150 people who shaped Iowa State
In anticipation of the 150th anniversary of Iowa State University's founding in 1858, VISIONS proudly presents this list of 150 "VISIONaries" -- individuals who built Iowa State, from its earliest beginnings as an agricultural college, to today's university of science and technology.
The people on this list were chosen for their leadership, their historical significance, their uniqueness, and their professional accomplishments. When compiling the list, the VISIONS staff used the following criteria:
• The person must have been (or cur- rently be) an ISU student, alum, faculty, or staff member.
• The person may be living or deceased.
• The person must have made a last- ing and/or meaningful contribution to Iowa State, the state of Iowa, the world, or to her/his chosen profes- sion.
• If the person is a former faculty/staff member, the significant contribution must have been made while at Iowa State.
As the list was being compiled, it became obvious that hundreds – even thousands – of Iowa State faculty and alumni deserved to be included based on this criteria. It was no easy task reducing the number to just 150. The final list represents people from a wide variety of disciplines and historical eras, and who have made unique contributions to this university and beyond. It is our hope that the list inspires lively discussion on campus and among alumni.
If you wish to comment on the “VISIONaries” list, go to www.isualum.org/visions150.
Please note that none of Iowa State’s presidents are included on this list.
Katharine Abraham (economics ’76)
Commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Professor of mathematics who founded the Iowa Civil Liberties Union in 1935; wrote book entitled Freedom in Iowa.
Floyd Andre (agiculture ’31, MS ’33, Ph.D. ’36)
Dean of agriculture following Charles F. Curtiss; oversaw college’s massive growth following WWII.
Jane Armstrong-Byrne (hotel, restaurant & institution management ’57)
One of the first female vice presidents of a U.S. Fortune 500 company – Jewel Food.
John Vincent Atanasoff (MS mathematics ’26)
Inventor (with Clifford Berry) of the first digital electronic computer; recipient of the National Medal of Technology; mathematics and physics professor.
Raymond Baker (agronomy ’35)
Pioneering plant breeder for Pioneer Hi-Bred International.
Wallace E. Barron (agricultural economics ’28)
Memorial Union field secretary, executive secretary of the Alumni Association, and editor of the Alumnus magazine; established alumni records system.
Robert Bartley (journalism ’59)
Wall Street Journal editor; winner of both the Pulitzer Prize and Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Arthur (Art) Bergles
Former head of ISU mechanical engineering and director of the department’s Heat Transfer Lab; member of the National Academy of Engineering.
Clifford Berry (electrical engineering ’39, MS physics ’41,Ph.D. ’48)
Assisted John V. Atanasoff in building both the proto-
type of the first electronic digital computer and the full-scale machine; went on to obtain 43 patents.
One of Iowa State’s earliest faculty members (1870-84) and research botanist; started the first botanical laboratory in the U.S. for undergraduate study; first president of the Iowa Academy of Science.
Henry Black (mechanical engineering ’29)
Head of Iowa State’s Mechanical Engineering Department for nearly 30 years; noted for his exceptional service to students.
Ralph Bliss (animal husbandry 1905)
Director of Extension at Iowa State from 1914 to 1946; organized the nation’s first statewide county extension system.
Charles Harvey Brown
Dean of the library (1922-46); president of the American Library Association; founded the Association of College and Research Libraries.
Soil chemist whose research provided the scientific world with a way to study nitrogen despite its instability in soil; member of the National Academy of Sciences.
Henry Brunnier (civil engineering 1904)
Leader in earthquake-resistant structural design; designed many buildings and bridges on the West Coast; consultant to the construction of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.
Wesley Buchele (Ph.D. agricultural engineering ’54)
Credited with inventing the technology to make round hay bales.
Griffith Buck (horticulture ’48, MS ’49, Ph.D. ’53) Professor of horticulture and prolific rose breeder; developed roses that could survive low temperatures and disease.
Horticulture professor who traveled to Russia to investigate varieties of fruit that would be winter-hardy in the Midwest.
Professor of animal science whose research on estrogen for enhanced performance of beef cattle was adopted nationwide, and who studied the use of grain by-products as feed.
George Washington Carver (agriculture 1894, MS 1896) Iowa State’s first African-American student and faculty member; internationally famous plant scientist.
Carrie Chapman Catt (BS 1880)
Leader of the women’s suffrage movement and founder of the League of Women Voters.
Lauro Cavazos (Ph.D. physiology ’54)
Former U.S. secretary of education.
Internationally recognized expert in swine genetics; first director of the Iowa Pork Industry Center at ISU
George C. Christensen
Former vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine; one of ISU’s
leading internationalists who initiated exchanges and cooperative agreements with other countries; instrumental in establishing the Colleges of Education, Design, and Business.
John (Jack) Cleasby (Ph.D. civil engineering ’60) Distinguished professor of civil and construction engineering; member of the National Academy of Engineering.
Vance Coffman (aeronautical engineering ’67)
CEO and chairman, Lockheed Martin Corporation; responsible for the Hubble Space Telescope; member of the National Academy of Engineering.
Distinguished professor of chemistry and member of the National Academy of Sciences; created the first non-carbon example of buckyballs; discovered more than 1,000 new materials.
ISU theatre professor; author and performer of one-woman show, “The Yellow Rose of Suffrage,” on the life of Carrie Chapman Catt.
Nancy Cox (bacteriology ’70)
Influenza researcher at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; named 2006 Federal Employee of the Year.
Beverly J. Crabtree (Ph.D. home economics education ’65)
National leader in home economics issues; former ISU dean of family and consumer sciences.
Charles F. Curtiss (agriculture 1887, Ph.D. 1894)
First dean of agriculture; responsible for the introduction of soybeans as a major Iowa crop.
Jay Brownlee Davidson
Considered the “father of agricultural engineering;” internationally acclaimed consultant on agricultural mechanization.
Vine Deloria (general science ’58)
Native American rights activist.
John S. “Jack” Dodds
Civil engineering professor who established Camp Marston, a field camp for civil engineering students in northern Minnesota.
H.H. Dukes (DVM ’18, MS ’23)
Distinguished veterinary physiologist; author of Duke’s Veterinary Physiology, one of the longest continuously pub-lished texts in veterinary medicine.
Kay Eliason (agricultural engineering ’51)
Construction manager for the Alaska Pipeline.
Philip H. Elwood
Professor who helped organize the Department of Landscape Architecture at Iowa State.
Pioneering naturalist; international authority on wildlife population; established and led the first Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit in the U.S.
Soybean agronomist; worked with food scientist Earl Hammond to develop a soybean with reduced saturated fat.
Advocated, as early as 1847, for the establishment of a state agricultural college; assisted in preparing the bill for the creation of such a college.
Abdel-Aziz Fouad (Ph.D. electrical engineering ’56)
Expert in power system stability and control; National Academy of Engineering member.
Dan Gable (physical education ’71)
NCAA’s winningest wrestling coach and Olympic gold medalist.
John Garang (Ph.D. economics ’81)
Vice president of Sudan and former leader of the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Army.
Roswell Garst (animal husbandry ’20 - attd.)
Established one of the world’s leading seed corn companies.
Herbert J. Gilkey
Consultant on Hoover Dam project; authored a scholarly history of College of Engineering dean Anson Marston.
Known as “the greatest pioneer in organometallic research,” his work laid the foundation for modern plastics and polyethylenes; ISU’s first member of the National Academy of Sciences.
Clifford Hach (chemistry ’47)
Entrepreneur who invented and marketed analysis systems for the water management industry.
Arnel R. Hallauer (MS agronomy ’58, Ph.D. ’60)
Agronomy professor and member of the National Academy of Sciences; internationally recognized corn breeder involved in ISU-federal partnership resulting in corn germplasm and inbred lines used around the globe.
Carl Hamilton (ag journalism ’36)
Iowa State administrator, journalist, and educator; chaired the Department of Technical Journalism and headed the ISU Press Board.
Founding dean of the College of Business.
Graham Hanson (graphic design ‘89)
New York City graphic designer; internationally recognized for work in strategic visual communications.
Thomas R. Harkin (government ’62)
Three-term U.S. Senator from Iowa; author of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.
Neil Harl (agricultural education ’55, Ph.D. economics ’65)
One of the nation’s leading experts on agricultural economics.
First director of the Center for Agricultural Adjustment (now CARD); agricultural economist known for his use of economic modeling and helping farmers adapt to technological and economic changes in farming.
Charles Herbert (architecture ’51)
Iowa architect; his firm designed many notable ISU and Des Moines structures.
Helen LeBaron Hilton
Dean of Home Economics at Iowa State from 1952-75; served under Eisenhower and Kennedy on national committees on education and youth.
Darleane Christian Hoffman (chemistry ’48, Ph.D. ’51)
One of the researchers who confirmed the existence of element 106 seaborgium; received the National Medal of Science.
First director of Extension at Iowa State; established demonstration farms throughout Iowa and in 1904 instituted “corn gospel trains” to promote the growth of hybrid corn in the state.
Harvard-educated economics professor; created the Consumer Price Index (formerly the Cost of Living Index).
Mary “M.K.” Hurd (civil engineering ’47)
Author of seven editions of Formwork for Concrete, the “green bible” of the formwork industry.
Allen Jacobson (chemical engineering ’47)
Former president and CEO of 3-M Corporation; member of the National Academy of Engineering.
Jerry Junkins (electrical engineering ’59)
Former president and CEO of Texas Instruments.
Herbert Kildee (animal husbandry ’08, MS ’17)
Head of animal husbandry and dean of agriculture; research inspired wide improvement of dairy cattle.
Thomas J. Knudson (journalism & mass communication ’80)
Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner.
Ted Kooser (English & speech ’62)
U.S. Poet Laureate (2004-06) and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet.
Longtime educator and first dean of the College of Education.
Animal science professor; recognized as the founder of scientific animal breeding and genetics.
Thomas H. MacDonald (civil engineering 1904)
Chief (and later commissioner) of the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads from 1919 to 1953; led the design of an integrated system of 3 1/2 million miles of interlocking hard-surface highways that crisscrossed America.
First dean of home economics at Iowa State; president of the American Home Economics Association.
Warren Madden (industrial engineering ’61)
Served Iowa State for more than 34 years – and four presidents – currently as vice president for business and finance.
Charles Manatt (rural sociology ’58)
Washington, D.C., attorney; former ambassador to the Dominican Republic; former chair of the Democratic National Committee; chair of the 1992 Clinton/Gore campaign.
First dean of engineering; built Iowa State’s engineering program to national prominence and established the first Engineering Experiment Station; helped develop Iowa’s early road system.
Samuel Massie (Ph.D. chemistry ’46)
Chemistry Department chair at U.S. Naval Academy; one of only two African Americans named to the Chemical and Engineering News list of the 75 most distinguished chemists of all time. (Notably, George Washington Carver is the other.)
Conde McCullough (civil engineering ’10)
Considered one of the most important bridge designers in U.S. history; designed historic bridges along the Oregon coast.
Elwood Mead (civil engineering 1883)
Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation during the construction of Hoover Dam; Lake Mead is named for him.
Worked to select, acquire, and dispose of the land granted to Iowa State College as an endowment under the Morrill Land-Grant Act.
Otto Miller (chemical engineering ’30)
Former chairman of the board and CEO of Standard Oil.
Emeritus professor of veterinary pathology; infectious disease researcher.
Nawal El Moutawakel (physical education ’88)
First African woman and first Muslim woman to win Olympic gold; first woman to chair Inter-national Olympic Committee commission.
Robert Multhauf (chemical technology ’41)
Former curator and historian for the Smithsonian Institution.
William G. Murray
Iowa State agricultural economist who founded Iowa’s Living History Farms.
Owen Newlin (agronomy ’51, MS ’53)
Retired senior vice president and board member of Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.; one of the longest serving presidents of the Board of Regents, State of Iowa.
David Nicholas (electrical engineering ’67, MS ’68, Ph.D. ’71)
Developed the digital encoding process that led to the development of the first generation of low-cost fax machines.
A member of Iowa State’s first graduating class (1872); contributed to campus landscaping; Lake LaVerne named in his honor.
One of the world’s foremost experts on vitamin A deficiency; former professor of biochemistry and biophysics.
Theodore Osmundson (landscape architecture ’43)
Roof garden designer; one of the premier landscape architects in the world.
Botany professor who mentored George Washington Carver; botanist for Iowa State’s experiment station; instrumental in the creation of Iowa’s state park system.
Sally Pederson (hotel, restaurant & institution management ’73)
Former Iowa lieutenant governor.
ISU emeritus professor of agro-nomy and internationally known soil scientist; credited with helping to focus international academic attention on sustainable agriculture.
Sculptor-in-residence at Iowa State from 1937 to 1961; the ISU campus has the largest public collection of his sculptures.
Jon Pickard (architecture ’76)
Successful architect and member of the team that designed the Petronas Towers – the second tallest buildings in the world – in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Lynette Pohlman (applied art ’72, MA interior design ’76)
Current director of University Museums; brought ISU’s Art on Campus program (the nation’s largest public collection) to national prominence.
Col. Harold Pride (civil engineering ’17)
Longtime Memorial Union director; called “Mr. Memorial Union;” established a student assistance fund.
Frank Ramsey (DVM ’46, Ph.D. ’55)
Long-time chair of veterinary pathology; internationally recognized pathologist who in turn trained dozens of board-certified pathologists.
Roy Reiman (agricultural journalism ’57)
Entrepreneurial publisher of Reiman Publications
magazines specializing in home, food, family, nostalgia, and a country lifestyle.
Graduate of the class of 1883 whose quote, “We come to college not alone to prepare to make a living, but to learn to live a life,” is etched in stone above the stairs in the west entrance of the Memorial Union.
Iowa State historian; former professor of history; wrote A History of Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts.
Bruce Roth (Ph.D. organic chemistry ’81)
Inventor of the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor.
Animal science faculty member who is the national coordinator of U.S. swine gene mapping program.
Cael Sanderson (art and design 2001)
Undefeated four-year ISU wrestler (159-0), an achievement recognized by Sports Illustrated as the second most impressive feat in college sports history; won a gold medal at 2004 Athens Olympics.
William “Wild Bill” Schrampfer
First head of the Department of Industrial Administration, the forerunner of the College of Business.
J.C. “Shorty” Schilletter
Headed the Department of Residence during its greatest period of growth, especially in married student housing; wrote the history of the department.
Journalism professor from 1965 to 1982 who helped found the Iowa Broadcast News Association.
Hugh Sidey (journalism ’50)
Longtime White House reporter for Life and Time magazines.
Margaret Sloss (DVM ’38)
First woman to graduate from the veterinary medicine program; longtime professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine.
ISU English professor (1981-96) who won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel, A Thousand Acres.
Ken Smith (landscape architecture ’76)
New York landscape architect who designed a memorial for Sept. 11 victims.
Developed Iowa State’s first statistics course and helped establish Iowa State’s Mathematics Statistical Service and the Iowa State Statistical Laboratory, the first in the U.S.
Lauren Soth (agricultural journalism ’32, MS agricultural economics ’38)
Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial writer.
Merlin G. “Eb” Spangler (civil and construction engineering ’19, MS ’28)
International authority on underground conduits and sewer system design.
First director of Ames Lab; one of America’s leading atomic scientists; directed the chemistry phase of the Manhattan Project during WWII.
George F. Sprague
Considered one of the fathers of modern maize breeding; instrumental in ISU-federal efforts to develop unique corn germplasm that led to major advances in hybrids.
Millikan Stalker (1873, MS 1887)
Professor of agriculture and veterinary science from the 1870s to 1900; started the veterinary medicine program at Iowa State.
Charles Henry Stange (DVM 1907)
Longtime dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine; one of the most visionary and influential veterinarians of all time.
Edgar Stanton (BS 1872)
A member of Iowa State’s first graduating class; professor of mathematics; acting president on four separate occasions; donated carillon bells to Iowa State in honor of his wife, Margaret; established the Iowa State Alumni Association.
C.Y. Stephens (dairy industry ’25)
Successful retail dairy businessman in Washington, D.C.
Lenore Sullivan (MS institution management ’29)
Member of the institution management faculty from 1930 to 1966; authored What to Cook for Company and The Quantity Recipe File.
Sehat Sutardja (electrical engineering ’83)
Named 2006 Inventor of the Year and 2004 Entrepreneur of the Year; holds more than 80 U.S. patents.
Chemical Engineering Department founder; research promoted the use of agricultural waste materials; received about 300 patents.
William Switzer (MS ’51, Ph.D. ’54)
Veterinary researcher who made major contributions to the understanding of swine respiratory diseases.
Recognized world expert in the field of technology in teacher education.
Distinguished professor emeritus of aerospace engineering; member of the National Academy of Engineering.
R. Bruce Thompson
Director of the Center for Nondestructive Evaluation; member of the National Academy of Engineering.
Gary Thompson (physical education ’57)
All-American Cyclone sports legend, broadcaster, and Ames businessman.
Lois Tiffany (botany ’45, MS ’47, Ph.D. ’50)
Distinguished professor of botany at Iowa State; national expert on fungi and the diseases of fungi.
First instructor and leader of physical education for women (1904-44); oversaw the creation of women’s competitive sports.
Iowa State’s first African-American athlete; he died in 1923 from injuries sustained in his first major college football game.
Deborah Turner (distributed studies ’73)
Gynecologic oncologist and former Regent.
Vijay Vittal (Ph.D. electrical engineering ’82)
Directs the Electric Power Research Center at ISU; member of the National Academy of Engineering.
Distinguished professor emeritus of geological and atmospheric sciences; directed the Iowa State Geological Station, a field camp in Wyoming; part of an international team that made important fossil discoveries in Ethiopia.
Henry A. Wallace (animal husbandry ’10, MS ’26)
U.S. secretary of agriculture, U.S. secretary of commerce, and vice president under Franklin D. Roosevelt; Progressive Party candidate for U.S. pres-ident in 1948; established Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.
Henry C. Wallace (animal husbandry 1892)
Founder of Wallace’s Farmer in 1896.
Bernice Kunerth Watt (food & nutrition ’32)
National leader in nutrition standards.
Mary B. Welch
Founder of home economics education, both at Iowa State and at land-grant colleges nationwide; active in the women’s suffrage movement; wife of Iowa State’s first president, Adonijah Welch.
Thomas Whitney (electrical engineering ’61, MS ’62, Ph.D. ’64)
Led the Hewlett-Packard group that shrank the calculator to pocket size – a tenth the size of the previous smallest calculator.
Harley Wilhelm (Ph.D. chemistry ’31)
Co-inventor of the process for large-scale production of uranium; first deputy director of Ames Lab.
Paxton Williams (political science & communication studies 2000)
Keeps George Washington Carver’s legacy alive through one-man play, “Listening to the Still Small Voice: The Story of George Washington Carver;” executive director for the Carver Birthplace Association in Diamond, Mo.
James “Tama Jim” Wilson
Former professor of agriculture and first head of the Experiment Station; later served as U.S. secretary
of agriculture under Presidents McKinley, Roosevelt, and Taft.
Member of the Department of English from 1928-31; wrote The Bells of Iowa State.
Thornton “T.A.” Wilson (aeronautical engineering ’43) Former CEO of the Boeing Company; led the development of the B-47 and B-52 bombers; member of the National Aviation Hall of Fame.
Elizabeth Degarmo Yetley (community nutrition ’63, MS ’70, Ph.D. ’74)
Lead scientist for the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.
Distinguished professor of chemistry and Ames Laboratory scientist; was the first person to quantitatively analyze the chemical content of a single human red blood cell, using a device he designed and built.
Former professor of physics and astronomy; former vice president for research and dean of the Graduate College; helped develop the molecular biology research initiative at Iowa State.
Terry Anderson Thomas Sutherland
Journalism/political science 1974 MS animal science 1956, Ph.D. 1958
Terry Anderson, Middle East bureau chief for the Associated Press, didn’t know Tom Sutherland, dean of agriculture and food science at American University in Beirut, Lebanon, until he landed in Anderson’s holding cell in Beirut in 1985. But they got to know each other, held hostage for nearly 2,400 days by their captors. Back in Ames, campanile bells tolled and yellow ribbons were tied to trees as the university community awaited word of their plight. When Sutherland and Anderson were released in 1991, the campus welcomed home two true American heroes. Anderson spoke at ISU’s Memorial Union in November 1993: “My life is truly full of joy. I wouldn’t wish for anybody to go through what I did. But I do wish you could feel as I do today, and every day.”
Political science 1947
Dwight Ink worked for every U.S. president from Eisenhower to Reagan. His roles in federal government were as diverse as the presidents he served – from urban affairs, environment and energy, education, and anti-poverty to foreign aid, arms reduction, and disaster reconstruction. As the director of the Atomic Energy Commission, Ink worked on the development of naval and space nuclear development. After the great Alaska earthquake of 1964, President Johnson dispatched Ink to supervise the reconstruction of Valdez. He also helped establish the new Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Environmental Protection Agency. In the Ford Administration, Ink managed oil conservation after the Arab embargo and served as acting administrator of the General Services Administration. With President Carter, he was instrumental in the design of the Civil Service reform, the first major overhaul of that federal system in 100 years. Today Ink is retired and lives in the Washington, D.C., area.
Frederick Douglass Patterson
DVM 1923, MS veterinary pathology 1927
From a humble upbringing in the early 1900s, Frederick Patterson grew to become one of the most influential leaders – and most successful fundraisers – in the history of African-American education. At Iowa State, Patterson was one of the earliest African-American students to earn a veterinary degree. He became the third president of Tuskegee Institute (now University) in 1935, where he oversaw the establishment of the School of Veterinary Medicine and introduced the Tuskegee Airmen flight training program. Patterson founded the United Negro College Fund in 1946, an organization that has now raised more than $1 billion for student aid. In 1987, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in honor of his many years of work in education and philanthropy for historically black colleges and universities.
Were it not for the passion, determination, and youthful exuberance of Benjamin Gue, Iowa State may not have become the university it is today. Gue was a young, aggressive representative in the Iowa General Assembly in 1856 when a bill was presented to establish an agricultural college in the state of Iowa. Gue fought almost unbeatable odds to win favor with the legislature to provide a “college where the sons of farmers and others of moderate means could be aided to secure an education equal to that afforded to professional men at the state university.” He fought again a few years later when that decision looked likely to be repealed due to state budget constraints. Gue was rewarded in 1866 by being elected president of the board of trustees of the new agricultural college, and again facing considerable opposition, he secured the admission of women on an equal basis with men.
Botany 1908, Ph.D. 1918
Historians will forever remember Ada Hayden as the first woman (and only the fourth person, male or female) to earn a Ph.D. at Iowa State College. But her legacy does not end there. Hayden became assistant professor of botany in 1920, teaching classes until 1934 when her appointment was changed to a research position in the Agriculture Experiment Station. She became curator of the college’s herbarium, photographing and illustrating native plants. During her time at Iowa State, she added more than 40,000 specimens to the herbarium, which is now named in her honor. Hayden was devoted to prairie preservation and research. She campaigned for a system of prairie preserves, one of which was later named the Ada Hayden Prairie Preserve by the Iowa Conservation Commission. Today, the Ada Hayden Heritage Park just north of Ames also bears her name and continues her legacy.