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University of Iowa News Release

April 21, 2006

UI Recognizes Students, Faculty, Alumni At Annual Finkbine Dinner

The University of Iowa honored several outstanding students, faculty and an alumnus on Tuesday, April 18, at the 89th anniversary Finkbine Dinner for Representative Student Leaders, one of the university's most prestigious award ceremonies, at the Iowa Memorial Union. 

This year's dinner was emceed by  N. William Hines, dean emeritus, and Joseph F. Rosenfield, Professor of Law of the UI College of Law. Remarks were offered by UI President David Skorton and Darrell Wyrick, recipient of this year's Hancher Finkbine Alumni Medallion. UITV will broadcast the dinner at a later time. Check listings for day and time.

The event began in 1917 to honor campus leaders and give them an opportunity to meet administrators, faculty, fellow students and alumni. The dinner is named after William O. Finkbine, a Des Moines businessman and an 1880 UI law graduate.

In addition, several awards were presented for student and faculty excellence.

The tradition of awarding Hancher-Finkbine medallions began in 1964. The awards, which recognize outstanding leadership, learning and loyalty, are named after Finkbine and Virgil M. Hancher, who served as president of the UI from 1940 to 1964. Nominations for the student awards are solicited from recognized student organizations and collegiate deans. Awards were presented by UI President David Skorton.

The winners of this year's Hancher-Finkbine Medallions include:

Hancher/Finkbine Undergraduate Student Medallion: Lauren F. McCarthy, Urbandale; Andrew Mark Thomas, Des Moines.

McCarthy's awards and honors include the Presidential Scholarship, Provost Scholarship and the Donald B. Johnson Scholarship. She was recently inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and completed a term as vice president of the University of Iowa Student Government. She served as the executive director of Bijou Theatre and as a member of the Daily Iowan editorial board and the Library Charter Committee. She is currently a member of the Dean's Student Advisory Committee and a 10,000 Hour Show volunteer. Academically, McCarthy has been an undergraduate research assistant for faculty in the departments of History and Political Science and was an orientation student advisor and Honors Program Diversity Series Coordinator.

Thomas is a senior majoring in economics, history and political science. A Presidential Scholar, Thomas has received many honors and awards, including a Frank Knight Scholar in economics and membership in Phi Beta Kappa. He has worked as an undergraduate research assistant for faculty in Economics and Political Science. Thomas served as the president and treasurer in the UI Mock Trial team, where he developed and implemented recruiting strategies to increase membership retention. Thomas currently serves as chief of staff for the UI Student Government and is president of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean's Student Advisory Committee representing student interests. He serves on the board of directors of the Iowa Children's Museum and is co-founder of the Paperback Rhino, a community comedy group.

--Hancher/Finkbine Graduate/Professional Student Medallions: Sara Ann Brenner, Adel; Sarah Celeste Vigmostad, Fairfield.

Brenner is a fourth-year medical student who is a member of Life Affirming Medical Professionals and the Global Medicine Society. She served two terms as president of Alpha Kappa Kappa. Brenner was also elected to two consecutive terms to the administrative board of the Organization of Student Representations of the Associations of American Medical Colleges and served three years as Iowa's primary representative.  She earned first place in the 2004 Carol Bowman Writing Contest and was recently named a national recipient of the American Medical Association Foundation's Leadership Award. In 2005, she volunteered with Helping Hands Medical Missions in Cotija, Mexico, where she assisted in providing free medical care. 

Vigmostad is currently in the final stage of completing her doctorate in biomedical engineering. Vigmostad has made substantial research contributions through publication and presentations that have been recognized by both national and University of Iowa awards. In 2005 she received the United States National Congress on Computational Mechanics Student Fellowship. As president of the Graduate Student Senate, the primary governing body for graduate students, Vigmostad led efforts to significantly increase student participation. Under her leadership, the Graduate Student Senate has taken on a more substantial role in service projects and public engagement. Vigmostad was also instrumental in the establishment of the Dean's Graduate Student Advisory Council in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

--Hancher Finkbine Faculty Medallion: Paul R. Greenough, professor of history and professor of community and behavioral health.

Greenough received his B.S. in history from Columbia University and M.A. and Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago. He has been a pioneer in the social history of disease and has written many articles, reports, book reviews and other scholarship. He is currently studying and publishing on the history of the eradication of smallpox. As director of Global Health Studies program, Greenough has encouraged others to offer a range of courses that have changed the traditional pre-med offerings. He has also been instrumental in initiating programs and raising funds to sustain these programs, including Crossing Borders and Teaching in International Studies.

--Hancher Finkbine Alumni Medallion: Darrell D. Wyrick

Wyrick is a graduate of the UI College of Engineering, where he received a B.S.C.E. degree in 1956 and a Master's degree in 1957, both in chemical and biochemical engineering. He has devoted almost his entire professional career to fund raising and educational development. When he joined the University of Iowa Foundation in 1962 he was the only full-time employee. Under his guidance the Foundation grew throughout the next 36 years into a multi-million-dollar organization with more than 100 full-time employees. Under Wyrick's leadership, the UI Foundation helped to dramatically transform the UI campus, raising funds for everything from student scholarships and faculty fellowships to new facilities and groundbreaking research. Wyrick has served on the board of directors for the UI Research Foundation and the UI Alumni Association. He is a member of the Old Capitol Club, the UI College of Engineering Development Council and the Distinguished Engineering Alumni Academy. He received the UI Distinguished Alumni Award for Service in 1992.

--Distinguished Student Leader Certificate (recognizes students who have exhibited meritorious qualities in leadership, learning and loyalty): Matthew Brown, Iowa City; Joshua Edward Everts, Dubuque; Darren Samuel Hoffmann; Florin Ilie Oprescu, Romania; Michael Ryan Schmidt, Des Moines; Treniece La'Shay Terry, Lafayette, Ind.

Brown is a senior industrial engineering student and recipient of the prestigious Presidential Scholarship. He has also received numerous other awards and honors, including Rhodes Dunlap Collegiate Scholar Award and Theta Tau Award of Outstanding Academic Achievement. He has been on the Dean's or President's Lists every semester for academic performance. Brown has performed research for several years in the Cognitive Systems Lab and completed an internship with Accenture Consulting. He has served as an engineering teaching assistant, an engineering student ambassador and webmaster. He served in student government for the Men in Engineering Learning Community, as an officer in both Theta Tau professional fraternity and Tau Beta Pi honorary organization, and as a mentor in the Engineering Mentor Program. Brown also received a UI Worklife Improving Workplace Award in 2004.

Everts is a fourth year dental student who ranks first in his class. He is one of 40 dental and medical students nationally selected for a week-long American Medical Student Association Primary Care Leadership Training Program and serves as president of the Iowa Chapter of the American Student Dental Association. He has received the Dean's Leadership Award every year and is recognized on the National Dean's List. Everts currently serves as an undergraduate mentor for the Health Science Learning Community. He has also volunteered for mission dental work in Costa Rica and Jamaica. For this service, Everts received the Certificate of Recognition for Volunteer Service in a Foreign Country from the American Dental Association in 2005.

Hoffman is a graduate student in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology (A&CB). Among the awards he has received for his research include the Merck New Investigator Award from the American Heart Association, the New Investigator Award for U.S. Fellows and the Cardiovascular Section Research Recognition Award from the American Physiological Society. He is a regular presenter at national research conferences with 17 peer reviewed abstracts and research publications. Recognized as an excellent teacher with three Superior Achievement in Student Teaching awards from A&CB department, as well as the UI Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award, Hoffman has completed the Certificate of College Teaching. He also received the M. J. C. Hendrix Graduate Leadership Awards in 2005. He is also a member of Graduate Student Senate and a student representative to the Graduate Council.

Oprescu is enrolled in a dual degree program, working on a Ph.D. in community and behavioral health in the College of Public Health and an MBA in the Tippie College of Business. As a teaching assistant in Community and Behavioral Health, he taught a course required of all MPH students. He is also a research assistant for the Iowa Center for Evaluation Research. At the Tippie College of Business, he has been a member of the MBA innovation challenge team that has been ranked among the top 15 most innovative MBA teams in the world. Currently president of the College of Public Health student organization, Oprescu is also a member of the Tippie Leadership Association. In 2005 he founded the Center for Health Policy and Public Health at Babes-Bolyai University Cluj in Romania, dedicated to public health issues.

Schmidt is a senior political science major with a Spanish minor. He is a Presidential Scholar, a State of Iowa Scholar and has earned recognition on the Dean's List for his academic achievement. He serves as a UI Student Government senator, chair of the UISG Constitutional Review Committee, vice chair of the Wesley Foundation's Board of Directors, webmaster for the 10,000 Hours Show, and vice president of UI Habitat for Humanity. His summer internships with the State of Iowa judicial branch, the Federal Probation Office and the Iowa Attorney General Office have given him direct experience with the criminal justice system.

Terry is a graduate student in chemical and biochemical engineering who has received fellowship awards from the Alliance for Graduate Education and Professoriate (AGEP) Program and the GEM consortium. Her graduate research has resulted in 10 publications/conference proceedings with additional publications and presentations anticipated during the coming year. Terry is vice president of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemist and Chemical Engineers and program director for the Black Graduates and Professional Student Association (BGAPS). In addition to promoting minority student activities in the UI and across the country, Terry is also an active participant and member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the Epsilon Gamma Iota National Social and Service Organization for Engineers.

Other awards announced at the dinner were:

--Philip G. Hubbard Human Rights Award. This award is presented by the UI Human Rights Committee to a student who has made the most outstanding contribution to the advancement of human rights, the award is named after UI's first tenured African-American professor, a member of the first Human Rights Committee, and vice president for student services.

Eugenio Mollo, Jr., Chicago, Ill. A third year law student, Mollo is dedicated to service on behalf of disadvantaged peoples, specifically immigrants, farm workers and racial and sexual minorities. He was cited as a Distinguished Student Intern for his work with the Citizens for People with Disabilities in Cedar Rapids and with the Peer Action Disability support group, a grassroots advocacy organization. He worked on asylum cases as an intern in the UI College of Law Legal Clinic and participated in the clinic's outreach program to the growing immigrant Latino community in Muscatine, through the new Iowans' Center. Mollo has taken on a project to help a local group, Friends of the Immigrant, headquartered in St. Patrick's parish, assisting them with filing legal papers for incorporation and non-profit status. He is also active in Phi Alpha Delta and OUTLAWS, where he chairs the activism committee.

--Robert F. Ray Faculty Representative Award. This award is presented by the UI Board in Control of Athletics to a male and female student-athlete who demonstrate outstanding academic excellence, athletic excellence and leadership. The award is named after a former dean and long-time UI faculty representative to the Big 10 Conference.

Chaitu Malempati, Belle River, Ontario. A senior psychology and pre-med major, Malempati competes on the Hawkeye men's tennis team as a singles and doubles player. Malempati played number 1 singles in 2004 and this year plays at number 4 singles. As a psychology and pre-medicine student, Malempati has twice been named to the Dean's List, is a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, and has earned the silver medallion (3rd award) given by the Presidential Committee on Athletics to student athletes who sustain a cumulative GPA to earn a varsity letter. He is a three-year member of the Iowa Student Athlete Advisory Committee, has held office two of those three years as the Social Committee Chair in 2004-05, and currently serves as its chair.

Stacy May, Reno, NV. A senior infielder for the Hawkeye softball team, May majors in accounting and physics. She has earned Academic All-Big Ten honors for three years, was named to the Dean's List and was a silver medallion recipient by the Presidential Committee on Athletics. On the field, she was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year, was a first-team all-conference selection, received Big Ten Player of the Week honors and selected to the All-Big Ten Tournament Team while starting all 59 games at third base. She led the Hawkeyes in hits and tied a school record for multiple home-run games. As a junior, Stacy was named to NCAA Region V all-tournament team, the all-Big Ten Tournament team selection, ESPN the Magazine Academic All-America District 7 selection, started all 64 games at shortstop and lead the team in batting average, runs scored, hits, doubles, at-bats and total bases. 

--M.L. Huit Faculty Award. This award is presented by members of Mortar Board and ODK honor societies to a faculty member who demonstrates dedication to, concern for and interaction with students. The award is named in honor of a former dean of students.

David G. Wilder is an associate professor in biomedical engineering in the College of Engineering, and occupational and environmental health in the College of Public Health. Wilder received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Vermont and joined the faculty in the UI College of Engineering in 1994. As the director of the Impact/Vibration/Seating Lab and the Ergonomics Section of the Iowa Spine Research Center, Wilder's record of publication is extensive, and his research on disorders of the spine has broken new ground. His hands-on approach to teaching has made him a popular presenter at local schools and a well-liked professor. 

--James N. Murray Faculty Award. This award is presented by the Beta Iota Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa honor society to a non-tenured faculty member who demonstrates outstanding rapport with students and creates an exemplary classroom atmosphere. The award honors a former UI political science professor.

Tung Yin joined the faculty at the UI College of Law in 2002 as an associate professor.  He received his B.S. in economics from the California Institute of Technology and an M. J. and J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. Yin is recognized by students for his energetic and passionate teaching style and his active research into constitutional law and the war on terror and its implications on our society. He also authors a blog, frequently referenced by other law professors, on which he regularly comments on current political, legal and pop culture issues. His service to students includes his position as faculty advisor for several law school organizations including the Asian American Law Students Association, the Animal Legal Defense Fund and the National Security & Law Society. Yin is also active in career services for students by helping them attain judicial clerkships.

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

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010,