Quiet spot

Ghani Ebrahimi, a December graduate of Iowa State with a master's degree in industrial engineering, takes advantge of some solitude in the Parks library reading room Monday, the official start of summer session. Ebrahimi is gearing up to pursue a Ph.D. in industrial engineering.

Orienting 6,000

Liz Kurt and her new student programs team are preparing to welcome about 6,000 admitted students, and their family members, to campus during 22 orientation sessions next month. Most of the students are would-be members of this fall's freshman class; an estimated 400-500 are transfer students. They'll come from as far away as California and New York to launch their college careers -- or, in some cases, to continue to ponder their options.

"Coming for orientation doesn't mean they're enrolling at Iowa State," Kurt said. "Some of these students are still looking at multiple schools."

Relocations to note

Orientation students may be looking for these services, which recently moved:

  • IT Services' Solution Center, 192 Parks Library (Net-IDs, email accounts, student computers)
  • Residence staff, 136 Union Drive Community Center, for the summer (housing contracts, meal plans)

Of the 5,800 prospective freshmen attending last summer's orientation sessions, Kurt said 32 percent hadn't previously made an official campus visit. Some of those "have always known they wanted to come to Iowa State" -- and a campus tour wouldn't change that. For others, it adds some weight to their orientation visit.

And can the campus community help persuade them?

"Yes. Be helpful, be kind," Kurt said.

When they'll visit

Transfer students participate in a one-day orientation on Monday, May 23, or Friday, July 1. Incoming freshmen, in groups of about 300, participate in a two-day orientation. The first of 20 sessions begins Tuesday, May 31; the last one concludes on Thursday, June 30. Two sessions begin on Sunday this year, June 5 and 26.

What they'll get done

Orientation students will receive an introduction to their home colleges, meet their academic advisers and register for fall classes. They'll get their ISU Cards, Net-IDs and email accounts; learn about financial aid options and how their U-Bill works; and get lots of advice from current ISU students on transitioning to college life. Several student affairs offices hold open houses and ISU choir and marching band representatives are on hand in Music Hall. Numerous tours are available to them, including campus, residence halls, sorority or fraternity houses and Parks Library.

Locations they'll use

Orientation families will park at the Maple-Willow-Larch residence complex and check in at the Hixson-Lied Student Success Center. Those spending the night on campus will stay in Maple Hall. The colleges will use auditoriums in Hoover, Design, Troxel, LeBaron, Gerdin and Kildee halls for their large group afternoon events. Other locations that will receive heavy use include the Curtiss auditorium (financial aid and university billing sessions), Solution Center in Parks Library (Net-ID and email registration), Beardshear (ISU Card processing and financial aid appointments) and the Memorial Union (resource fair, day sessions for family members, housing tours, meals, shopping and evening sessions). Visitors will take their evening meal in the Union Drive Community Center and breakfast in either the MWL Commons or the Memorial Union.

Orientation families will move about campus on foot and on the CyRide orange shuttle. As in the past, you'll recognize orientation students by their red string bags; family members will have oatmeal-colored canvas bags bearing the university nameplate.

Strategic plan headed to regents for final OK

With President Steven Leath's recent approval, Iowa State's next strategic plan is one step away from official status. The plan also must be approved by the Iowa Board of Regents, which is expected to take action this summer.

The FY2017-22 plan was eight months in the making.

"The university community really came through," said Steve Freeman, chair of the strategic plan steering committee and University Professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering, "Some 100 faculty, staff, students and external stakeholders put in busy months on the committees that drafted sections of the plan.

"And many others in the community provided valuable input throughout the process -- participating in open forums, sending ideas and, finally, reading the public draft with a critical eye and offering concrete suggestions."

Areas of focus

Freeman noted that the plan runs from July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2022, and is built on four areas of focus:

  • Ensure that students receive an exceptional education
  • Conduct high-impact research
  • Improve the quality of life for all Iowans
  • Enhance the university climate for both the ISU community and visitors

Living document

"This strategic plan is viewed as part of the continuum of moving the university forward, not a stand-alone plan with a specific start and end," Freeman said. "It will be reviewed on an annual basis to ensure that it is a living document that is guiding the university forward."

Leath named to NCAA board of directors

President Steven Leath has been named to the Division I board of directors of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) as the representative of the Big 12 Conference. 

Steven Leath


He will begin serving his four-year term June 1.  

"I would like to thank Dr. Leath for his willingness to serve the Big 12 membership and represent the conference on the council," said Big 12 Conference Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. "His understanding of the dynamics of intercollegiate athletics within the context of higher education and engagement on addressing its challenges will be amplified in this leadership position."

The NCAA is a voluntary organization through which colleges and universities govern their athletics programs. Division I comprises nearly 350 colleges. Collectively, these schools field more than 6,000 athletics teams with more than 170,000 student-athletes.

Visitors keep campus busy during summer

Many events -- from local to global -- will bring thousands of visitors to campus this summer. The following is a look at the groups (expecting 100 or more participants) that Iowa State will welcome over the next couple months.

Group Dates Participants Housing Venues    
Special Olympics Iowa summer games May 19-21 3,000 yes Lied, Forker, Beyer, Hilton
Odyssey of the Mind World Finals May 25-28 12,000 yes Campus-wide  
New student orientation May 23-July 1 6,000 yes Campus-wide  
USA Ultimate Iowa High School Championships June 4 100 no Rec fields  
PEGASAS (Partnership to Enhance General Aviation Safety, Accessibility and Sustainability) annual meeting June 7-9 150 no Town Engineering  
International Social Theory Consortium Conference June 9-10 125 no Morrill  
Agriculture Credit School: Iowa Bankers Association June 13-17 100 no Scheman  
OPPTAG summer youth programs June 13-July 22 400 yes Campus-wide  
USA Track and Field Iowa state meet June 18-19 1,000 no Cyclone Sports Complex  
USA Hockey Bantam Central District Select Camp June 19-24 150 yes Ames/ISU Ice Arena  
Cyclone Volleyball camps June 21-23, 12-14, 25-27 400 yes Forker, Hilton, Lied  
Miniature Hereford Breeders Association Junior Nationals June 22-26 200 no Hansen Ag Center
School Foods Short Course June 23, 19-21 445 no Scheman  
GoServ Global 5th Anniversary Celebration June 25 350 no Sukup Endzone Club  
Iowa 4-H Youth Conference June 28-30 830 yes Campus-wide  
Iowa Reading Association Conference June 28-29 600 no Scheman  
BravO National Dance Competition July 5-10 1,000 no Iowa State Center  
Universal Dance Association Camp July 7-10 150 yes State Gym  
Iowa Masters Golf Tournament July 8-10 100 no Veenker golf course  
Iowa Games July 9-10, 15-17, 22-24 14,500 no Campus-wide  
Project Lead the Way core training July 10-22 285 yes Howe, Sukup, Elings  
National Cheer and National Dance associations July 15-17 200 yes State Gym  
83rd Annual Custodian/Maintenance School July 18-22 100 no Scheman  
National Beep Baseball World Series July 24-30 500 no Rec fields  
Mary Greeley Medical Center Birthday Party Aug. 7 1,000 no Scheman  


Tracking a freshman class

Meeting this week in Cedar Falls, the state Board of Regents' education and student affairs committee received the regent universities' annual report on student retention and graduation.

This chart tracks the progress and decisions of three freshman classes.

What they do

ISU freshman class entering:


Fall 2009

Fall 2007

Fall 2005

Left after 1 year




Left after 2 years




Left after 3+ years








Graduated after 3 years




Graduated after 4 years




Graduated after 5 years




Graduated after 6 years








Returned for 7th year








All percentages are rounded to the nearest whole number

Source: Annual Report(s) of Student Retention and Graduation Rates to the state Board of Regents

Colorful facade

Workers raise a panel of knit squares into place on building front

Photo by Christopher Gannon.

(Pictured) Workers lift a section of knitted panels into place on the facade of Design on Main May 10 in downtown Ames. More than 1,000 knitted and crocheted squares sewn into 37 larger panels will blanket the building front through June 1. "Intertwine," coordinated by Jennifer Drinkwater, assistant professor of art and visual culture in the College of Design and a community art extension specialist, was a project to encourage more people to participate in "public art" and to build connections among communities. Volunteers from dozens of Iowa towns -- and communities in 13 other states -- took her up on her invitation last fall. More photos.

Memorial Day ceremony is May 30

Iowa State employees, retirees, spouses, alumni and friends who died during the past year will be remembered at the university's annual Memorial Day ceremony on Monday, May 30. The ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. in the Reiman Ballroom at the ISU Alumni Center, 420 Beach Ave.

The ceremony will include:

  • An invocation by Matthew Martens, pastor at Lord of Life Lutheran Church, Ames
  • Prelude by Collegiate Brass of Collegiate United Methodist Church, Ames 
  • A reading of the names
  • A time for family, friends and colleagues to share memories of loved ones

Individuals who aren't available to speak can share comments about loved ones through an online form. The comments will be printed and displayed the day of the event and included the following week with all obituaries on the ISU Retirees website.

In addition to ISU employees, retirees and spouses, the ceremony will recognize individuals who have passed away in the past two years and whose names appear on the Wall of Alumni and Friends at the ISU Alumni Center.

Parking is available on the east side of the Alumni Center.  The ceremony is hosted by the ISU Retirees Association. For information, contact Jerilyn Logue, 4-3192, or Angie Schaper, 4-5790.