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University of Iowa News Release

June 2, 2006

Thomas Jefferson "T.J." Anderson Marvin Bell Shanto Iyengar Ruth Van Roekel McGregor David S. Milch Ronald K. Ross Jerome K. Sherman
Luther H. Smith Greg Ganske Gary J. Streit Jude P. West Russell A. and Ann Gerdin Tom H. Gelman

UI Alumni Association Presents 2006 Distinguished Alumni Awards June 10

The UI Alumni Association (UIAA) will honor 14 notable alumni and friends of the University of Iowa with the Distinguished Alumni Award (DAA), the organization's highest honor, at a Saturday, June 10, luncheon in the Levitt Center on the UI campus.

The Distinguished Alumni Awards, presented annually since 1963, recognize the outstanding achievements and service of UI alumni and friends. This year's awards will be given in five categories: Achievement, Service, Faculty, Friend of the University and the Hickerson Alumni Recognition. Full details of current and past DAA recipients can be found at

The Distinguished Alumni Award for Achievement is given for significant accomplishments in business or professional life or for distinguished human service. This year, the UIAA honors eight recipients:

--Thomas Jefferson "T. J." Anderson, who earned his doctoral degree from the UI in 1958, is a professor of music emeritus at Tufts University. Anderson has published more than 80 musical works and is regarded as one of the most important American composers of our time. His music combines classical Eastern and Western traditions with the modern African-American experience.

--Marvin Bell, who earned his master of fine arts degree from the UI in 1963, is professor emeritus of creative writing at the UI. As a professor in the Iowa Writers' Workshop from 1965 to 2005, Bell taught generations of poets and published 18 volumes of poetry and essays. Known internationally as a talented poet, he has been named Iowa's Poet Laureate twice and is credited for helping the UI's creative writing program gain widespread fame.

--Shanto Iyengar, Chandler Chair in Communication and director of the Political Communication Lab at Stanford University, is one of the world's leading scholars on the relationship between media and politics. He researches the nature of contemporary national and world politics. Iyengar earned his master's degree in 1971 and doctoral degree in 1972 from the UI.

--Ruth Van Roekel McGregor, Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, has devoted her life to the law and is recognized as one of the leading judges in the nation. In 2005, she was honored as the second-ever recipient of the American Judicature Society's Dwight D. Opperman Award for Judicial Excellence.  McGregor earned her bachelor's degree in 1964 and master's degree in 1965 from the UI.

--David S. Milch, writer for shows such as "Hill Street Blues" and "NYPD Blue," has had his hand in creating some of the most groundbreaking television programs in the last 20 years. During his career, Milch has received four Emmy Awards, three Writers Guild Awards and three Humanitas Prizes. He earned his master of fine arts from the UI in 1970.

--Ronald K. Ross, whose research in the causes and prevention of cancer has brought hope to sufferers of the disease, earned his master's and medical degrees from the UI in 1975. As chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Southern California and deputy director of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ross was internationally recognized for his work. Ross lost his own battle with cancer in April 2006; he received his award in February 2006.

--Jerome K. Sherman, professor emeritus of anatomy at the University of Arkansas, developed a method for preserving sperm while working on his doctorate at the UI. Known widely as the father of cryobiology, Sherman established the world's first human semen cryobank in Iowa City in 1953 and went on to produce a body of work that has served as an international model for tissue preservation. He received his doctorate from the UI in 1954.

--Luther H. Smith served as one of the original Tuskegee Airmen before earning his bachelor's degree at the UI in 1950. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Purple Heart, the Prisoner of War Medal and several other honors for his participation in 133 combat missions in World War II. After receiving his degree, Smith went on to enjoy a successful engineering career with General Electric, acquiring two patents and publishing many technical documents.

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:

--Greg Ganske has served the State of Iowa as a noted reconstructive surgeon and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. From 1995 to 2003, he addressed issues such as health care reform, the cost of higher education and bioterrorism while representing Iowa's Fourth District. Ganske earned his bachelor's degree in 1972 and medical degree in 1976 from the UI.

--Gary J. Streit is noted as being one of the best taxation and employee benefits lawyers in America, as well as a devoted volunteer to the American Cancer Society (ACS) and other nonprofit organizations. The Iowa State Bar Association honored Streit with the Community Service Award for his efforts. He has also received the ACS Saint George Medal for outstanding contributions to the control of cancer. Streit earned his law degree at the UI in 1975.

The Distinguished 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. This year, the UIAA is honoring one retired professor:

--Jude P. West is co-director of the university's Iowa Nonprofit Resource Center, where he helps build and strengthen nonprofit operational capacities throughout the state. A professor emeritus in the UI's Henry B. Tippie College of Business, West taught generations of businessmen and women. He is recognized as a knowledgeable teacher in all areas of organizational operations. West earned his doctorate at the UI in 1969.

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 University of Iowa.

--Russell A. and Ann Gerdin have committed their time and energy to the university and, in particular, its student-athletes for a number of years. The Gerdins' generosity made possible the Russell and Ann Gerdin Athletic Learning Center, and the couple has also supported the UI Athletics Hall of Fame and the UI athletics scholarship fund. 

The Distinguished Hickerson Alumni Recognition Award is granted to graduates or former students for outstanding contributions to the University of Iowa Alumni Association. This award is named in honor of Loren Hickerson, who earned his bachelor's degree from the UI in 1940 and served as the UI's first full-time alumni director. This year, the UIAA is honoring one recipient:

--Tom H. Gelman, an Iowa City lawyer and active area volunteer, received the Iowa State Bar Association's Community Service Award and the Iowa City Public Library's Friend of the Year and Volunteer Recognition awards. Gelman serves as a volunteer for the UIAA, the University of Iowa, and other community organizations. He earned his law degree from the UI in 1978.

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

CONTACTS: Media: George McCrory, 319-384-0012,; Writer: Kelli Andresen.