Iowa State University Alumni Association

The Lora and Russ Talbot Endowed President & CEO

First non-academic position endowment established at Iowa State University

A Belmond, Iowa, couple has established an endowed position for the Iowa State University Alumni Association – the first of its kind in the nation.

Jeffery W. Johnson, current president and CEO of the ISU Alumni Association, will be the first holder of the Lora and Russ Talbot Iowa State University Alumni Association Endowed President and Chief Executive Officer position.

The Talbots’ gift of $2.5 million creates the first non-academic endowed position at Iowa State and establishes the first endowed alumni association president and CEO position at a college or university in the United States.

“We wanted to increase the visibility of the Alumni Association and to help in advancing and showcasing the Alumni Association’s excellence,” Lora said about the couple’s decision to endow the position. “We are dedicated to the goal of ensuring that the Alumni Association is the organization that makes a positive difference for alumni, students, and friends for many years to come.”

The new endowment will allow the ISU Alumni Association to more visibly connect with and engage Iowa State alumni and friends. Funds will specifically support Johnson’s professional development and a portion of his salary and travel expenses, as well as expanded programming initiatives within the Alumni Association. It will also establish a new Talbot Student Intern position for the organization.

“Having the trust and support of the Talbots makes a very public statement about the importance of the work the Alumni Association does for Iowa State and Iowa Staters,” Johnson said. “This gift, coupled with the construction of the Alumni Center in 2008, is instrumental in positioning the Iowa State University Alumni Association as a leader in the profession and a valued asset for the university and its constituents. This gift will also be instrumental in helping the university attract top-flight individuals to fill the president and CEO position in the future.”

Lora and Russ Talbot have been friends of Iowa State University for many years. In 1998 they established the Russell G. and Lora L. Talbot Scholars in Veterinary Medicine program, an endowed fund that provides a four-year scholarship to seven students each year. Since then, their gifts have contributed to the construction of the Dr. W. Eugene and Linda Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center and the Hixson-Lied Small Animal Hospital, provided an endowment for the Best in Show scholarship for the Iowa State University Fashion Show, and created the Lora and Russ Talbot Graduate Fellowship in Veterinary Medicine.

Lora and Russ are ISU Foundation governors and were actively involved in the university’s most recent fundraising campaign. Lora is the sole non-alumni representative on the ISU Alumni Association Board of Directors, and Russ is a board associate for the organization, serving on the Awards Review and Selection Committee.

The couple recently established the Talbot Hall of Alumni Association Leadership and History at the ISU Alumni Center, supported the Association’s VISIONS Across America project, and created the Lora and Russ Talbot ISU Alumni Association Cardinal and Gold College of Veterinary Medicine Scholarship. They are 12-year donors to the Association’s Sustaining Life program and have included their names on the Alumni Center’s Wall of Alumni and Friends.

“We are very grateful to Lora and Russ Talbot for their generous gift to establish this endowed position,” ISU President Steven Leath said. “The Iowa State University Alumni Association is a vital organization that ensures our alumni, students, and friends are connected, involved, and informed. Jeff Johnson is a tremendous and enthusiastic leader, and this gift will bolster his already successful efforts to move the Association forward.”

The Talbots’ involvement with Iowa State is extraordinary – and made more so by the fact that neither attended ISU.

“In 2008, we were at a meeting where Jeff Johnson spoke, and he explained that students, alumni, and friends could join the Alumni Association,” Russ said.  “Our relationship with the Alumni Association promptly began following that meeting when we became life members in April 2008.”

During their professional careers, the Talbots lived in Ankeny, Iowa. Lora is a retired executive officer for the Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System, and Russ is a retired special agent for the Internal Revenue Service. They currently make their home in Belmond, Iowa.

Johnson was named the ISU Alumni Association’s chief executive in September 1999. He has a contagious passion for Iowa State and a strong vision for the Association’s future. As president and CEO, he facilitates the Association’s mission of engaging the talents and resources of alumni, students, and friends in the life, work, and aspiration of Iowa State University.

Under Johnson’s leadership, the Association has grown to be the second-largest dues-paying alumni association in the Big 12 Conference – now with more than 52,000 members – and in 2008 the Association moved into a new $13.6 million, 34,500-square-foot alumni center. Johnson received a Ph.D. from Iowa State in 2014.

“We are extremely proud of the historic nature of our commitment to the Alumni Association,” Lora and Russ said. “Our contribution has created the first non-academic endowed position at Iowa State. It also initiated the first endowed alumni association president and CEO position at a college or university anywhere in the country.  As donors, it doesn’t get any better than that!”

The endowment was established by a gift made through the Iowa State University Foundation, a private, nonprofit corporation dedicated to securing and managing gifts and grants that benefit Iowa State University.

For more information, contact:
Jeff Johnson, Talbot Endowed President and CEO, ISU Alumni Association, (515) 294-6561,
Carole Gieseke, chief communications officer, ISU Alumni Association, (515) 294-6560,


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