Screen readers: Two navigational links to follow.Skip to site navigation.Skip to page content.
The University of Iowa News Services
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release


May 31, 2011

UI Alumni Association presents 2011 Distinguished Alumni Awards June 11

The University of Iowa Alumni Association will present the Distinguished Alumni Awards to 14 notable alumni and friends of the UI at a luncheon from noon to 2:15 p.m. Saturday, June 11, in the UI's Levitt Center for University Advancement.

The Distinguished Alumni Awards, presented annually since 1963, are the Alumni Association's highest honor. The awards recognize the outstanding achievements and service of UI alumni and friends. This year's awards will be given in six categories: Achievement, Service, Young Alumni, Faculty/Staff and Friend of the University, as well as the Hickerson Recognition.

The Distinguished Alumni Award for Achievement is given for significant accomplishments in business or professional life or for distinguished human service:

--As president of University of Oklahoma, Tulsa and dean of its College of Medicine, Gerry Clancy has transformed medical education at that institution. In creating the nation's first School of Community Medicine at the University of Oklahoma, Tulsa, Clancy has focused the university's resources on improving the health of all Oklahomans, but especially those in underserved rural and urban populations. Previously a faculty member at the UI, Clancy has received numerous awards, particularly in recognition of his compassionate work on behalf of the mentally ill and homeless.

--Leonard Feldt has dramatically changed the landscape of educational measurement and brought international renown to the UI College of Education. As director of the Iowa Testing Programs, Feldt transformed the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS) and the Iowa Tests of Educational Development (ITED) into two of the most widely used standardized achievement tests in the nation. In addition to bringing about significant improvements in how standardized tests evaluate student achievement, Feldt has mentored the next generation of leaders in his field.

--Katherine Halmi, a professor of psychiatry at Weill-Cornell Medical College, is internationally known for her pioneering work into the study and treatment of eating disorders. She brought scientific rigor to the field at a time when these illnesses were poorly understood and clinical trials were few. The recipient of more than $4 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health, Halmi has made outstanding contributions in the basic science of eating behavior, metabolism, psychopharmacology, and mechanisms of illness—as well as to the lives of her patients.

--In her distinguished career as a nurse scholar and researcher, Carol Smith has made exemplary achievements in the area of home care and "telehealth" -— the use of video phones and interactive websites to provide long-distance assistance and advocacy for patients who need complex health care at home. With her record of producing and disseminating research, this professor at the University of Kansas School of Nursing has helped families across the country deal with the immense emotional and financial challenges of major health crises.

--Throughout a 50-year career in physical therapy and sports medicine, Fred J. Zamberletti earned the unqualified trust and respect of his peers. Beginning as a student athletic trainer for the UI football team, he later became the Minnesota Vikings' first athletic trainer and a recipient of the Professional Football Athletic Trainer of the Year award. Affectionately called "Mr. Viking" or "The Man," he served faithfully under five head coaches and never missed a game. Now retired, Zamberletti remains a senior consultant and team historian for the Vikings.

The UIAA will also present three Distinguished Alumni Service Awards, honoring graduates who have provided commendable service to their nation, their communities and their UI family:

--As co-CEO of Chadick Ellig, one of the nation's premier global executive search firms, Janice Reals Ellig has achieved professional success and earned admiration for her efforts to advance women and minorities. Ellig also maintains close ties with her alma mater, serving on the UI Foundation's executive committee and board of directors, as well as on the UI College of Public Health building campaign committee, and on various university boards. Ellig also inspires students as a regular speaker at the Tippie College of Business and through a UI College of Public Health scholarship she funds in memory of her sister -- a UI sociology graduate, healthcare executive, and student mentor.

--Anita Hockett volunteers her time serving low-income patients as the founder and clinical director of the Missouri-based Volunteers in Medicine free clinic. The retired nurse has inspired countless healthcare professionals to join her cause, dramatically increasing the clinic's ability to provide care to people in need. Hockett's dedication has attracted the attention of the White House, and she regularly lends her expertise to state and national legislators as they consider the role of free clinics in health care reform.

--Through contributions to his profession, his community, and his alma mater, Robert Verhille has exemplified the spirit of giving back. Recognized as a pioneer in the insurance industry in Iowa, Verhille has always balanced his professional achievements with service to community organizations. His passion for volunteerism has been keenly felt at the UI, particularly at the UI Foundation, where he served for almost 20 years on the organization's board of directors.

The Distinguished Faculty/Staff Award is granted to retired or former UI faculty and staff in recognition of significant achievement or specific meritorious service on behalf of the quality and advancement of the university. This year, the UI Alumni Association is honoring John Strauss, professor and head of the UI Department of Dermatology for 20 years, for his contributions as a clinician, educator, and researcher in dermatology. At the UI, he has mentored students, acted as president of every major organization in dermatology, and received numerous leadership awards, including the highest honor bestowed by the American Academy of Dermatology. Strauss also holds a rare distinction as a gold level member of the UI Presidents Club, helping fund areas such as the Carver College of Medicine, Hancher Auditorium, and the Museum of Art.

The Distinguished Hickerson Alumni Recognition Award recognizes graduates or former students for outstanding contributions to the Alumni Association. This award is named in honor of Loren Hickerson, who was the UI's first full-time alumni director. This year's Hickerson Award recipient is Tom Lowenberg. Whether enthusiastically sharing his professional experiences with students as a guest seminar speaker or serving with distinction on the College of Engineering advisory board and the UI Alumni Association board of directors, Lowenberg excels at one of the most important roles an alumnus can play—extolling the achievements of one's alma mater in a compelling and persuasive way.

The Distinguished Young Alumni Award honors UI graduates under the age of 40 who have attained significant accomplishments in their personal or professional lives. The Young Alumni Award will be given to Jeff Kueter, Amanda Miller and Marta Van Beek.

As president of the Marshall Institute in Washington, D.C., Kueter is a leading national expert in the intersecting worlds of energy, the environment, space exploration, and national security. Kueter has a hectic schedule that includes testifying before Congress or being interviewed by national media. He has served on the UI Alumni Association board of directors and as president of the Capital Area IOWA Club in Washington, D.C. The first-ever recipient of the IOWA Club Leader of the Year Award, Kueter has helped his organization earn Best Club designation every year since 1999.

As an outstanding student and then alumna of the UI's Henry B. Tippie College of Business, Miller has repeatedly demonstrated her leadership and dedication to her alma mater. After graduating with an accounting and finance degree in 2002, Miller began a career as a senior international financial auditor and recently joined Google in its mergers and acquisitions finance group. One of the founders of the College of Business's Young Alumni Board, Miller helped organize a campaign to raise funds for a $250,000 endowed scholarship in memory of a fellow classmate who died in a tragic accident.

Van Beek has distinguished herself as a leader in academic medicine at the state and national level. A key member of the American Academy of Dermatology, she played an active part in the recent national debate over healthcare reform. Van Beek showed her outstanding potential early at the UI, where she earned the Hancher Finkbine Medallion and the Medical Student Service Award. Now director of the division of surgery in the UI Department of Dermatology, Van Beek recently received the prestigious North American Young Dermatologist International Achievement Award, given by the World Congress of Dermatology and the American Academy of Dermatology "for significant achievement in dermatology that stands as an example to all young dermatologists."

The Distinguished Friend of the University Award honors those individuals who are not Iowa alumni, but who have provided outstanding service on behalf of the UI. This year, the UI Alumni Association is honoring Richard F. Hansen. As founder, partner, and director of the Hansen Lind Meyer healthcare architectural firm, Hansen oversaw the planning and design of more than $1 billion in health facilities, including the UI Hospitals and Clinics. Hansen has since become one of the staunchest supporters of the UI College of Public Health, endowing a leadership award and lecture series, serving as an adjunct professor, and leading the campaign to finance the new building and support its students, faculty, and programs.

Additional information about current and past award recipients can be found at

Photos may be found at

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

MEDIA CONTACTS: UI Alumni Association, 319-335-3294 or 800-469-2586; George McCrory, University News Services, 319-384-0012,