Be prepared: Severe weather season is here


Photo courtesy NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL).

Talk of severe weather in Iowa often conjures up images of tornadoes, which are certainly a possibility as spring and summer storms ramp up. But more common dangers are lightning and flooding, especially as work and recreational activities move outdoors.

Here's a quick reminder from ISU's environmental health and safety (EH&S) department and the National Weather Service about how to stay safe from lightning, flooding and tornadoes. EH&S also has free weather radios and shelter signs available for ISU departments and buildings. Contact EH&S, 4-8090, for more details.

For all severe weather

  • Be aware of weather conditions at all times, especially if severe weather is predicted
  • Sign up for an email or text alert from local television stations
  • Download a weather app for smart phones or mobile devices (many are free)
  • If you receive a severe weather message, spread the word to your co-workers and family members, especially those who work outside

For lightning

  • All thunderstorms produce lightning. If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to harm you
  • If you are planning outdoor activities, know where to go for safety and how long it will take to get there
  • Consider postponing outdoor activities if thunderstorms are predicted
  • If you hear thunder -- even in the distance -- move to a safe place. Fully enclosed buildings are best. Sheds, picnic tables, tents and covered porches do not protect from lightning. If no safe buildings are nearby, jump in a car (with a hard metal top) and close all the windows. Stay put for at least 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder.
  • Don't use a corded phone while it's thundering and lightning, unless it's an emergency. Cordless and cell phones are OK.
  • Don't take a bath or shower (or use any plumbing fixtures) during a thunderstorm since water pipes conduct electricity

For flooding

  • Head to higher ground if a flash flood warning is issued for your area
  • Don't walk through floodwaters. As little as 6 inches of rushing water can sweep you off your feet.
  • Don't drive through floodwaters. Most cars can be swept away in less than 2 feet of moving water.
  • If you live or work in a flood-prone area, consider gathering emergency supplies, such as:
    • Three-day supply of nonperishable food and water
    • Flashlight
    • Seven-day supply of medications
    • Copies of personal documents (insurance policies, birth certificates, deed/lease to home, etc.)
    • Cell phone with charger
    • Tools for securing your home
    • Insect repellent and sunscreen
    • Extra sets of car and house keys
    • Camera to shoot photos of damage to your property

For tornadoes

  • If you hear a tornado siren while inside a building, go to a windowless interior room on the lowest level; bathrooms often are best.  Avoid buildings with large expansive roof structures, like the Armory. Many campus buildings have designated storm shelters.
  • If you are walking across campus and hear the tornado siren, get to the nearest building and follow the same procedures
  • If you are driving a car and debris begins flying around you, pull over and park. Your next two options are:
    • Stay in the car and buckle your seatbelt. Keep your head below the windows and cover it with your hands or a blanket.
    • If you can safely get to a ditch or area lower than the road, exit the car, lie down and cover your head

For additional severe weather safety information, visit the EH&S or the National Weather Service websites. 

Regent Lang sends off graduates

Craig Lang of Brooklyn, an Iowa State alumnus and recently re-elected president of the State Board of Regents gave this May 5 commencement address to 3,000-plus graduates in Hilton Coliseum.


Graduates, parents, grandparents, distinguished guests, President Leath. It is an incredible honor for me to speak with you today. Congratulations on your graduation from this fine institution.

Because of your experiences at home and your education at Iowa State, you can be anything you desire to be…and what you become may be different than what you planned.

It took me nearly 30 years to realize the opportunities my education gave me. It took me another 10 years to realize that I have a purpose in life that is strongly tied to where I was born and the Iowa State instruction I received. Ralph Waldo Emerson stated, “The philosophy of waiting is sustained by all the oracles of the universe.”

For each of you, I hope finding your purpose doesn’t take nearly so long. I can without hesitation tell you working to fulfill your niche in life brings unequaled satisfaction and content.  Patience is a key characteristic to finding your niche because life’s greatest experiences, those things leading up to knowing your purpose, will come from where you least expect them.

You are college graduates. Be proud. Make the most of each day and start your journey in life  on the correct foot. No matter where you are in life, no matter what your occupation, no matter what your successes are or the number of setbacks occurred, the education you received here and the experiences you’ve had will help you along the way.

Life is a journey. Grasp each day with enthusiasm and look to find those things in life that bring you happiness. The journey to find your role as it relates to mankind may take a while. So ask the right questions along the way and never stop looking for ways to improve and strengthen those things in life you love doing. Face life’s defeats as learning points and your successes with humility.

As I look back over the years since I graduated, I would not have done anything differently to find my purpose, even though it did take nearly 40 years. I, like many of you, set goals for myself that were suitable for the year I graduated. Of course 39 years later, they seem small and easy thanks to the advancement of the technology and communication you’ve learned here on campus. I wanted to be the best dairy farmer in the country and, armed with a dairy-science degree from Iowa State, why not. I was so enthused to get started, I skipped my college graduation.

Graduation day, on the farm

There are important points in your life you remember, like a high school musical where you had a lead role and it turned out perfectly. Or the day you get married…and your first born baby. For some reason, I distinctly remember my graduation day from ISU. It was a warm, sunny day (in fact, it was hot). I was home tearing out a fence to make a larger cattle lot.  Before you jump to any conclusions, 40 years later I realize I should have been here. Because that day was not just about me or this day only about you.

This day is a celebration, justly as important to those that helped you with your education. FOR A MOMENT, THINK ABOUT WHO THAT IS IN YOUR LIFE and take a moment to thank them.  I’m sure the reason I remember the temperature and activity on my graduation day is because, deep down inside, I knew I should have been here. My mother made it quite clear to me how disappointed she was that I skipped my graduation.

I realize now that each step you take in life is not just about you or me, but they are footsteps that include others.  An unknown author said, “The future lies before you, like a field of driven snow, be careful how you tread it, for every step will show.”

I was eager to graduate, filled with vigor and determination to make big and bold changes to the world I was to live in. I had four great years at Iowa State, but I was eager to break out. As I think about it, I wasn’t the only one eager to graduate. There were a number of my teachers and professors just as eager to see me go. I wasn’t a model student.  And I’m sure my college buddies would not believe that I’m addressing your graduating class.

 Much has changed in the nearly 40 years, since my graduation. Such as: You actually have a choice for food after midnight. We had the truck stop or maybe a half empty vending machine. We watched TV shows like Floppy and Bonanza, while you probably watch "The Big Bang Theory" or "Modern Family." Yet the heart and soul of all of us remains unchanged. Your ability to achieve your personal goals starts with you and the tools you’ve received here.

As I look out at your class, I see proud parents and friends. I see educators who have helped equip you with the most modern in education and skills. I see grandparents happy and proud. But most important to me is, I see hope for tomorrow. I see a group of innovators and entrepreneurs. I feel enthusiasm for setting the world on a correct  path.

Let both sides unite

And finally, let both sides unite to heed in all corners of the earth the command of Isaiah to “Undo the heavy burdens -- and let the oppressed go free.”

Each and every one you have a responsibility to start the next chapter of life by helping one another conquer the needs of our world. We live in a world that seems so polarized around issues and policies that are incredibly important to life and sustainability. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Armed with your education, solve our world’s problems and strive to make everyone’s footsteps lighter and more productive.

Each day, every footstep you take is part of a larger plan for the reason you exist. Each step you take will leave a print towards your legacy on earth.

My story of an eager graduate turned out exactly as I planned for the first 20 years. Everything went along smoothly without a hitch: a college degree; more cows, greater production, more farm land, a great marriage, a terrific wife, healthy, wonderful and beautiful children. What a great start. The sky was my limit, and then, my health status changed.

 A diagnosis that I had a form of muscular dystrophy. A short time later, I underwent major back surgery. Combining the two would ultimately limit my farming career. I love working with nature and especially dairy animals. But you really need good ambulatory skills to work with livestock.  Muscular dystrophy forced my wife Mary and I to really ask ourselves some honest questions. What are we going to do now? Mary was a full time nurse, but everything we had built together depended upon my ability to grow the farm and continue to milk more cows. For the first time we needed to consider something different. We made a decision to follow opportunities in what I loved doing -- growing food and farming.

 During this time of uncertainty, a state farm bureau organization director position became available and we decided I should run for that position. After all I had been a county director for a few years because Mary felt I needed a hobby, something to add value to my life beyond working 80 hours a week.

Mystery or miracle

Mystery or miracle, you decide. There were five candidates running for this position in my respective district of 11 counties and my good luck was running thin. I could not find anyone to second my nomination for this election. It seemed like everyone I asked had a reason to nominate or second someone else. What would you do if you knew you needed a second and no one was willing to commit? Mary and I decided to let fate predict the outcome.  That is something I would not do today. I was the first to be nominated by my county president. Our strategy was, by being first nominated, someone would be kind enough to second me. Didn’t work. When the chairman asked for a second, no one spoke up. In fact he asked for a second twice and then a third time. No response. Can imagine how we felt? I remember whispering to Mary, “I guess that’s it.”

As the next four candidates were nominated and received their seconds my spirit continued to drop lower and lower until finally there was one last call from the chairman for any more nominations for district director. And mystery or miracle at its finest from the back of the room a young man stood up and said it would be his honor to second the nomination of Craig Lang. Totally unexpected. The rest is history. I won that election and many more.

I never planned to rise through the ranks of Iowa’s largest volunteer organization to become one of their longest serving president. I never planned to be chairman of a billion dollar insurance and financial company.  I never planned to be the one who would shepherd this same billion dollar company, through the world’s worst financial meltdown since the great depression. But I did and I know my college education helped.  

And I never planned to be president of the Iowa Board of Regents. And the list goes on.

My college education and the lessons I’ve learned along the way and the support of true friends have helped me in every footstep I’ve taken.

Without question, what drives me and carries me each day is a desire to make a difference. I feel compelled to help others improve their position, whether it is an affordable education, a better job or the ability to help others learn to feed themselves. I’m thankful that my previous job introduced me to a world full of need, not just Iowa’s farmers and rural communities. Far beyond our farm fences and community skylines lays a world that doesn’t treat its citizens with parity. This obvious lack of parity has led me to believe that everything in life happens for a reason and every citizen should do their best to help someone else.

I believe my health, was an introduction to what God really intended for my family and me. Muscular dystrophy is not a weakness. To me it has become a turning point of opportunity.  This disease has strengthened me to look at our world in a more accurate way, to help me focus on more important needs. My international trips to India, China, Africa, South America and other far reaching destinations have given me a strong sense of purpose. You can’t travel the slums of Nairobi, Kenya, Changchun, China, or New Delhi, India, and not come back changed. My experiences traveling to some of the poorest areas of the world have influenced my resolution in life and, more importantly, those same experiences have strongly influenced the way I considered policy. I am no longer satisfied with status quo nor am I willing to only consider popular viewpoints. The disparities of our world, both locally and internationally, will not be solved by popular opinion.

For each of you graduating today, the direction and heights of achievement you reach are also determined by your perceived failures. Defeats and setbacks should be considered as simply an event in learning. I never anticipated losing a re-election for president of an organization I had given everything to for nearly 20 years.

I can now say because of personal experience, “You haven’t fully lived until you’ve been defeated in a race you knew you could and should win.” For each of you looking to lead in your field, you will find that as your experiences in leadership build and requests for your personal attention multiply, you will without doubt make a few mistakes and consequently a few enemies.

You will also find a career setback has a ripple effect that reaches far beyond oneself.  It affects your family, the business you represented and your friends, too. In the end, what is really important about a loss is do you know you made a difference and improved the field for others while you were there.

I also know that we don’t always have certainty as to what is best for ourselves, but we have a divine Creator who does. Treating a defeat as a learning experience will help you develop stronger character, stronger determination and stronger values. How you react to life’s larger defeats and victories will leave vivid footprints for others to either follow or avoid.

Lead with integrity, honesty, honor

The good news is: Graduates, if you lead with integrity, honesty and honor our world full of new adventures and opportunities will find you. 

Graduation is a beginning. Keep close the things you love doing. For each of you graduating, be patient. Regardless of the length of time it may take to hit your stride, continue to listen to your heart. Seek the help of your friends and don’t shy from unknown territory that offers opportunity.

Life’s greatest victories are ones that are shared with others and life’s highest compliment is to have others want to walk in your footsteps.  

Five finalists named for registrar post

Campus interviews are scheduled over the next 10 days for five finalists for Iowa State's university registrar post. Their campus visits include a one-hour open forum (3-4 p.m., Memorial Union Gold Room) on the dates listed below. The finalists' resumes are available on the VP for Student Affairs website.

The five finalists, with open forum dates, are:

  • May 3: Marla Herron, senior associate registrar, University of Kansas
  • May 8: Tammy Aagard, university registrar, University of Wyoming
  • May 9: Laura Doering, senior associate registrar and director of transfer relations, Iowa State
  • May 10: Earl Hawkey, director of registration and records, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
  • May 11: Karen Jarrell, assistant provost and university registrar, University of Texas, Dallas

A downloadable form with which to evaluate the finalists also is online; all evaluation forms should be returned by 5 p.m. Monday, May 14, to Rose Wilbanks, 2350 Beardshear.

Kathy Jones, Iowa State's registrar since 1996, also serves as associate vice president for student affairs. She plans to remain in the latter post through December.

James Dorsett, director of the office of international students and scholars, and associate provost Dave Holger are co-chairing the search committee.

Instructors invited to apply for electronic textbook pilot this fall

Instructors who are selected to participate in an electronic textbook (eText) experiment on campus this fall will earn free electronic textbooks for their students and likely gain insights into the feasibility of offering course materials in this electronic format.

Iowa State is among 50 universities participating in an eTexts pilot program this fall. This pilot was inspired by an electronic textbook initiative begun at Indiana University in 2009 and adopted this spring by five more universities (University of California, Berkeley; Cornell University; University of Minnesota; University of Virginia; and University of Wisconsin).

More info

See eTexts at ISU.

Now, two national organizations devoted to information technology in higher education, Internet2 and EDUCAUSE, have expanded the scope of the electronic textbook study to involve 50 universitites, including Iowa State and the University of Iowa.

"While there are many electronic textbook pilots under way, this is probably one of the few that are not being conducted by publishers or vendors," said Jim Twetten, academic technologies director. "Educause and Internet2 really are trying to do something here to help institutions figure this out. We're pleased to be a part of this study and expect to learn a lot."

Universities involved in the pilot will help assess the effects of electronic textbooks on student learning and explore potential new business models, Twetten said.

Iowa State will pay a $20,000 participation fee, which entitles the university to include up to 20 course sections or 800 students in the fall pilot program. There will be no cost to participating departments or students. Funding, which will go to offset the costs of the eTexts and eReader, is being provided by IT Services, as part of its ongoing emerging technology explorations.

About the eTexts

Students in the pilot will access their electronic textbooks using Courseload's eReader/annotation software.  The eReader will be integrated with Iowa State's Blackboard Learn management system and works on just about every device with a browser, including most of those that run Windows, Mac OS X, iOS or Android. Students may print part or all of the eTexts, or for a small fee, obtain copies from a third-party, print-on-demand service.

Selecting participants

Twetten said a group representing many organizations on campus, including the University Book Store (UBS), will oversee the semester-long pilot and its impact on the users, as well as campus processes.  A portion of that group will help select courses for the pilot.

"We hope to end up with an assortment of smaller and larger courses, with breadth across disciplines," he said.

Instructors who apply for the pilot must be willing to:

  • Be part of a national survey on electronic textbook use
  • Use one of the McGraw Hill eTexts that are designated for the pilot. "There's a large list of designated eTexts," Twetten said, "so if you're already using a McGraw Hill textbook, chances are good it's on the list."

Twetten said those who have already submitted textbook information to the UBS should let him know when applying for the pilot. The eText pilot project team will need to check with the UBS textbook department to determine if it's feasible to include that course in the pilot, he added.

How to apply for the pilot

Those who'd like to be considered for the pilot should send an email to Twetten ( 

Senators receive promotion and tenure report

Executive vice president and provost Elizabeth Hoffman presented her annual report on promotion and tenure reviews at the May 1 Faculty Senate meeting. Her office approved 68 of 71 P&T applications in 2011-12. Two additional faculty withdrew their applications.

Twenty-nine tenured faculty earned promotions to professor, one faculty member was promoted to professor with tenure and 38 faculty were granted associate professor with tenure status. Two tenured faculty failed to earn promotions to professor, and one was denied a promotion to associate professor with tenure.

Hoffman said her office is examining the P&T review process, and taking a closer look at faculty grouped by hire date.

"Starting this year, we're going to do a cohort analysis of the faculty who start this year," Hoffman said. "We're going to follow them through their careers here, so we can be able to report -- particularly to the [State Board of] regents and the legislature -- how rigorous the process is."

As an example, Hoffman showed that among the 77 tenure-eligible faculty hired for the 2006-07 academic year, 48 (62.3 percent) now are tenured. Three currently are on tenure clock extensions, and 26 (33.8 percent) left ISU without tenure.

"One of the things we can report to the board is that even though a very high percentage of those that come up for tenure get tenure, there are reasons why faculty leave before they get tenure," she said. "Over the last several years, our hope has been that we can help faculty make that decision before they get turned down, rather than coming up against the final year and getting turned down for tenure."

The upcoming cohort studies also will take a look at the reasons why faculty leave before earning tenure.

"What we are trying to do is collect data going forward telling us who left because they got another job and who left because they were turned down at the third year review. That's what we don't know right now," Hoffman said.

Passing the gavel

Senate president Steve Freeman handed over the gavel to president-elect Suzanne Hendrich, University Professor in food science and human nutrition, closing the books on the senate's business for the academic year.

A proposed Ph.D. program in wind energy science, engineering and policy was introduced and will be first on the 2012-13 docket next fall. The multidisciplinary program involves departments and centers in the colleges of Engineering, Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Liberal Arts and Sciences.

College of Design reorganization clears final hurdle

Meeting April 26 at the University of Northern Iowa, the state Board of Regents approved an administrative reorganization of the College of Design intended to strengthen its current degree programs while developing strong interdisciplinary degrees and activities.

Scheduled to be operational in July, the change reorganizes the college from four (architecture, landscape architecture, community and regional planning, and art and design) to seven departments: the first three of the four, plus graphic design, industrial design, interior design and integrated studio arts. Administrative support of the seven departments already has been centralized, resulting in eliminated positions and a savings of $290,000. The department chair positions will be converted from calendar-year to academic-year appointments for additional savings.

The structure is intended to encourage collaboration among units, give departments and programs control of their own resources, and move design from a study of aesthetics to one that solves real problems in society.

Student retention

The one-year retention rate for the Iowa State freshman class that arrived fall 2010 was 87.8 percent -- an all-time high for the university. This was among the data submitted to the board in an annual student retention and graduation report. The fall class of 2010 also set an ISU two-year retention rate record of at 78.2 percent. Over the last 10 years, one-year retention rates for Iowa State freshmen have ranged from 83.4 percent (fall classes of 2001 and 2005) to the fall class of 2010's record.

How did they do?
ISU freshman class of fall 2005

Outcome Percent of class
Graduated in 3 years 1.1
Graduated in 4 years 32.2
Graduated in 5 years 29.5
Graduated in 6 years 4.5
Returned for 7th year 2.3
Left after 1 year 16.6
Left after 2 years 7.4
Left after 3+ years 6.4
Total 100

ISU mandatory student fees: 2012-13

Fee   Amount
Technology   $230.00
Health   $196.00
Health facility   $16.00
Student activities   $70.70
      Student government $70.50  
      Legislative relations $0.20  
Student services   $188.20
      CyRide $125.20  
      Athletics department $63.00  
Recreation   *$321.60
Building   $55.10
      Memorial Union $49.10  
      Multicultural Center $6.00  
Total   $1,077.60
*includes new facility

Six-year graduation rates for Iowa State classes (entering fall 1996 through fall 2005) ranged from 65.3 percent (1996) to 70.2 percent (2004).

Student fees: How they'll be spent

In December, the board approved mandatory student fees at the same time it set tuition rates for 2012-13. At Iowa State, all full-time students will pay $1,077.60 in fees, unchanged from this year. Board members approved the allocation of that figure Thursday (see chart at left).

State tour successful

Reporting on the student-led "Universities for a Better Iowa" public relations campaign this spring, regent Greta Johnson said the tour was "highly successful" with good media coverage and alumni attendance. The tour stopped in seven cities during 18 days in April; three additional events scheduled for the week of April 23 were canceled due to conflicts with students' schedules.

Universities for a Better Iowa aims to remind Iowans why the three public universities are important to the state and worthy of greater state funding support. Johnson told board members "the work has just begun."

Regents approve 68 ISU faculty for promotion and tenure

The state Board of Regents approved promotion and tenure awards for 68 Iowa State faculty members for the 2012-13 academic year at its April 26 meeting in Cedar Falls. That figure includes 39 promotions with tenure and 29 promotions to full professor for previously tenured faculty.

By the numbers: 2011-12 Iowa State faculty

  Male Female Subtotal
Tenured 742 265 1,007
Tenure-track 170 116 286
Non-tenure track 199 271 470
Subtotal 1,111 652
Total     1,763


At Iowa State this year, at least 70 percent of tenure-eligible faculty is tenured in 47 out of 63 departments (74.6 percent) and in six of seven colleges (all except the Business college), as well as the library. Overall, 64.2 percent of ISU tenure-eligible faculty is tenured.

Iowa State leaders estimated that 107 tenured faculty – roughly 10 percent -- were reviewed this year (2011-12) under the post-tenure review policy; last year 73 tenured faculty were reviewed.

Board leadership

The board unanimously elected Craig Lang and Bruce Rastetter to continue in their roles as board president and president pro-tem, respectively. Their terms expired April 30. Their two-year terms run through April 2014, though Lang's appointment to the board ends next spring.

Tuition set-aside

In anticipation of a more in-depth discussion at the board's June meeting of student financial aid and the practice of tuition set aside, staff member Patrice Sayre provided board members with some background information on tuition set-aside at the regents universities. Among her points about institutional aid:

  • It allows the universities to meet accessibility and enrollment goals, including a diverse student body (ethnically, geographically, socio-economically, etc.)
  • It gives universities the most flexibility to award aid, including grants to high-performing students
  • 25,583 regent university students received a tuition set-aside grant this year
  • 80 percent of resident students at a regent university who receives aid have a financial need
  • Federal Pell grants are losing their ability to cover the cost of education, currently it's 32 percent at public universities
  • Iowa ranks third-lowest in the nation in state-funded aid for students at 4-year public universities
  • Since FY09, state appropriations to the regent universities have fallen below 1997 levels
  • To replace the lost state funding, tuition for in-state students would have increased more than 60 percent

Comments on salaries for next year

Faculty Senate president Steve Freeman and Professional and Scientific president Dan Burden were among the representatives of non-union employee groups at the five regents schools who received up to five minutes to talk to board members about salaries and salary policies for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Freeman reminded regents of the outcome for faculty of the last three years of salary adjustments and pointed out Iowa State's continued bottom position among its peer universities. Coupled with larger class sizes, fewer courses and the fear that quality of education will be compromised, one result is declining morale, he said.

"The likelihood that ISU faculty will be seeking, or recruited for, opportunities elsewhere is increasing – which will have a significant negative impact on the university," Freeman said. "It is imperative that there be a meaningful increase in faculty salaries in FY13."

Burden said the council, with ISU administrators, is studying all aspects of hiring, promotion and performance review. Several years of budget cuts and program realignments changed employees' outlook about their employer, he said. One particular issue for P&S employees is salary compression, caused by years of flat or nearly flat salary increases, to the point that some 10-year veterans are not at the one-third entry level salary of new hires.

Burden said the loss of professional development opportunities also is a concern of P&S employees, and the council is working to remedy that in FY13.

In other Iowa State business, the board approved:

  • A $2.9 million plan to remodel Lagomarcino Hall to create a central administration area for the School of Education, which becomes operational on July 1. The school combines two departments: educational leadership and policy studies, and curriculum and instruction, currently located on three floors in the building.
  • Parking permit fees for the fiscal year that begins July 1. All options for faculty/staff permits – including departmental and vendor -- will go up $10 ($3 for motorcycle permits). An annual permit for the Memorial Union parking ramp will go up $12, with semester and winter season permits each going up $6.
  • A bond sale of $3.485 million in parking system bonds to refund bonds sold in 2002 to build the east parking deck and improve lots around the football stadium. A lower interest rate (1.95 percent) will save the parking division an estimated $572,000 in interest over 10 years (2013-22).
  • A request to terminate the M.S. and Ph.D. programs in zoology. No students have enrolled in either program in the past four years. This follows the 2004 discontinuation of the B.S. in zoology during a reorganization of biological sciences programs.
  • Residence hall and dining rates for 2012-13. Among 16 room options, prices vary from a triple with no air conditioning ($3,888 per person for the academic year) to a lofted, air-conditioned double in Eaton or Martin halls ($7,540). Increases average 2.5 percent. Apartment rates at Frederiksen Court and Schilletter/University Village will go up about 1.5 percent. All student meal plans offered by ISU Dining will remain flat, as will the "door rate" in the campus dining centers: $8.50 for breakfast and $10.50 for lunch and dinner.
    The room-meal plan the board traditionally uses for annual comparison (a double room with 14 meals/week and 200 Dining Dollars/semester) will go up $101, from $7,621 to $7,722. When resident undergraduate tuition and fees for 2012-13 are added, the package totals $15,448, an increase of $341 (2.26 percent) over this year's cost for tuition, fees, room and meal plan.

It's graduation weekend

Nearly 3,800 students are completing degrees at Iowa State this spring and many of them will celebrate the accomplishment at a graduation ceremony this weekend.

An anticipated 157 Ph.D. students and 407 master's students will be honored during the graduate ceremony, which begins at 8 p.m. Friday, May 4, in Hilton Coliseum. Professor of accounting Labh Hira will address the graduates. Hira, who planned to resign June 30 from his position as dean of the College of Business, did so a few months early when he was asked to serve as interim president of the ISU Foundation in March.

At noon Saturday, May 5, in Stephens Auditorium, 144 veterinary medicine students will receive their Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine diplomas. The graduates include 22 University of Nebraska students who completed their last two years at Iowa State. Dr. Nick Trout will give the commencement address. Trout is a small pets surgeon at the Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston, a contributing columnist for The Bark magazine and author of three best-selling books, Tell Me Where It Hurts, Love is the Best Medicine and Ever By My Side.

And at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Hilton, an estimated 3,079 undergraduates will receive bachelor's degrees. Craig Lang of Brooklyn, an Iowa State alumnus and recently re-elected president of the State Board of Regents – the university's citizen governing board -- will give the commencement address.

Tickets are not required for any of the commencement ceremonies.

Honorary degrees

At the undergraduate ceremony Saturday, Daniel Gianola will receive a Doctor of Science honorary degree for his contributions to animal genetics and statistics, and George Belitsos will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters for his advocacy for, and service to, Iowa teens and families.

Gianola currently is a professor in three departments at the University of Wisconsin, Madison: animal science, dairy science and biostatistics and medical informatics. Twenty years ago, he introduced a statistics method that greatly improved the analysis of animal breeding. His work in genetics and statistics builds on the foundation established at Iowa State by Jay Lush from 1930 to 1966.

Belitsos is the founder (1976) and chief executive officer of Ames-based Youth and Shelter Services. Today, YSS is funded by more than $14 million in grants and contracts and serves more than 7,000 young people -- the homeless, youth with drug abuse problems, youth aging out of foster care, youth with chronic mental illness or severe behavior problems -- at 20 service centers in central Iowa.

Special events

Iowa State colleges will hold separate events May 4-5 to honor their own graduating students. A full schedule of commencement events is online.

Additionally, Iowa State's 15th annual Lavender Graduation will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, May 3, in the Memorial Union Sun Room. It honors graduating members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and ally communities. RSVPs are encouraged but not required. All are welcome to attend.

The ISU Alumni Association will host a reception for all graduates and their families at the alumni center. It will begin immediately following the undergraduate ceremony Saturday afternoon. It's free for all 2012 graduates, whether they're ISUAA members or not.