutions to some of the nation’s most pressing health care and educational issues. In his 40 years at the Association of American Medical Colleges, culminating in his role as executive vice president, he demonstrated an unfailing moral compass that earned him the respect of his peers. Knapp also has a strong service ethic, as evidenced by his work as a founding member of the UI College of Public Health’s external advisory board and as president of the Department of Health Management and Policy’s alumni board. In recognition of such personal and professional accomplishments, Knapp received the college’s 2005 Outstanding Alumni Award.

John Opitz, professor of pediatrics, pathology, human genetics, and obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Utah School of Medicine, is one of the pre-eminent clinical birth defects experts in the world. The founder and editor of the American Journal of Medical Genetics, Opitz's work focuses on determining relationships among birth defects, prenatal exposures and molecular biology. He is also one of the first physicians to recognize a specific grouping of pediatric anomalies, and he has made landmark contributions to the descriptions of several newly recognized syndromes, many of which bear his name.

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

P. Sue Beckwith is a colorectal surgeon who runs a successful practice in Des Moines with The Iowa Clinic. In addition to helping deserving students through scholarship support, the former Iowa women’s basketball player gave the lead pledge of $1 million that helped build the new P. Sue Beckwith, M.D., Boathouse for the Hawkeye rowing teams. She also serves on advisory boards for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the UI Foundation, acts as president of the Varsity Club board and shares her professional expertise as a clinical associate for the UI Department of Surgery. Beckwith, a Boone native, graduated from the UI in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology. She then began her medical training, completing her doctor of medicine degree at UI in 1984.

Thomas Hanson has been a key contributor to the success and advancement of the UI College of Engineering. In 2003, he endowed the Hanson Center for Technical Communication, an innovative center where engineering students develop speaking and writing skills to help them stand out from their peers in a competitive field. The retired engineer and businessman has also supported the college and university as a charitable giver, a student mentor, as a trusted advisor on committees such as the UI College of Engineering’s development council, and is a current member of the UI Foundation Board of Directors. He graduated from the UI in 1960 with a degree in mechanical engineering.

After a 30-year corporate career with Northwestern Bell, R. Jerry Hargitt spent the next 18 years as a volunteer overseas for the International Executive Service Corps, living in countries ranging from Egypt to Rwanda. Among the many campus programs and projects to receive his support are the School of Journalism and Mass Communications in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Pentacrest Museums and the Levitt Center for University Advancement. A passionate volunteer, whose efforts at the UI include serving eight years on the UIAA board of directors and seven on the Board in Control of Athletics, Hargitt received a U.S. President’s Call to Service Award in 2004. Originally from Burlington, Hargitt graduated from the UI in 1955 with a degree in journalism and mass communication.

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 UI Alumni Association is honoring emeritus professor George Schrimper in a distinguished UI career that spanned more than 30 years. Schrimper transformed the UI Museum of Natural History from an aging exhibit hall into the engaging and relevant museum it is today. When Schrimper joined the Iowa faculty in 1966, the museum was on the verge of closure. Schrimper renovated exhibits and worked to raise funds to add new displays and space to the museum, including Iowa Hall and the William and Eleanor Hageboeck Hall of Birds. Now, more than 50,000 people annually visit the museum and are able to learn about Iowa’s geologic, cultural and environmental history.

The Distinguished Hickerson Alumni Recognition Award recognizes graduates or former students for outstanding contributions to the Alumni Association. This award is named in honor of Loren Hickerson, who was the UI's first full-time alumni director. This year's Hickerson Award recipient is H. Garland Hershey, professor of orthodontics at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, professor of health policy and management in the School of Public Health and vice chancellor emeritus. Hershey has always found time to travel to Iowa City to help promote and strengthen his alma mater. Hershey, a UI Dental Alumnus of the Year, served diligently for eight years on the UIAA board of directors (including one year as chair) and is currently national co-chair for the UI College of Dentistry’s $65 million campaign to renovate and expand its facilities.  Hershey graduated from the UI with a general science bachelor’s degree in 1963 and a doctor of dental surgery degree in 1965. In 1971, he gained his Master of Science in orthodontics from the UI.

The Distinguished Young Alumni Award honors UI graduates under the age of 40 who have attained significant accomplishments in their personal or professional lives. The Young Alumni Award will be given to Craig Cannon, an attorney at Branch Banking and Trust Company in Winston-Salem, N.C. He is renowned nationally for providing pro bono legal services to disaster victims, military veterans and other people in need. As the national director of the American Bar Association's (ABA) Disaster Legal Services program, Cannon has worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to improve legal services for thousands of disaster victims, including those affected by Hurricane Katrina. In 2008, he became the youngest lawyer to win the ABA’s Pro Bono Publico Award. Cannon also remains active in the North Carolina Bar Association, where he chairs the organization's 5,500 member Young Lawyers Division and other charitable organizations.

The Distinguished Friend of the University Award honors those individuals who are not UI alumni, but who have provided outstanding service on behalf of the UI. This year, the UI Alumni Association is honoring Gregs Thomopulos, CEO and chairman of the board of directors for the Stanley Consultants engineering company, who has generously shared his time and knowledge with the UI College of Engineering. He has lent his expertise as a leader of the College of Engineering and IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering advisory boards during major growth periods for the college. As an avid supporter of the UI’s Ethnic Inclusion Effort for Iowa Engineering program, Thomopulos mentors many minority students and faculty members. He also serves on the UI Foundation board of directors and contributed one of the first corporate gifts to the university’s flood relief fund.

Additional information about current and past award recipients can be found at

PHOTOS: Photos of the recipients may be found at

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

MEDIA CONTACTS: UI Alumni Association, 319-335-3294; George McCrory, University News Services, 319-384-0012,