Iowa State celebrates its graduating students this weekend

Nearly 2,100 students are completing degrees at Iowa State this semester. Their achievements will be celebrated during two graduation events this weekend in Hilton Coliseum. The ceremonies also will be livestreamed.

Graduate students

Beate Schmittmann head shot

Beate Schmittmann

At a 7 p.m. graduate ceremony Friday, Dec. 16, an estimated 218 doctoral and 254 master's degree recipients will be honored. Beate Schmittmann, since 2012 the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and professor of condensed matter, will address the graduates. Schmittmann leads the university's largest college, with 21 departments and one professional school. Every undergraduate takes courses in the college. Prior to joining the Iowa State faculty, Schmittmann was a physics faculty member and administrator at Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg, for nearly 21 years.

Undergraduate students

Suku Radia head shot

Suku Radia

An undergraduate ceremony at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, will celebrate the accomplishments of an estimated 1,615 bachelor's degree recipients. Alumnus Suku Radia of West Des Moines, who retired in 2017 as chief executive officer (CEO) of the state's largest independent bank, Bankers Trust, will address the graduates. He is serving as an executive-in-residence in the Ivy College of Business. Previously, he served as vice president and chief financial officer for Meredith Corp., Des Moines (2000-08) and enjoyed a 25-year career with the financial services provider KPMG (1975-2000). He was elected to the Iowa Business Hall of Fame in 2010.

Born and raised in Kampala, Uganda, Radia came to the United States in 1971 to attend Iowa State, completing a bachelor's degree in accounting in 1974.

Honorary degree recipient

Daniel Houston head shot

Daniel Houston

Another ISU alumnus and distinguished member of the Des Moines business community will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters during Saturday's undergraduate ceremony. The university will recognize Daniel Houston ("HOW-ston"), chairman, president and CEO of Des Moines-based Principal Financial Group, as "one of the world's most influential business leaders." Houston was named to the Iowa Business Hall of Fame in 2019, a recognition of his contributions to improving and developing the state's economy. He completed a marketing degree at Iowa State in 1984, and has spent his 38-year career at Principal Financial. Houston and College of Design dean Luis Rico-Gutierrez led Iowa State's 2017 national presidential search committee.

Faculty in the marketing department nominated Houston for the honor. 

College-specific celebrations

Colleges will honor their graduating students during convocations held prior to the university commencement ceremonies. Most events will be livestreamed. Professional students (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine) in the College of Veterinary Medicine graduate once a year, in May. The college convocation schedule is: