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Submit your latest information about careers, publications, engagements and marriages, births and adoptions, awards, and more via email to Class Notes editor Kate Bruns '99 at OR log in to the ISU Alumni Directory to post your note so that the information will be linked back to your personal profile.

Notes will be refreshed and updated here periodically. Last updated May 4, 2017.

Alumni Bookshelf

Derek S. Oden (PhD ’06 ag history and rural studies) has published “Harvest of Hazards: Family Farming, Accidents, and Expertise in the Corn Belt, 1940-1975” (University of Iowa Press).

Leng Vong Reiff (A)(’07 design & advertising) has worked with T.C. Florer on four of five books in Florer’s “Carrington” series, all of which revolve heavily around ISU. The fifth book, "Carrington Resolve," will be released at the end of May.

Poet Gary J. Whitehead’s (MA ’96 English) “Wild Columbine” is featured in the spring 2017 issue of the Ploughshares Literary Journal.

Awards & Honors

Todd Sevig (’84 psych & sociology, PhD ’93 psych), director of the University of Michigan’s student counseling center, recently received a lifetime achievement award from the Association of University and College Counseling Center Directors.

Raymond “Paul” Giroux (’79 con engr) of Kiewit Infrastructure has been awarded the Roebling Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Documentary filmmaker Vanessa McNeal (’15 child, adult and family services) received the Young Woman of Tomorrow Award at the 2017 Cedar Valley Women of Persimmon ceremony April 25. The recognition is given by the YWCA of Black Hawk County.

Amrut Sadachar (A)(’14 apparel, merchandising, and design), an assistant professor in the University of Auburn’s Department of Consumer and Design Sciences, received the Student Government Association’s Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year Award for the College of Human Sciences and the Student Supervisor of the Year Award.

Jack McGuire (A)(’63 civil engr) has been inducted into the ISU Department of Aerospace Engineering’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni. McGuire retired from Boeing in 2006 after 43 years with the company.

The following Iowa State University professional & scientific staff members were presented with the university’s 2016 CYtation Award March 23: Nick Van Berkum (A)(BFA ’06), Kevin Kane (L)(’82 landscape arch & leisure studies, MLA ’86, PhD ’07 ed), Paula Burns (L)(’92 pol sci), Darrin Fischer (A)(’97 finance), Paul Kassel (L)(’78 agronomy & hort, MS ’81 crop prod & physiology), Kris Koerner (A)(MBA ’14), Robin McNeely (’92 landscape arch, MLA ’94), Dawn Miller (MS ’95 ag ed & studies), Brent Pringnitz (’92 ag bus, MS ’96 crop prod & physiology), Kate Simmons (’05 psych & sociology), and Rachael Voas (A)(’08 pol sci, MA ’11).

Sterling “Stu” Ainsworth (’55 hort) has been named the Illinois Council of Orchestras’ 2017 Volunteer of the Year.

Tim Westrum (’99 ag studies, ag & life sci ed) and his family have been recognized as the 2017 Freeborn County (Minn.) Farm Family of the Year.

The ISU Agricultural Business Club selected Sarah Fiedler Thorn (L)(’81 ag business) to receive its Outstanding Alumni Award at the club’s annual award banquet on March 4.

Doug Matthies (’70 animal science), business improvement manager in the Midwest region for Smithfield Hog Production, has been honored with the 2016 Master Pork Partner Award by the Iowa Pork Producers Association and ISU Extension and Outreach.


Eric T. Crowell (L)(’80 indus admin), president and CEO of UnityPoint Health – Des Moines since 2001, has been appointed to the board of directors for the Alliance of Independent Academic Medical Centers.

David L. Ford, Jr. (A)(’67 indus engr) will retire Aug. 31, 2017 after 42 years as a business school professor at what is now the Jindal School of Management at the University of Texas at Dallas. For 20 of those 42 years, Ford was the only African American professor in the school.

Krystal Jones (A)(’12 pol sci) is now a licensed attorney in the state of Texas, working as regulatory affairs manager for Globe Life and six other insurance companies.

Shane Jacobson (L)(’03 comm studies, MEd ’08) has been named president and CEO of the University of Vermont Foundation in Burlington, Vt.

Actress Jami Simon (’81 phys ed & speech comm) plays the recurring role of Pinky in the hit HBO series High Maintenance and the recurring role of Sideways Jane in the TV miniseries Riding the D with Dr. Seeds. She also has a featured role in the forthcoming film Accommodations.

Christina Freese-Decker (L)(’00 finance)(pictured, right) has been appointed to a newly-created position as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Spectrum Health in western Michigan. She previously served as president of the Spectrum Health Hospital Group. In her new position, Freese-Decker will oversee strategy and operations for the entire system, including the hospital group, medical group, human resources, and information services.

Timothy Van Pelt (’02 ag engr)(pictured above) has been named president of the trust division for National Exchange Bank & Trust in southeastern Wisconsin.

Emily Lair (L)(’15 hort) is the new ag instructor and FFA advisor at Spirit Lake (Iowa) High School.

Jess Frank (’15 an sci) is the new content editor for Corner Post Marketing in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

The following Central Iowa architects have been selected to participate in the 2017 American Institute of Architects Citizen Architect Program in recognition of their community service: Janna Alampi (’07 arch), Todd Wehr (’85 arch), and Rob Bisenius (’78 arch) of Shive-Hattery; Natalie Carran (A)(’06 arch) of Benjamin Design Collaborative; Ryan Ellsworth (’00 arch) and Danielle Hermann (’01 arch, MAR ’08) of OPN Architects; Megan Drake (’10 arch & env studies) of Shiffler Associates; Curtis Ehler (’07 arch) of Studio MELEE; Scotney Fenton (A)(’92 arch) and Michelle Sacco (’05 arch) of RDG Planning & Design; Scott Hatfield (A)(’72 arch) and Josh Ridgely (’07 arch) of SVPA Architects Inc.; Paul Mankins (A)(’85 arch) and Ann Sobiech Munson (’00 arch) of substance architecture; Shannon McGee (’15 arch) and Holly Pohlmeier (’15 arch & env studies) of INVISION; Diane Munch (’86 arch) of Story Construction; Jerry Purdy (A)(’76 arch) of Design Alliance, Inc.; Jason Reis (’02 arch) of JLRD; Brian Schwartz (’05 arch) of the Baker Group; Edward Shannon (’86 arch) of GTG Architects; Edward Soenke (’67 arch) of The Design Partnership; Rod Stevens (’74 arch) of Knowledge Consulting; Tom Wollan (MAR ’99) of FRK Architecture Engineering; and Martha Green (A)(’75 arch).


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