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University of Iowa News Release


April 6, 2011

Two UI staff members win Lola Lopes Award for Undergraduate Student Advocacy

Two University of Iowa staff members have won the 2011 Lola Lopes Award for Undergraduate Student Advocacy in recognition of their support of undergraduate students. The recipients are Megan Allen, director of records and retention in the College of Engineering Student Development Center, and Emil Rinderspacher, senior associate director in the Office of Admissions.

The award, which is administered by the Office of the Provost, was created in 2006 as a way for the university to recognize administrators, staff or faculty outside of their teaching role who serve as strong and effective advocates for undergraduate students and the undergraduate experience. Recipients receive a $1,000 honorarium and a certificate, and their names are added to a plaque that will be displayed in the Admission Visitors Center. 

A committee of staff, faculty and students selected the recipients.

Allen, director of records and retention for the College of Engineering, was chosen because she cares deeply about students' experiences at Iowa and what everyone can do to make them better. In addition to Allen's efforts to ensure that engineering students receive the best possible advising, she has actively expanded her role to include interaction with prospective students, involvement in summer orientation programs and coordination of the college's highly successful tutoring program, which recruits outstanding undergraduate mentors to work directly with other students on engineering coursework.

"She was the driving force behind a major expansion of the tutoring program to meet its potential and to meet the needs of a much larger first-year class," committee members wrote in their nomination materials. "She continues to contribute her leadership to the program's success -- even changing her work schedule to be available during its weekend and evening hours. Her flexibility and creativity in responding to student needs has significantly improved the college's ability to provide individualized and personal attention to students."

Rinderspacher, senior associate director in the Office of Admissions, was chosen because he has been a key contributor to the university's invigorated student success mission over the past decade.

Nominators wrote, "His ideas about how to serve incoming students and retain current students are highly valued across campus, as evidenced by his participation on countless campus-wide committees, including the Student Success Team, First-Year Experience Task Force and Higher Learning Commission Reaccreditation Subcommittee on Entry and Transition.

"Many successful initiatives such as first-year seminars, living-learning communities, Pick One and the IOWA Challenge bear his stamp. Currently he serves as co-chair for On Iowa!, a new kind of orientation program that aims to start students off on a path of success and involvement by creating a bonding experience and immersing them in the university's traditions and expectations. Rinderspacher's commitment to student success was evident when he served as one of the university's original orientation student advisors, and he has continued to demonstrate that commitment over many years of dedicated service to the university."

The award is named in honor of Lola L. Lopes, former associate provost for undergraduate education and professor emerita of management and organizations in the Tippie College of Business. Lopes served as interim executive vice president and provost during 2007-08.

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

MEDIA CONTACT: Beth Ingram, Provost's Office, 319-335-3565,