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University of Iowa News Release


August 19, 2008

UI's Willard receives lifetime achievement award for governmental relations

Derek H. Willard, special assistant to the president for governmental relations and associate vice president for research at the University of Iowa, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges' (NASULGC) Council on Governmental Affairs (CGA) during the council's Aug. 7-10 summer meeting in Minneapolis.

The award was given "for outstanding contributions to the CGA, the governmental affairs profession and the higher education community over a lengthy career largely dedicated to university governmental relations."

Jordan Cohen, UI interim vice president for research, said, "This award is national recognition of Derek's leadership in building strong ties with our federal constituency and advocating for issues of utmost concern to higher education."

During some three decades of service to the university, Willard has seen the level of external funding rise from about $70 million annually to more than $386 million during fiscal 2008, with most of the support received from federal sources such as the National Institutes of Health. As Willard has often noted, the university has prospered in a difficult funding environment, making the achievement all the more remarkable. He has stated that the leadership provided by the Iowa congressional delegation's support of federally funded research has been a major driving force of the nation's economic growth and well-being.

In December 1999 Willard was appointed special assistant to the president for governmental relations and associate vice president for research, a position where he is the primary contact for federal relations activities and the university contact for inquiries from the Board of Regents. Previously, he served 17 years as associate vice president for research. In addition to his governmental relations responsibilities, he continues to support the university's research mission on selected issues through the Office of the Vice President for Research.

He is also associate professor in the Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry, where he was director of behavioral sciences before assuming his current positions. His research interests are focused on communication theory and research, including legal and ethical aspects of communication systems, and communication in health care systems and settings. Prior to coming to the UI, he was a faculty member at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Willard earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1964, a master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1968, and a doctorate from the University of Iowa in 1975.

The NASULGC is an association of 218 public research universities, land-grant institutions and state public university systems enrolling more than 3.6 million students. CGA representatives, designated by the presidents and chancellors of NASULGC institutions, are the principal points of contact between their institutions and their congressional delegations as well as federal agencies.

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

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, writer, 319-384-0009,