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University of Iowa News Release

April 5, 2006

Northwestern Honors UI President Skorton With Alumni Merit Award

University of Iowa President David J. Skorton has been named a recipient of the  2006 Alumni Merit Award by the Northwestern University Alumni Association.

The award, presented during an April 1 ceremony and banquet at the Hotel InterContinental in Chicago, is given to alumni who have distinguished themselves by high achievement in their professions or endeavors.

Skorton, who will assume the presidency of Cornell University later this year, earned both of his degrees from Northwestern: a bachelor's degree in psychology from the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences in 1970 and an M.D. from the Feinberg School of Medicine in 1974.

A native of Milwaukee, Wis., he completed his residency at UCLA before joining the University of Iowa faculty in 1980. Subsequently he held joint appointments in the departments of internal medicine, electrical and computer engineering, and biomedical engineering. Skorton began serving as the UI vice president for research beginning in 1992, and vice president for research and external relations beginning in 2002, all while maintaining a cardiology practice. He was named UI's 19th president in January 2003.

While Skorton served as vice president for research at the University of Iowa, the level of sponsored research increased dramatically, and new and specialized facilities were completed for investigators to carry out critical research programs. During this time he created and helped to fund two programs to assist faculty with their scholarship -- the Arts and Humanities Initiative as well as the Biosciences Initiative -- that promoted collaborative research. A competitive seed-funding program called CIFRE was also started to nurture research programs of beginning faculty and staff. Each of these is ongoing today.

During his vice president for research period, Skorton also chaired the Iowa City Area Development Group, served on the Iowa Business Council, presided over the Iowa Research Council and co-founded and co-directed the Adolescent and Adult Congenital Heart Disease Clinic at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. He sustained his longtime interest in jazz, reflected in his continued study of saxophone and flute, his hosting of a weekly jazz radio show and his playing in a jazz combo.

A national leader in research ethics, Skorton is charter past-president of the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs, the first organization created specifically to accredit such programs. He has also served on national boards and committees for the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association, the American Society of Echocardiography, the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, the Association of American Universities and the Korea America Friendship Society.

Skorton's UI presidency has encompassed contributions to Iowa in a variety of ways that include:

-- The successful completion of a $1 billion fund-raising campaign, the first in Iowa's history. It focused on need-based student aid for the economically underprivileged and endowed professorships to attract and retain top faculty members.

-- Elevation of shared governance on campus by working closely with faculty, staff and students on significant issues, especially the management of budget challenges while protecting undergraduate education, the UI library system, student financial aid and other areas of core importance.

-- The Department of Athletics began reporting directly to the president, while codes of conduct for student-athletes and for recruited athletes were developed to assure Iowans the highest level of ethics in athletics.

--University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics extended its care giving to more Iowans while increasing emphasis on quality care and the people who provide it. In 2004 UIHC became the first Iowa hospital to attain Magnet Status, a recognition of the quality of its nursing professionals and others providing patient care.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009,