Historic day for a university


Photo by Bob Elbert.

An estimated 6,000 central Iowans – many of them Iowa State students -- braved temperatures in the high 80s to hear President Barack Obama on central campus Tuesday. It was just the third time in the university's history that a sitting president visited campus (following Gerald Ford in 1976 and William Clinton in 1995).

More photos

View a slideshow of the presidential visit to Iowa State.

In a 25-minute speech, Obama covered topics as varied as wind energy and other alternative energy sources, health care, coach Paul Rhoads' ability to deliver a great speech, civil rights for gays and lesbians, protecting the middle class from higher taxes, bringing soldiers home from Iraq and Afghanistan, and higher education.

"In America, higher education isn't a luxury, it's an economic necessity that every family should be able to afford," Obama said.

Student act

Iowa State students received key roles in the program preceding Obama's talk. Senior Mischa Olson, who's double majoring in biology and Spanish and hopes to head to graduate school, was selected to introduce him to the crowd.

Olson, who caucused for Obama four years ago and volunteered with his campaign this summer, said the campaign's Chicago office called her with the invitation "and liked what I had to say.

"I'm incredibly honored to be selected for this," she said.

ISU College Democrats president Abhishek Vemuri, also a senior, gave a short welcome and urged his student peers to register to vote and to make time to vote on Nov. 6. And 16 members of the Iowa State Singers performed the national anthem a capella.

Fall Fridays are CyDays

CyDay Friday freebies

Photo by Bob Elbert.

CyDay Fridays return to campus this fall, after a successful 2011 campaign that encouraged public displays of cardinal and gold pride. Free giveaways this year include CyDay Friday T-shirts and water bottles.

Like last year, the promotion takes place on Fridays prior to home football games -- except for the Nov. 23 Thanksgiving break game vs. West Virginia. On CyDay Fridays, the Pride Patrol will cruise campus in search of people wearing Iowa State gear. Photos of the T-shirt winners (24 each CyDay Friday) will be posted on the ISU Facebook page.

Cy himself also will be handing out freebies. The time and location of his appearance will be announced on Facebook with the "CyTrack" locator. He'll award free ISU water bottles to the first 100 people he finds wearing Iowa State gear.

Don't have enough Cyclone gear? No problem. The University Book Store will feature a specially discounted product each CyDay Friday, also announced on the ISU Facebook and Twitter accounts.

A glimpse at the fall lectures lineup

Before your calendar fills up with family obligations and work commitments this fall, be sure to add a few lectures to the mix. Here's a look at five lectures you may find particularly interesting or entertaining. Check online periodically for an updated list of fall lectures. Admission is free to all lectures.

Erskine Bowles, "A Conversation on the National Debt," Sept. 13 (8 p.m., Memorial Union Great Hall)

Erskine Bowles is president emeritus of the University of North Carolina, where he served as president from 2005 to 2010. During his last year as UNC president, he was appointed by President Barack Obama to co-chair a bipartisan national commission on how to improve the country’s fiscal health. Prior to his time at UNC, Bowles was director of the Small Business Administration and President Bill Clinton's chief of staff. In that role, he helped negotiate a balanced federal budget. Bowles later became United Nations Deputy Special Envoy to coordinate the global response to the tsunami that struck Southeast Asia in 2004.

Bowles' address is the keynote speech on the eve of Iowa State president Steven Leath's installation Sept. 14.

Adam Davidson and Alex Blumberg, "Planet Money LIVE," Sept. 19 (8 p.m., MU Great Hall)

National Public Radio’s Adam Davidson and This American Life’s Alex Blumberg team up to explain money and economics in an informative yet entertaining live stage show. Adapted from a popular NPR podcast and a segment on This American Life, "Planet Money LIVE" tackles complex economic issues with wit and humor. Davidson and Blumberg also jointly produced an award-winning documentary on the subprime mortgage crisis, The Giant Pool of Money.

Bill Nye (The Science Guy), "You Can Change the World," Sept. 21 (7 p.m., Stephens Auditorium)

Here's a lecture the kids might enjoy, too. Bill Nye the Science Guy combines science and comedy weekly on a Disney Channel series to make science entertaining for both children and adults. He has appeared on Disney's Mickey Mouse Club, Late Night with David Letterman and many other television and radio shows. Nye earned a degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University and previously worked as an engineer at Boeing.

Candy Crowley, Fall 2012 Mary Louise Smith Chair in Women and Politics, Nov. 13 (7:30 p.m., MU Sun Room)

Candy Crowley is CNN's chief political correspondent, leading the network's coverage of presidential, congressional and gubernatorial races and major legislative developments on Capitol Hill. She also anchors State of the Union with Candy Crowley, an hour of political newsmaker interviews and analysis of the week’s important issues. Crowley has worked as a White House correspondent for the Associated Press, a correspondent for NBC News and a congressional correspondent for CNN. Recent honors include the 2005 Edward R. Murrow Award and the Joan Shorenstein Barone Award for excellence in journalism for her reporting on the 2004 presidential election.

Rob Riggle, Adam Lowitt and Al Madrigal, "The Daily Show Live -- Indecision Tour 2012," Nov. 30 (8 p.m., Stephens)

Enjoy an evening of comedy, politics and news, featuring two correspondents and a writer-producer from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Rob Riggle, Al Madrigal and Adam Lowitt will offer postelection coverage and an inside look at how The Daily Show is produced. The trio also will take questions from the audience.

Actor and comedian Riggle also is an officer in the Marine Corps Reserve, a former Saturday Night Live cast member and has appeared in films like The Hangover and The Other Guys. Lowitt is co-executive producer and a writer for The Daily Show, and Madrigal co-starred in the sitcom Gary Unmarried with Jay Mohr and appeared on the Jimmy Kimmel and Craig Ferguson shows. 

Foreign travel grants fund gets a boost

A $20,000 allocation from the president's office is a welcome addition to a fund that helps faculty with international travel expenses, says Heimir Geirsson, associate professor of philosophy.

Geirsson chairs the committee that manages the Foreign Travel Grant Program, a competitive program that helps ease the financial burden on faculty who travel internationally.

Generally, faculty members who take faculty improvement leaves, give speeches or present research are responsible for their own international travel expenses, Geirsson said. Such expenses include airfare, lodging and food costs.

Through the Foreign Travel Grant Program, faculty may apply for grants that defray up to 75 percent of those travel costs.  With contributions from the president's office ($20,000), Faculty Senate ($27,840) and provost's office ($15,000), the grant program will have nearly $64,000 to distribute to faculty travelers in FY13, Geirsson said.

In FY12, the program had $43,000 -- enough to provide grants to 46 of the 94 applicants.

The Foreign Travel Grant Program is important to Iowa State in many ways, Geirsson said.

"When Iowa State faculty make presentations internationally, it's great advertisement for the university," he said. "Many faculty end up working on research projects with people they've met abroad. Additional funding sometimes comes out of these collaborations."