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University of Iowa News Release


March 23, 2011

UI to confer honorary doctorates on Myers, Stead

The University of Iowa will bestow honorary doctorate degrees on former Iowa Rep. Richard Myers and UI benefactor and alumnus Jerre Stead this spring. The Iowa Board of Regents voted unanimously today to grant the honors, which will be presented during May commencement exercises.

myersBorn in Iowa City, Myers is known as a successful local business owner with an extensive record of public service. He served in the U.S. Army for eight years. His experience as an elected official spans nearly 40 years and includes nine years as city council member and mayor of Coralville (1969-78), 11 years on the Johnson County Board of Supervisors (1982-93), and 10 years as a state legislator, six of them in leadership positions. An alumnus of City High School and Kirkwood Community College, he built Hawk I Truck Stop in Coralville as his primary business (1961-2000), and established Hawk I Harley Davidson in 1994.

His community involvement also includes a year as state director of the Farmers Home Administration (an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture), serving on the board of directors for the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce, the Mid-Eastern Council on Chemical Abuse (MECCA) and the Sixth Judicial District, and serving as chair of the Iowa City Area Development Group.

As a six-term state legislator, he was a long-standing advocate for education in general and the UI in particular. Known for straight talk and a sense of humor, he understood the needs of higher education and effectively pointed out its value to the community, state and nation. He was a fervent supporter of scientific research, and despite his busy schedule, he frequently made time to discuss his experiences as a legislator with students in UI political science courses.

"As a businessman and in politics, Dick Myers built a reputation for integrity, leadership and common sense. Throughout his four decades of public service and civic participation, he set a fine example for Iowa students and the entire university community – one that our society would do well to honor and emulate," UI President Sally Mason said. "I'm pleased to bestow an honorary doctorate in recognition of his accomplishments and in gratitude of his steadfast support for education."

steadA Maquoketa native, Stead received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the UI in 1965 and began a long career in leading high-tech and information companies.  He currently is chairman and CEO of IHS Inc. He previously served as chairman and CEO of Ingram Micro, Legent Corporation, Square D Company and Honeywell-Phillips Medical Electronics.  He also served as executive vice president of AT&T and president and CEO of AT&T Global Information Solutions.

He has been a generous contributor to the UI, particularly to the Tippie College of Business, where his gifts have established one of the largest computer labs and technology service groups on campus. The Stead Technology Services Group (STSG) in Tippie bears his name, and he serves on the Tippie Board of Visitors and teaches a class on policy and strategy every year in the Tippie Executive MBA program.

Stead also is co-chair of the fundraising campaign for the UI's academic medical center with his wife, Mary Joy, who is a member of the UI Foundation board of directors.
He has served on 34 corporate boards during his career. In 2009, the Outstanding Directors Exchange honored him as one of the Outstanding Directors. He currently serves on the boards of directors of Brightpoint, Inc., and Mindspeed Technologies, Inc.  He chairs the Alzheimer's Research Institute and the Garrett-Evangelical Seminary at Northwestern University, and serves on the Salk Institute Board of Directors. 
He has been profiled in such publications as Forbes and Bloomberg Businessweek as an executive who values the people who work in his business, and as a business leader for whom ethics and values are an important part of how a company operates.

"Jerre Stead has used his University of Iowa education to build great companies that develop innovative new technologies and employ thousands of Americans, but most importantly he's done it with integrity, humanity and humility," said Mason. "He has given back to the university his time, expertise and financial resources, happily sharing what he can offer with students and faculty across the campus."

Myers will receive his honorary degree during the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences commencement May 14, and Stead will receive his during the Tippie College of Business commencement May 15.

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

MEDIA CONTACT: Stephen Pradarelli, 319-384-0007,; Writers: Nicole Riehl and Tom Snee