Due to the pandemic, the 25 Year Club won't hold its 86th annual banquet as planned March 1 to honor Iowa State employees who have worked at the university for notably lengthy and continuous stints. But the honorees still will have a chance to enjoy a meal acknowledging their service.
"While unfortunate, canceling our annual banquet was a necessary precaution as we adhere to Cyclones Care behaviors on campus," said Deb Vance, president of the 25 Year Club and the assistant director of the International Students and Scholars Office.
The 137 employees to be recognized this year for their work anniversaries achieved in 2020 -- 75 newcomers employed at Iowa State for 25 continuous years, 49 for 35 years, nine for 45 years and four for 50 years -- are eligible to receive a $50 voucher to dine at one of numerous Ames restaurants.
Honorees will receive an email next week with more information about signing up for the voucher. TIAA, which has been the primary sponsor for the club's annual banquet for several years, will provide financial support for the vouchers.
There will be no virtual ceremony, though honorees will receive a note of appreciation from President Wendy Wintersteen as well as an award for their years of service -- a pen, paperweight, tumbler or plaque -- and a discount coupon from the ISU Book Store. Honorees also will be asked to contribute favorite memories or milestones from their years of service at Iowa State, with a selection to be highlighted on the club’s website.
Club officers are optimistic that the banquet will be back as usual next year. In fact, the date is already on the calendar: Feb. 28, 2022, in the Scheman Building.
The club's efforts uphold a tradition that's more than a century old. The 25 Year Club traces its roots to an informal convocation in 1915 and was formally founded in 1934 by Col. Harold Pride, the first director of the Memorial Union. Over its long history, more than 3,400 university employees have become members of the club, which requires at least 25 years of continuous service to join.
"Some of the great Iowa Staters of the past, with names like Curtiss, Buchanan, Marston, Knapp, Davidson and more, knew that it's important to recognize years of dedicated service to the university, and we do, too," said Vance. "That's the tradition we carry on, to honor the long-serving women and men of the faculty and staff who personify Iowa State University."