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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 1, 2007

Photos: Nicolle Wolken and UI Mom of the Year Roxann Wolken; UI Dad of the Year Don Nelson of Atkins and his daughter, Amanda Nelson. Click on the thumbnail images to download high-resolution versions of the photos.

UI Mom of the Year, UI Dad of the Year recognized

The University of Iowa honored Roxann Wolken and Don Nelson as the UI Mom of the Year and the UI Dad of the Year, respectively, at the Iowa-Michigan State football game on Saturday, Oct. 27.

Every year, the University of Iowa Mom of the Year and Dad of the Year awards recognize two of the many outstanding parents who support their students. The winners are selected on the basis of their achievements and dedication to their families.

Wolken and Nelson were introduced at the University of Iowa Family Weekend Black and Gold Tailgate at Hubbard Park, and presented with their awards during ceremonies at Kinnick Stadium.

Mom of the Year Roxann Wolken of Marshalltown, Iowa, was nominated for the award by her daughter, Nicolle Wolken. Roxann, a nurse at the Iowa Veterans Home and an active member in her community, is seen as a caring figure for all the members of her family. On many occasions, Roxann has opened up her home for use by members of her extended family. In addition, she held a job while going to school in order to better provide for those living under her roof. Seventeen years ago, Roxann’s husband was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Since then, she has continued to work and care for him while raising three daughters. Wolken’s daughters describe her as always being supportive and more concerned with what she can give, rather than receive.

Dad of the Year Don Nelson of Atkins, Iowa, was nominated for the award by his daughter, Amanda Nelson.  Don, director of technology at LimoLink in Cedar Rapids, is an active member of his church and a supportive father. After his wife was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis early in their marriage, he not only helped care for her, but also worked full-time. Recently, he became the support system for his two daughters, following the loss of their mother. Amanda describes him as the “glue” that has held their family together, and she appreciates how he has always put his family first.

The Mom of the Year honoree is selected by Mortar Board, a national honor society that recognizes college seniors. The Dad of the Year honoree is selected by Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society for upper-level students. The Parents Association is a co-sponsor of the awards program.

All UI students can nominate their parents for the annual awards, which have been an Iowa tradition for more than 50 years. The application includes a list of the parent’s occupational achievements, community activities, volunteer work, and personal accomplishments and honors. In addition, students write essays describing their parents’ personal characteristics, what they’ve done for the students or others, and why their parents should represent all Iowa parents.

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

MEDIA CONTACTS: Andrea Kann, University of Iowa Honors Program, 319-335-1932,; George McCrory, University News Services, 319-384-0012,