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University of Iowa News Release


May 23, 2007

UI Alumni Association Presents 2007 Distinguished Alumni Awards June 9

The UI Alumni Association (UIAA) will honor 13 notable alumni and friends of the University of Iowa with the Distinguished Alumni Award, the organization's highest honor, at a Saturday, June 9 luncheon in the Levitt Center on the UI campus.

The public is invited to join the UIAA in recognizing these individuals at this luncheon from noon to 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $22 per person and can be purchased by calling the UIAA at 319-335-3294 or 800-469-2586.

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 four categories: Achievement, Service, Faculty, and Friend of the University.

The Distinguished Alumni Award for Achievement is given for significant accomplishments in business or professional life or for distinguished human service. UIAA gave these descriptions of seven recipients:

Matthew Bucksbaum built one of the country's first shopping malls in 1954. His company, General Growth Properties, now owns more than 220 shopping malls, including West Des Moines' Jordan Creek Center and Coralville's Coral Ridge Mall, with reported sales of $3.2 billion in 2005. He has been listed in the Fortune 400 list of the 400 Richest Americans. Bucksbaum has supported the UI and is a passionate champion of many community and nonprofit organizations. He received his bachelor's degree from the UI in 1949.


William H. DeKock has operated an orthodontics practice in Cedar Rapids for 35 years and has been an adjunct professor in the UI College of Dentistry. Serving as past president of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), DeKock was instrumental in bringing orthodontists together from all over the world to form the World Federation of Orthodontists in 1995. The UI College of Dentistry's 1993 Dental Alumnus of the Year, DeKock last year received the James E. Brophy Distinguished Service Award from the AAO. He earned three degrees from the UI: a bachelor's degree in 1960; a Doctor of Dental Science in 1963 and a Master of Science degree in 1967.

Franklin D. Gilliam Jr. is a leading scholar on race in America. His research has focused on black political participation, evolving into an investigation of how the media portray minorities. Gilliam is associate vice chancellor for community partnerships, professor of political science, associate director of the Center for the Study of American Politics and Policy, and founding director of the Center for Communications and Community at the University of California, Los Angeles. Gilliam received a master's degree from the UI in 1978 and a doctorate in 1983.


Ida M. Moore is internationally known for her distinguished research career in the field of pediatric oncology, helping childhood cancer patients and survivors. Moore has devoted her scholarly studies to understanding the impact of cancer treatments on the central nervous systems of children, resulting in landmark findings that have helped alter therapies so that they remain effective weapons against cancer, but do not harm a child's neurocognitive development. The recipient of millions of dollars in research funds, Moore serves as professor and director of the nursing practice division at the University of Arizona's College of Nursing. In 1973, she earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from the UI, followed by a master's degree in 1978.

Kay Johnson Mussell is a scholar-teacher who established herself in American literature and the broader field of popular culture. Mussell has spent her career at American University in Washington, D.C., where she has held many leadership positions. At American University, she has served as director of the American Studies Program, director of the College Writing Program, chair of the Department of Literature, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Mussell earned her bachelor's (1965), master's (1970) and doctorate degrees (1973) from the UI.


Glenn Schaeffer is a leading hotel executive and a potent philanthropist in the business community of Las Vegas and the literary world. After studying fiction writing at the UI and earning a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1977, Schaeffer went on to a career as a Vegas resort executive, where he helped develop the Mandalay Mile, the world's largest integrated resort complex. Driven by a love for the arts, he's also founded a letterpress, established Las Vegas as the first U.S. "City of Asylum" for refugee writers, funded creative writing fellowships, and made the primary donation for a library and archives at the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

Robert P. Stearns is co-founder and retired chairman of SCS Engineers in Long Beach, Calif. He has been recognized nationally for his contributions to environmental engineering and solid waste management and has developed innovative engineering designs that helped establish today's international landfill gas-to-energy industry. Stearns has worked on many assignments around the world, controlling the movement of landfill gas into occupied spaces and reducing the emission of the potent greenhouse gas into our atmosphere. He is a 1960 graduate of the UI, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering.

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

This award is given posthumously to Michael New, the former president of the UI Foundation, who earned a bachelor's degree from the UI in 1964 and a master's degree in 1967. New planned and executed the largest capital campaign in the history of the University of Iowa, raising $1 billion through the "Good. Better. Best. Iowa" campaign.  An exemplary leader renowned for his warmth, kindness, and integrity, New led the foundation through a period of immense change and inspired its staff to new heights of effort and excellence. He worked tirelessly on behalf of the university for almost 30 years and made a real difference in the life of his beloved alma mater.

Recognized as a world leader in cleft lip and palate surgery, Samuel Noordhoff has literally brought smiles to the faces of countless children throughout Southeast Asia. Through four decades at the Chang Gung Memorial Hospital -- and thanks to his foundation that supports medical care for indigent children -- this medical missionary has operated on more than 10,000 patients with disfiguring birth defects in Taiwan alone. A 1954 graduate of the UI Carver College of Medicine, Noordhoff has also trained hundreds of doctors in the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Myanmar in craniofacial surgery.

A 1965 graduate of the UI, Stephen L. Ummel has served his profession in many ways. During the 1970s, he was instrumental in working with University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics director John Colloton to plan, fund, and systematically rebuild the university's clinical care system. Committed to containing costs, improving access to health care, and enhancing services, Ummel has provided guidance to many health organizations and is currently director of PriceWaterHouseCoopers Healthcare Advisory Practice in Chicago.

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 M. Joe Brennan. From an administrative assistant to an associate dean, Joe Brennan has a long and distinguished career at the UI that spans several departments and 44 years. During his 28 years at the College of Dentistry, where he was eventually responsible for a budget of more than $32 million, he earned a reputation as an astute business professional with remarkable dedication to his colleagues, his college, and his university. Through his service to various professional organizations, Brennan also has contributed enormously to the field of dental education on a national level.

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. The 2007 Friend Award goes to Ronald W. and Arlene M. Holden, who are supporting research breakthroughs that could cure cancer. From their home in Williamsburg, Iowa, the Holdens continue the legacy left by Ronald's father, Roland, who founded the successful Holden's Foundation Seeds company and who lost his own battle with cancer in 1995. Since that time, the Holdens have given major philanthropic gifts to support UI cancer research, and the important work under way now at the university's comprehensive cancer center and research laboratories would not be possible without the generosity of these extraordinary community leaders.

Additional information about current and past award recipients can be found at

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,; Program: UIAA, 319-335-3294 or 800-469-2586