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University of Iowa News Release

June 8, 2004

UI Alumni Association presents 2004 Distinguished Alumni Awards June 12

Some of the University of Iowa's most acclaimed alumni will make their way back to campus June 12 to be recognized by the UI for their accomplishments.

Thirteen alumni from diverse professions will receive the UIAA's highest honor, the Distinguished Alumni Award, at a celebratory lunch at noon Saturday, June 12, in the Main Lounge of the Iowa Memorial Union.

The public is invited to the luncheon and awards presentation, which is part of the Alumni Reunion Weekend June 10-13. Tickets are $20 per person and can be purchased by calling the UI Alumni Association at 319-335-3294 or 800-469-2586.

The Distinguished Alumni Awards are the highest honor presented by the UI Alumni Association, given annually since 1963 to recognize the achievements and service of UI alumni and friends. This year's awards are given in six categories: Achievement, Service, Faculty, Young Alumni, Friend and the Hickerson Recognition award.

The Distinguished Alumni Award for Achievement is given for significant accomplishments in business or professional life or for distinguished human service. In recognition of their significant professional accomplishments, the UIAA will honor six recipients with the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award:

-Donald Bently has crafted his engineering genius and entrepreneurial know-how into a lifetime of inventive accomplishments. He founded the successful Bently Nevada Corporation in his garage and eventually sold it to General Electric Company in 2002, going on to become owner, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the new Bently Pressurized Bearing Company. Through his work, Bently has helped revolutionize the machine industry and has championed the cause of sustainable agriculture. Bently, who resides in Minden, Nev., earned a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering in 1949 and a master's degree in 1950 from the UI.

-Sen. Norm Coleman of St. Paul, Minn. has transformed his Iowa law degree earned in 1976 into a successful political career. His early days as a UI student leader helped him become a litigator in the Attorney General's Office in Saint Paul, Minn., and then mayor of Saint Paul. All of these roles have prepared Coleman for his current position in the U.S. Senate, where he chairs two important subcommittees. Coleman has spent a lifetime working for change at both the local and national levels. N. William Hines, dean of the UI College of Law, presented Coleman with his award at the Law School's May 15 graduation ceremony, where Coleman was the keynote speaker.

-Kent Falb is a nationally recognized athletic trainer who has worked with some of the best college and professional athletes. At the UI, he was a student athletic trainer and later became an assistant athletic trainer. He earned a bachelor's degree from the UI in 1965, also earning a certificate in physical therapy. A native of Elgin, Iowa, he spent more than 30 years in the National Football League as the athletic trainer for the Detroit Lions and served two terms as president of the National Athletic Trainers Association. A member of that Association's Hall of Fame, he currently travels the nation as a guest lecturer on the topics of athletic training and sports medicine. Falb, a resident of Aiken, S.C, also lectures at the Athletic Training Program at Erskine College in South Carolina.

-Anne Hawley of Brookline, Mass. has become a prominent figure in the world of the arts, first as head of the Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities and now as director of Boston's prestigious Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. In her role as the museum's first female director, Hawley made necessary improvements and launched a successful major fund-raising campaign, while also finding time to serve on other boards and committees. Hawley, a native of West Liberty, Iowa, earned her bachelor's degree in English from the UI in 1966, and later completed a master's program at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

-Ronald Roskens of Omaha is an academic leader and administrator, and has made several contributions to the field of higher education. His distinguished career includes being chancellor of the University of Nebraska at Omaha and president of the four campuses of the University of Nebraska system. He later was head of an international think tank and was administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development under President George H. Bush. Roskens currently is the president of Global Connections, a business-consulting firm. Roskens, a native of Spencer, Iowa, earned his doctorate at the UI in 1958.

-Edward Wegman is a mathematical visionary who has been a major force in shaping the evolution of modern computational statistics. He has worked not only in university settings, but also for the U.S. Navy and other governmental organizations. His research at the Office of Naval Research helped him coin the phrase "computational statistics" and develop a high-profile research program around the concept that computing resources could transform statistical techniques and methodologies. Wegman resides in Fairfax Station, Va. and currently is the Bernard J. Dunn Professor of Information Technology and Applied Statistics and the director of the Center for Computational Statistics at George Mason University. Wegman earned a Ph.D. in 1968 and a master's degree in 1967, both from the UI.

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

-Orville Bloethe of Victor, Iowa, has been giving back to his hometown and his university community for more than five decades. Orville is a nationally recognized attorney specializing in tax and estate planning who practices in Victor, and is a leading authority on estate planning for farmers. Bloethe has been Victor's city attorney for 56 years -- even representing those without adequate financial resources -- and school board secretary for some 40 years. He also is a loyal UI contributor who has supported his alma mater through gifts of time and resources. He is a significant contributor to the State Bar Association and served with distinction as a fund-raising leader for Kirkwood Community College. On a local level, he and his wife invest in student scholarships and also sponsor an innovative program that brings Victor high school students to Iowa City for dinner and a Hancher Auditorium event. Bloethe gradated with a bachelor of science in commerce degree from the UI in 1941, and returned to earn his law degree from the UI in 1947.

-Elizabeth Sele Mulbah is a nurse educator, teacher and humanitarian who has spent a lifetime helping to ensure that the people in her home country of Liberia can lead healthy, happy lives. She has worked as a community health development officer and with the United Nations to help reconstruct rural housing. As a nursing educator, health-care advocate and peace promoter, Mulbah has traveled the globe, applying her Iowa nursing education to the task of building better communities and serving humanity. She is currently serving in her country's transitional government as advisor to the National Chairman on Health and Social Welfare. She completed a master's degree in nursing service administration at the UI in 1977.

The 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. Awardees are:

-Dr. James Clifton of Iowa City, an accomplished physician, teacher and administrator, assisted in guiding the creation of today's health-sciences campus. He completed his internal medicine residency at the UI in 1951, and later returned to the university, serving as chief of the Division of Gastroenterology from 1955 to 1971 and then as head of the UI Department of Internal Medicine. Clifton also spearheaded the creation of the UI Center for Digestive Diseases. During his career, he also served on boards and committees of several national medical institutes and associations. Clifton returned from a short retirement in 1990 to serve as interim dean of what is now the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine. Clifton held this position for two years, guiding the college through a significant reorganization. After his retirement, he helped establish the UI Emeritus Faculty Council.

-Dr. Ignacio Ponseti of Iowa City is renowned for having developed the Ponseti Method -- an innovative, nonsurgical way to treat clubfoot. His gentle technique and special way with children have earned him the respect and gratitude of countless patients and families. A medical graduate of the University of Barcelona, he treated wounded combatants during the Spanish Civil War before coming to the UI in the mid-1940s. Though Ponseti left the operating room at the age of 70 in 1984, he continues to see patients, whose parents seek him out because of his gentle technique and special way with children. He also continues his research and has published a book, "Congenital Clubfoot: Fundamentals of Treatment," which came out in 1996.

The Distinguished Young Alumni Award honors UI graduates under the age of 40 who have attained significant accomplishments in their personal or professional lives. This year, the award goes to Mark Shapiro, the executive vice president of programming and production at the ESPN network. The Glenview, Ill. native made good use of his time at Iowa, completing a bachelor's degree in political science and communications in 1992 while simultaneously working at NBC, helping produce television coverage for sporting events around the world. In 10 years at ESPN, Shapiro worked as a producer and then became senior vice president and general manager of programming in 2001 Just one year later, he was promoted to his current position, responsible for development, acquisition and scheduling of all programming for the ESPN networks. Shapiro has earned several sports broadcast awards and had six Emmy Awards to his credit. In 2003, Shapiro was named a rising star in Entertainment Weekly's annual "101 Most Powerful People in Show Business." He resides in Westport, Conn.

The Distinguished Friend of the University Award honors those individuals who are not Iowa alumni but who have provided outstanding service on behalf of the UI. This award goes to Ruby Holden, a wife, mother, businesswoman and mentor from Williamsburg, Iowa. After helping her husband, Roland, raise a family and build what is now one of the world's largest seed-corn research operations, Holden became a generous philanthropist. In memory of Roland, she and her family made a $25 million landmark gift to benefit cancer research at the UI. At the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Roland and Ruby Holden Cancer Research Laboratories, researchers are working to fulfill Holden's dream of finding a cure for cancer

The Distinguished Hickerson Alumni Recognition Award recognizes graduates or former students for outstanding contributions to the alumni association. This award, named in honor of Loren Hickerson, who was the UI's first full-time alumni director, goes to L.D. McMullen, CEO and general manager of the Des Moines Water Works. He has expertly guided the city's water resources through times of both calm and crisis. When the infamous floods of 1993 hit the Midwest, McMullen skillfully restored the city's water supply through some remarkable engineering. In addition, McMullen is a national expert in the area of water-resource management and has offered his expertise on a variety of water issues and initiatives across the globe. The Des Moines resident earned three degrees from the UI: a bachelor of science in civil engineering in 1968; a master's degree in 1972; and a Ph.D. in 1975.

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

MEDIA CONTACT: George McCrory, 319-384-0012,