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University of Iowa News Release


Aug. 22, 2008

New professorship at UI honors engineering alumnus William D. Ashton

The University of Iowa College of Engineering has established its 17th endowed faculty position with the creation of the William D. Ashton Professorship in Civil Engineering. The new professorship honors UI engineering graduate William Ashton of Davenport, Iowa.

The professorship is supported by the Ashton Professorships Fund at the UI Foundation, which was created by a recent major gift commitment from the Ashton Family Foundation in Dallas, Texas.

A longtime and generous supporter of the university, Ashton received Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in civil engineering from the UI in 1962 and 1963, respectively. He founded Ashton Engineering Inc. in Davenport, Iowa, in 1982, and he is a member of the college's Distinguished Engineering Alumni Academy.

"Bill Ashton commands the highest respect of the engineering community," said P. Barry Butler, dean of the UI College of Engineering. "His name is synonymous with professionalism, ethics and upholding the highest of engineering standards. We are very proud indeed to have a professorship in our college named in his honor."

After graduating from the UI, Ashton served as chief of the Structural Design Section, Rock Island Corps of Engineers, and in 1970 earned the title of Quad City Engineer of the Year for his work on the 2,600-foot Milwaukee Railroad Bridge over Saylorville Reservoir. He has traveled throughout the United States as well as abroad to India, Ghana and other countries on many water-related projects. He received the U.S. Department of the Army Meritorious Civilian Service Award in 1974 and the Army Certificate of Appreciation in 1978. His extensive community service includes the Rotary Club of Davenport, where he served as board member and president and led service trips to India for National Immunization Day against polio and to Guatemala to design rainwater capture systems.

In 2004 Ashton and his brother, 1964 UI engineering graduate Jim Ashton of Dallas, Texas, provided the cornerstone gift to the UI Foundation to enable construction of the Ashton Cross Country Course at the UI. The brothers made their gift in memory of their former Hawkeye cross country coach, the late Francis X. Cretzmeyer. William and Jim Ashton were both letter winners on the Iowa Hawkeyes cross country team, and William is a former UI Varsity Club president.

One of 11 colleges on the UI campus, the College of Engineering teaches disciplines in biomedical, chemical and biochemical, civil and environmental, electrical and computer, industrial and mechanical engineering. The college excels internationally in several specialty and interdisciplinary research areas, such as computer-aided design and simulation, human factors, environmental health solutions, biotechnology, medical imaging, hydraulics and water/air resources, photopolymerization, and nanoscience and nanotechnology. All six engineering programs have close teaching and research ties with the five UI health sciences colleges.

The UI acknowledges the UI Foundation as the preferred channel for private contributions that benefit all areas of the university. For more information about the UI Foundation, visit its Web site at

PHOTOS: A high-resolution photo of William Ashton is available at

A web-sized photo of William Ashton is available at

STORY SOURCE: UI Foundation, P.O. Box 4550, Iowa City, Iowa 52244-4550

MEDIA CONTACT: Matt Henderson, UI Foundation, 319-350-3663;; Writer: Nic Arp