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University of Iowa News Release

March 17, 2006

UI To Celebrate First-Ever Graduate Student Recognition Week March 20-25

For the first time ever, the University of Iowa will bring under one umbrella an array of events honoring the contributions graduate students make to research, academia and campus life. The inaugural Graduate Student Recognition Week (GSRW) kicks off Monday, March 20, and culminates Saturday, March 25 with the annual James F. Jakobsen Graduate Student Conference.

One highlight of the celebration will be an appearance by "PhD Comics" creator Jorge Cham 7 p.m. Thursday, March 23 in the UI Main Library's Shambaugh Auditorium. Cham will speak, field questions and sign books featuring "PhD Comics," which may be seen at The comic has been called the Dilbert of academia and has appeared in more than 1,000 college newspapers worldwide. Cham's talk is free and open to the public.

Sandra Barkan, associate dean of the UI Graduate College, said GSRW was the brainchild of Graduate Student Senate President Sarah Vigmostad and other GSS members. The week will include many award ceremonies, luncheons and other events sponsored by UI graduate programs and the Graduate College as a way to more formally recognize and celebrate graduate students. She said it is expected to become an annual event.

"Sarah and her colleagues have worked extraordinarily hard to organize the week, garnering support along the way from departments and programs across the UI campus," Barkan said. "This is a great opportunity for the campus community to recognize the unique and vital role graduate students play at the UI in everything from research and mentoring to teaching and service."

One highlight of GSRW is the D.C. Spriestersbach Doctoral Dissertation Prize & L. B. Sims Master's Thesis Award Ceremony, hosted Friday, March 24 by the Graduate College to honor graduate students for excellence in master's and doctoral research.

Another event is the 2006 James F. Jakobsen Graduate Student Conference (formerly called the Jakobsen Forum), which will be held Saturday, March 25, in the Blank Honors Center. The Jakobsen Conference, sponsored by the GSS with support from the Graduate College, gives students in the social and natural sciences, humanities, and fine arts an opportunity to present their research and vie for cash prizes. The day -- and week -- conclude that evening with a Fine and Performing Arts Showcase and Awards Ceremony at the Levitt Center for University Advancement. These events are open to the public.

For a complete schedule of activities, visit the GSS website at

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

MEDIA CONTACT: Stephen Pradarelli, 319-384-0007,; Writer: Larry Mendenhall