U of I president speaks to Marshalltown Rotary

University of Iowa President Sally Mason presented the program at the Tuesday meeting of the Marshalltown Rotary club.

Larry McKibben got things underway with a prayer and Pledge of Allegiance following a fine dining luncheon at Elmwood Country Club. Seventy-eight people were in attendance and guests included Phil Mayberry, Tammy Lichtenberg, Carmen Willmore, Chad Wehrman and Marki McKibben.

Student Rotarians Abigail Snyder, Wynn Tan, Sharissa Stansberry and Adam Willman introduced themselves and shared a bit about their activities and plans.

Todd Eipperle announced the May birthdays and anniversaries which included one of each for Pat Apgar who celebrates his 67th year of membership in the club. Carrie Barr asked members to be thinking of hosting foreign exchange students for Rotary. The Rotary Youth Exchange is considered by some to be the gold standard of such programs.

After a news report by Conrad Dejardin, Bill Fitzgerald presented a recap of the inspiring leadership conference he and Bonnie Lowery attended last week. The Bunny Harper Memorial Golf Tournament is held in conjunction with this Rotary District 6000 conference and raises money for the Rotary Foundation. For the first time in the 35 year existence of the tournament, the Marshalltown team of Aiddy Phomvisay, Dennis Drager, Tom Apgar and Fitzgerald returned with the winning trophy.

Lowery then introduced Sally Mason. Mason is the first in her family to attend college and has earned degrees from the University of Kentucky, Purdue University and the University of Arizona. She became just the 20th President of the University of Iowa in 2007. Lowery’s introduction contained a long list of successes and diverse accomplishments the university has achieved during Mason’s tenure.

Highlighting the mission of the University, Mason stressed that success in carrying out that mission is dependent on many partners. She described legacy relationships that the University shares with Marshalltown. Mason championed the leadership of local attorney and Rotarian Larry McKibben for heading up the Board of Regents comprehensive efficiency review. Paul Hermanson has been practicing in Marshalltown since he graduated from the U of I in 1975 and currently serves as adjunct professor for the university. Phil Mayberry with Emerson is an advisor to the College of Engineering, is heavily involved with the alumni association and is on the I-Club Board at the national level.

More than a decade ago, the Wolfe Clinic Foundation established a permanent endowment with the university to support one of the most prestigious lectureships of its kind in the nation. Mason described student success and making life better for Iowans as two of the key pillars in the University’s strategic plan. She noted that half of the doctors and pharmacists and 80 percent of the dentists that practice in the state were educated at the University of Iowa. Cards at each table illustrated the impact the university has on Marshall County.

Presently there are approximately 100 Marshall County students attending the University and the alumni living in the county number about 550. Following a video illustrating the good things happening at the University of Iowa, Mason took questions from the audience.