Repairing damage to Ross Hall

Ross Hall

Servicemaster crews working in Ross Hall (center) have permission to park their vehicles on the sidewalk to leave Farm House Lane open for vehicle traffic. Pedestrians are asked to use the sidewalk along the east side of the road. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

A disaster recovery team from Servicemaster has been working since Monday to clean soot and smoke damage throughout Ross Hall, caused by an early morning fire Feb. 22 that was contained to a first-floor custodial closet. The first-floor corridor sustained considerable heat and smoke damage. The cleaning team estimates cleanup will take four to six weeks, which includes removing ceiling tiles on all floors.

The building is closed to the public, but Ross Hall occupants with key access are allowed in only to retrieve personal items at this time. Classes that meet in Ross Hall have been moved to other locations until cleaning and repairs are completed. The Ames Fire Department and ISU Police are conducting a joint investigation of the cause of the fire.

Financial aid staff works overtime to get CARES Act funds to students

Director Roberta Johnson and the student financial aid team distributed more than $10.8 million in federal COVID-19 emergency grants to 7,206 Iowa State students last summer, part of the dollars Congress directed to universities in its $2.2 trillion CARES Act. And while that amount is a fraction -- about 2% -- of what the team awards annually in aid to students, it proved to be a labor-intensive process to find eligible students most in need.

"This was an enormous lift for us because we really couldn't use the financial aid system we've built over 45 years. We did all of the sorting and reviewing ourselves, which probably made the process a bit clunky. But it worked," Johnson said, noting they were pressed to award the money quickly and IT staff "were a precious commodity" since they were diverted to retooling courses for online instruction for summer and fall.

Between confirming final aid awards for fall and counseling incoming students and parents during virtual orientation, late spring/early summer already is a hectic time of year for her staff.

More sources for emergency assistance:

  • Cyclone Strong fund
  • International Students and Scholars office
  • Graduate College scholarship funds
  • Cyclone Success completion grants
  • Completion grants (from an ISU donor) for students who are underrepresented in their academic area
  • Emergency gifts from two corporate donors to the University Innovation Alliance distributed among member schools

"There were a lot of long days and late nights to navigate this, get these dollars on the system -- and get our other assignments done," she said. "The dedication of staff members to pull this together and get funds to students was phenomenal."

And because CARES Act eligibility focused on spring semester students with a 2019-20 FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) on file -- effectively eliminating international students and students living in the U.S. without legal permission -- the student financial aid staff also coordinated $404,258 of emergency funding from a handful of campus sources (see sidebar) to assist another 355 students.

Getting it done

All students applied for emergency assistance through one Qualtrics survey. Funds could be used for many costs tied to the price of attending college such as food, housing, medical care, child care and technology, impacted by the pandemic. Financial aid staff filtered the applications to confirm FAFSA eligibility and then started working through individual requests -- and all the funding options -- to award and disburse grants into students' bank accounts as fast as possible.

"We were brokering all this to figure out which students could receive money from which funds," Johnson said. They developed a few guidelines for CARES Act-eligible students:

  • Requests of less than $2,000 were fully funded in an automated process. (The smallest award was $50.)
  • Requests of more than $2,000 (up to $3,000) received a review from a staff member for the final award amount.

Johnson said awards above $3,000 were possible, but not common. Overall, the average grant from CARES Act funding was $1,505. Of the eligible applicants, 83.5% received CARES Act financial help, she said.


Spring 2020 Cyclone students awarded CARES Act funds


Students served

Total dollars







   U.S. non-resident









   U.S. non-resident







By early June, nearly 90% of the funds were awarded to applicants. To avoid overspending the CARES Act funds, Johnson and her staff adopted a new strategy, block grants, to distribute the last $1.3 million to two student groups:

  • $1,120 grants to 908 spring semester students whose FAFSA expected family contribution to their education was $0 and who hadn't received CARES Act funding through the application process.
  • Grants up to $1,900 for laptop purchases to 315 eligible students who had applied to lease a laptop from the library under the university's laptop requirement. Interim library dean Hilary Seo shared student lease applications with Johnson, who cross-referenced those applicants with her FAFSA database.

One more time

Congress' December Coronavirus Relief Bill will send exactly the same amount -- $10.8 million -- to Iowa State for direct aid to students.

Johnson said her office probably will rely more on block grants to award much of the funding to spring-enrolled students. The goal is to disburse all funds by August, but a majority will be awarded in the next month.

"Students need this money now. The stipulation again is that we find the students with the greatest need, so we're going to look at our federal Pell grant recipients rather than set up an application process," she said. "We'll hold a portion, perhaps $1 million, to help students who really have extraordinary circumstances beyond their Pell grant eligibility."

Another difference this time is that student recipients may opt to apply all or part of their award directly to their university bill. Funds last year had to go to student bank accounts.

Regents direct Iowa, Northern Iowa to adopt syllabus statement

Architect's sketch of University Boulevard pedestrian bridge

Architect's sketch of the pedestrian bridge that will span University Boulevard east of the football stadium by fall 2022. The state Board of Regents approved the project Feb. 24. Image courtesy of ISU athletics department.

Regent systemwide adoption -- all courses, all universities -- of a syllabus statement on free speech, similar to the one Iowa State faculty started using during winter session, was among 10 recommendations the state Board of Regents approved during its Feb. 24 virtual meeting. A three-regent task force working since November to study best practices in First Amendment protections in higher education proposed the recommendations, many of which will be incorporated into the board's free speech policy adopted in April 2019. (Some of the recommendations are action items to be studied and completed, not policy content.)

As part of the discussion, the three university presidents were asked to share free speech protection highlights from their campuses. President Wendy Wintersteen's presentation included the First Amendment statement added 14 months ago to the campus climate website, faculty and administrator training that accompanied implementation of the syllabus statement, a comprehensive review of some 900-plus student organizations for diversity of expression, university homepage link to the Report It site for many kinds of incidents, and ongoing and annual campus events such as the lectures series, March's ISCORE conference and April's First Amendment Days observance.

Wintersteen emphasized that Iowa State's syllabus statement doesn't represent a change in university policy.

"Its purpose is to highlight and more clearly communicate our existing policy and law that have always protected free expression by students," she said.

University Boulevard gateway

In other business, the athletics department received a final green light from the regents for its proposal to span University Boulevard with an elevated walkway that would link the football stadium's east concourse with proposed gameday parking east of the new recreation fields. The walkway will be approximately a quarter-mile long. It and the ramp at its east end will meet accessibility requirements. Branded for Iowa State, the "gateway bridge" also will serve as a visual welcome to the university. In his Jan. 25 video message to Cyclone fans, athletics director Jamie Pollard said the $10 million project will be paid for by two donors each pledging $5 million.

The project cleared the board's property and facilities committee Feb. 17 and the full board Feb. 24. The university is scheduled to seek construction bids in May, with construction beginning this summer and concluding in early fall 2022.

Parking permit rates hold steady

Iowa State's parking division in the public safety department proposes to hold employee and student parking permit rates at current levels for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The only proposed change is to parking meters and metered lots, where the rate would go from $1/hour to $1.25/hour.

Annual and seasonal permits for the Memorial Union ramp also won't change next year. Hourly ramp rates would go up 25-50 cents/hour, with the maximum daily rate rising $2, to $17. The illegal exit fee and lost ticket fee each would jump $10, to $150 and $40, respectively, as proposed. MU staff manage the ramp.

The board will approve parking rates at its April meeting.

Residence department update

Director Pete Englin told the board the residence department will temporarily close Wallace, Wilson, Oak-Elm and Linden halls for 2021-22 to reduce operating costs. Apartments built in Ames during the 2013-16 window as ISU enrollment climbed now are competing for tenants, which has impacted the demand for on-campus housing. This year, Oak-Elm and Linden served as temporary housing for students who were exposed to or tested positive for COVID-19.

"When we look at future class sizes and our pre-COVID return rates, it's pretty clear that we'll need to operate those halls in the future," he said. "As President Wendy Wintersteen would say, we're looking toward the better normal, not the new normal."

He said the department also is introducing programmatic changes to the residence system to better serve students, including coed housing in three more buildings that formally were single gender, gender-inclusive rooms in Freeman Hall and pet-friendly apartments.

The board will approve proposed housing and dining rates at its April meeting. Englin said many, not all, room rates will go down, which will help offset an across-the-board 2% increase to meal plans that reflects the inflationary cost of food. For example, the paired cost of a standard double non-cooled room and the Cardinal meal plan (unlimited dining center meals, 14 flex meals, $100 dining dollars) would go down $193 (1.1%) next year, as proposed.

The pay-at-the-door rate in dining centers for guests without meal plans also would go up 2%, to $10.81 for breakfast and $13.92 for lunch and dinner, as proposed.

A 3% increase to Schilletter and University Village apartments will fund installation of 1GB internet service in all apartments. Most apartments at Frederiksen Court would see rent decreases.

Englin said the department prioritized student choice and safety last spring in the pandemic, refunding contracts and extending spring move-out to June 7, 2020. The combined financial impact to residence and dining was $14.2 million.

The occupancy projection in this year's budget was 9,464 students and had climbed to around 9,700 by Aug. 1. The residence department maintained a flexible cancelation policy as instruction plans -- and student housing plans with them -- changed for fall classes, to the point that actual occupancy on count day last fall was 8,658 students, the lowest in years, Englin said. That shift, plus higher than normal attrition from fall to spring semesters, has resulted in lost revenue this year of an estimated $6 million.

But the commitment to investing in buildings and programs hasn't wavered, Englin said. The student experience diminishes too much when you don't, he said, as he observed in the 2008-10 lean budget years. Student retention rates similar to fall 2019 (pre-pandemic) and his department's typical 90% capture rate of the incoming class would "position us well moving forward," he said.

More Iowa State business

In other business, the board:

  • Approved a third budget increase for the new poultry teaching and research facility on south State Avenue, from $6.8 million to $9.2 million. Additional funds will increase the square footage of the not-yet-constructed turkey facility by 30% and purchase additional state-of-the-art equipment for the chicken facility including computerized feeding equipment, automated ventilation and cooling controls and additional biosecurity features such as controlled entrances and lockers. Most of the additional funds ($2.2 million) are private gifts from industry partners; the remainder ($0.2 million) is university funds.
  • (During the Feb. 17 joint meeting of the academic and campus/student affairs board committees) Received a biennial review report on the 14-year-old Regent Admission Index, which currently counts two -- grade point average and core subject courses completed -- of the original four factors in the index. Class rank was dropped because fewer high schools compute it, and ACT score is suspended because many testing dates were canceled during the pandemic. The board's chief academic officer, Rachel Boon, told board members an inter-institutional team will do an in-depth review of the index to study whether it still serves the state's needs.
  • Approved a five-year lease agreement between the university and the ISU Foundation, in which Iowa State leases for $1,000/year a property on St. John, Virgin Islands, for the horticulture department's EARTH program. The property owner currently leases directly to the hort department, but intends to donate the property to the foundation for the benefit of the EARTH program.
  • Approved a five-year lease (with four additional five-year terms) between ISU and US Cellular for "small cell" communication equipment installed initially on 15 light poles at the Iowa State Center, football stadium lots, southeast recreation fields and College of Veterinary Medicine to improve cell phone reception and data speeds. There is no cost to the university.

Trial run explores composting paper towels from campus bathrooms

A pilot project that launches in the Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center next week could lead to used paper towels feeding campus plants instead of filling up landfill space.

Through the end of the spring semester, nine bathrooms in the medical center will have two disposal bins -- one for paper towels, one for other garbage. Custodians will keep bags from the bins separate, taking the paper towels to a dumpster that campus services will deliver weekly to the university's compost facility adjacent to the ISU dairy farm south of Ames.

If the pilot runs smoothly, devoted receptacles for paper towels could be available in some campus bathrooms as soon as this fall -- a potentially significant way to help the university progress in its goal to keep 85% of the waste produced on campus from becoming landfill trash by 2025. In 2020, 73% of the 11,349 tons of waste generated on campus was diverted.

How much of that trash was paper towels? The precise amount is unknown, but a lot of it was. In a recent audit of trash at Frederiksen Court apartment complex, more than 40% of garbage by volume was paper towels, said Ayodeji Oluwalana, recycling and special events coordinator for facilities planning and management (FPM).

"Restrooms are one of the few places we're picking up garbage every day, and most of the garbage there is paper towels," said Michelle Lenkaitis, FPM custodial services senior manager.

Compliance is key

The push to compost paper towels came from Student Government's sustainability committee, which began working on the project this fall with Oluwalana, Lenkaitis and sustainability director Merry Rankin. The group decided to begin with a pilot project to see how the initiative would work.

"Everything starts with a first step. Until you try it, you just don't know," Rankin said.

To send paper towels to the compost pile, the bags that contain them need to be compostable, too. Several options were tested over the two-month winter break, and all broke down quickly in the ISU compost facility.

The animal hospital was selected as the pilot site because it still has relatively typical occupancy. Beginning March 1, visitors will see a green compostable bag in the usual garbage cans, which will have signs indicating they are for paper towels only. The trash-only cans will be smaller. Signs describing the project also will be posted outside the bathrooms and in common areas.

"There will be a few cues to help restroom users," Rankin said.

Compliance will be the key consideration to study in the pilot. If the paper towel bins are contaminated with other refuse, it will disrupt the composting process. Getting feedback from custodial staff also will be important, as they're taking on additional work.

"It's an extra step, but one that we're willing to take to support the zero-waste plan," Lenkaitis said.

Incremental expansion

If the project is a success, broadening the effort would be incremental and likely start with just a few high-traffic spots.

There are a number of challenges to scaling up paper towel composting campuswide. One is the cost. The compostable bags can be three times as expensive as the university's regular trash can liners, though Oluwalana noted there would be savings from reduced landfill fees.

"Realistically, we have to look at budgets, as that's another element of sustainability," Rankin said.

Adding compost as another disposal option on campus would require finding places for compost dumpsters outside buildings, space many facilities don't have, Lenkaitis said. And even if the process works for custodial crews, that doesn't mean campus services has the staff for the deliveries to the compost facility -- which might not have the capacity to take on the entirety of campus paper towel usage.

"The pilot's going to be interesting, but there still will be a lot of work to do," Lenkaitis said.

Three ISU leaders selected for program to diversify university presidencies


From left, associate provost for academic programs Ann Marie VanDerZanden, associate provost for faculty Dawn Bratsch-Prince and vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion Reg Stewart.

Three Iowa State leaders will participate over the next year in a nationally renowned program designed to diversify the loftiest ranks of higher education administration by preparing qualified individuals from underrepresented populations to be presidents and chancellors.

Vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion Reg Stewart and associate provosts Ann Marie VanDerZanden and Dawn Bratsch-Prince were selected for the 2021 cohort of the Millenium Leadership Initiative, which aims to help experienced college and university executives develop the skills, philosophical overview and network needed to be competitive candidates to lead institutions.

The program begins with online training sessions March through May, followed by an in-person program tentatively planned for June 3-7 in Washington, D.C., depending on the pandemic status. Participants are then paired with a sitting president or chancellor as a mentor, with regular one-on-one meetings throughout the 2021-22 academic year. A professional coach, often a retired president or chancellor, is available for individualized sessions October through February.    

Since its founding in 1999, the initiative sponsored by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities has graduated 662 "protégés." One in five went on to serve as a college or university president or chancellor, and more than one-third have significantly advanced in their career.

G2M aims to boost research-driven startups past a good start

Startup accelerators can help flesh out innovations and inspirations, plotting a path from idea to income. But after those programs end, the difficult work of building a company is just beginning, unfamiliar territory for founders of research-driven and high-technology startups.

Follow-up is the gap Iowa Go-To-Market (G2M) hopes to fill. The new accelerator, which announced its first cohort Feb. 23, serves businesses that already have been through a development program such as an accelerator and are looking to build on an established but still emerging foundation. 

"You don't see that as a gap until you get some companies advancing to that point, and that's where we're at," said Jim Register, president and CEO of BioConnect Iowa

G2M is operated by Iowa State's Startup Factory in partnership with BioConnect (formerly Iowa Innovation Corp.), a public-private economic development organization that prepares Iowa bioscience entrepreneurs to be competitive for federal innovation grants. The application process for G2M is run by a third partner, VentureNet Iowa, based on the evaluation process it uses in managing the Iowa Economic Development Authority's (IEDA) innovation funds.

Lessons in practice

Startup Factory director Peter Hong, who oversees Iowa State's role in G2M, said it is a complement to the support provided by not only the Startup Factory but I-Corps (an initiative to commercialize National Science Foundation-funded research) and CYstarters (a summer accelerator for student entrepreneurs).   

Inaugural cohort set

Iowa Go-To-Market announced its first cohort Feb. 23. The five companies are:

  • CartilaGen, based in Iowa City, was founded around technology developed in the University of Iowa orthopedics department. Its product can prevent the onset of post-traumatic osteoarthritis.
  • Classroom Clinic, based in Carroll, provides rural school districts with timely and convenient access to children’s mental health services through telehealth technologies.
  • FBB Biomed, based in Coralville, is a biotechnology company creating blood and saliva tests to predict patients’ health outcomes.
  • Mazen Animal Health, based in Ames and St. Joseph, Missouri, is developing and commercializing orally delivered animal vaccines.
  • Sushi3D, based in Ames, helps product designers keep projects on track through rapid delivery of machined prototype parts. 

"This is where you take those principles you learned and put them into action in a deep way. Not in a high-level way, but in a very specific and measured way," Hong said. "It's execution versus education." 

G2M isn't limited to companies that spring from an ISU program. All Iowa companies are eligible if they've received prior entrepreneurial guidance in a structured setting and are developing technology-driven products or services. Companies ideal for the program often could evolve from faculty research, as the targeted industries include (but aren't limited to) biosciences, agricultural technology, advanced manufacturing and software, Register said.

Cohorts will spend about seven months in G2M, which will focus less on group workshops and more on one-on-one mentoring customized to a company's needs. A network of mostly Iowa firms will provide free services, including consultations and project work related to legal, marketing, human resources and finance issues.

Common challenges

In companies ready for G2M, the founder or CEO often is working full-time on the startup, with a few other employees involved on a part-time basis. Expansion plans usually involve hiring, crucial decisions for a developing business. 

"There's a lot that goes in to that initial team-building that's different than what folks have done before," Register said. "It's the first time you need to think strategically about hiring someone very different from you." 

Another common challenge for a company that's been through an early-stage accelerator is adapting to the changes made to an initial plan. Working through a pivot can require a fresh look at intellectual property strategy or licensing and partnership opportunities. 

"Those things have business and legal ramifications," Register said. 

Also, research-based companies may have a lengthy period of product development before they start bringing in revenue, which can make financing a consistent struggle. G2M can help consider and secure funding and investment options to keep a company afloat. 

Hong, who began his stint as Startup Factory's director Feb. 1, saw many of those difficulties up close over the past 12 years as the chief operating officer for a ceramics startup, in addition to a long history of advising commercializing companies. Scratching and clawing through tough situations is necessary at times but too often unsuccessful. 

"If it's going to be that hard, a lot of researchers are just going to say forget it," he said. "If we can be that concierge, if we can be that consultant, it's going to be huge." 

On trend, on brand

Funded at a little less than $1.3 million for three years, G2M was spurred by a $525,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and includes local matches of about $760,000, including in-kind contributions from Iowa State and BioConnect, pro bono services from Iowa companies and a $15,000 IEDA grant. 

Federal investment in a second round of program assistance for promising ventures reflects a widespread movement to expand entrepreneurial support to give companies a better chance at becoming profitable, Hong said. 

"This is in line with what accelerators nationally are trying to do -- put the principles learned into action so there's an economic impact at the end of a program," he said. 

Register said despite the duration of the federal grant, the plan is to make G2M sustainable. Discussion about its future likely will begin after the first cohort is complete, to allow for any needed adjustments. It's a natural fit for the university both because of its Innovate at Iowa State initiative and its land-grant mission to share and apply knowledge, he said.

"There's a connection between this program and what Iowa State is broadly," he said.

Leaders announced for Workday Student, Receivables project

Vice president and chief information officer Kristen Constant and agricultural and biosystems engineering chair Steve Mickelson -- in a new role -- will lead Iowa State's implementation of Workday Student and Workday Receivables.

Constant, who has served as CIO since 2017, will continue to provide leadership for information technology across the university while co-leading the project. She also led the successful implementation of the Workday finance and human resources modules, which went live in 2019.

Kaleita to serve as interim ABE chair

Leadership in the department of agricultural and biosystems engineering, consistently the university's top-ranked academic program, will remain in good hands. Amy Kaleita, professor and associate chair for teaching, has agreed to serve in an interim role while the colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Engineering initiate a search later this year.

Mickelson, Charles R. and Jane F. Olsen Professor and chair of agricultural and biosystems engineering, received a four-year appointment as special advisor for student information systems in the office of the senior vice president and provost, effective March 1. He will report to associate provost for academic programs Ann Marie VanDerZanden.

An 'exceptional university citizen' takes on a new challenge

In his new role, Mickelson will work with partners across campus to rethink and redesign many aspects of learning, teaching, advising and administrative processes. He brings a wealth of experience to the position. He has served as an ISU faculty member since 1982 and department chair since 2011. He also is a former director of the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching.

"Steve is an exceptional university citizen, and I very much appreciate his willingness to step up and take on this critical role," said senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert. "His extensive knowledge of teaching and academic administration, as well as his ability to collaborate across campus, will help create the best outcome for the deployment of these new systems."

Planning for WorkCyte's second phase to begin in March

The Workday Student and Receivables project is the second phase of WorkCyte, the university's comprehensive effort to modernize its administrative systems. Phase 2 includes systems that support all stages of the student life cycle, including recruiting, admissions, registration, advising, records, financial aid, fee assessment, student receivables, grading, transcripts and graduation. Receivables billing and payment processing for external (non-student) customers also is included.

According to Constant, while preparation has been ongoing for several months, project planning will begin in earnest in March. Underway is an effort to identify project leaders across the functions that will be impacted by Workday Student and Workday Receivables and to determine how best to balance the workload of staff whose work will be essential to the success of the four-year project.

More information on Workday Student and Workday Receivables will be shared in the coming weeks.

Students take lead in ISU Theatre production

ISU Theatre's "On the Horizon: Festival of Student-Produced Work" is a show of firsts. First-time writers, first-time designers, first-time stage managers and first-time producers. 

More than 38 students collaborated to create 10 original pieces that include scripted scenes, a music video, puppetry, a Zoom play, a song cycle and an animated short film. The show will livestreamed Feb. 25-27 at 7:30 p.m. with a matinee at 2 p.m. Feb. 28. Admission is pay what you will.

On the horizon

The show is run by students who handle all aspects of production, direction, performance and design. Their stories touch a diversity of topics, such as mental health, friendship, loss and family.

"The sheer variety of theatrical forms on display, and the innovative ways the students are approaching their storytelling duties, are going to delight our audiences," said assistant professor of theatre and facilitating producer Cason Murphy.

Jonathan O'Neill Rojas, senior in management and performing arts and one of the producers, said he appreciates the chance for students to tell their own stories during a year where other opportunities such as internships have vanished.

"All of us are learning as we go," O'Neill Rojas said. "Most of us are trying new areas of our artistry that we hadn't touched before, and that can be scary. I'm a producer for the first time. But throughout these productions I've seen how all of us are committed to getting the work done."

Each piece, produced separately in small teams, required different approaches for virtual and in-person collaboration. Participating students represent 11 majors and minors across campus, and three recent ISU Theatre alumni are involved.

"This has been a tremendous opportunity to celebrate our students as they engage with new skills and uncover new aspects of their creative lives," Murphy said. "My favorite moments have been sitting in rehearsals and watching the students collaborate in creative, dynamic ways to solve problems. I get to see that often in our classrooms, but watching it occur in the festival atmosphere with so many more moving pieces gives me great hope for the future of theater."

And it gives a little hope for today, too.

"After watching this production, I hope that audiences feel the world is with them," said performing arts senior Rachel Ward. "We have lost a lot this past year, but together we need to help each other remember. There is light in this time. There is growth."

Six students to be added to the 'Faces of Iowa State' portrait collection

The university's "Faces of Iowa State" portrait project will expand again next week when Maquoketa artist Rose Frantzen returns to campus to paint the faces of six students. Colleges nominated exceptional students who have shown resilience and positivity during the COVID-19 pandemic, and President Wendy Wintersteen made the final selections.

For three days, March 3, 5 and 6, Frantzen will work in the lower level of the Christian Petersen Art Museum in Morrill Hall. And in a pandemic-tweaked version of Frantzen creating most of the portraits in public, university museums will livestream the portrait sittings on its YouTube channel.

The portrait-sitting schedule is as follows:

Wednesday, March 3

  • 10 a.m., Tessa Mendoza, senior in kinesiology and health
  • 4 p.m., Derrick Kapayou, master's student in sustainable agriculture and anthropology

Friday, March 5 (2020-21 student government presidents)

  • 10 a.m., Eleanor (Ellie) Field, doctoral student in entomology, Graduate and Professional Student Senate
  • 4 p.m., Morgan Fritz, senior in political science, Student Government

Saturday, March 6

  • 10 a.m., Catharine Found, third year DVM, College of Veterinary Medicine
  • 4 p.m., Thierry Habinshuti, senior in civil engineering

As part of university museums' effort to introduce the university community to more of Frantzen's work beyond the portraits, "Perceptions of Identity: Paintings by Rose Frantzen" is on exhibit in the Christian Petersen Art Museum through July.

"The more familiar we are with the artist, the more we learn and understand," explained Lynette Pohlman, director of university museums.

Faces of Iowa State

University museums commissioned Frantzen to paint 19 portraits during the 2016 Iowa State Fair, where she worked amid visitors to the university's main exhibit in the Varied Industries Building. The next spring and following fall, during two campus residencies, she completed 20 more. Following a four-month exhibition in the Brunnier Art Museum, that early portrait set toured the state during 2018.

Portrait of athletics director Jamie Pollard by Rose Frantzen

Portrait of athletics director Jamie Pollard, by Rose Frantzen, 2020. Oil on canvas, commissioned by University Museums.

Two more portraits were added last year, athletics director Jamie Pollard and Lynette Pohlman Museum fellowship holder and December 2020 graduate Sarah Bartlett. The set features alumni, faculty, students, staff and friends of the university.

The collection hangs near the main staircase on Parks Library's second floor.

"It's purposeful that the faces we have are exhibited in the library, because that's everyone's territory," Pohlman said. "The library is where we all meet."

She said the latest eight portraits will join the others later this spring.

Iowa State's portrait tradition

University museums holds a formal portrait collection that got its start in the 1930s as part of Iowa State's 75th anniversary and for decades featured deans, vice presidents influential alumni and presidents -- mostly white men. Some of the colleges continue this tradition for their top leaders today, and the collection currently includes more than 200 portraits.

Portraits are more than a record, Pohlman wrote in a 2017 book commemorating the Faces of Iowa State. Portraits "illuminate the intelligence, importance, virtue, beauty, emotion and other qualities of the sitter through the eyes of an artist."

She said the Faces project epitomizes Iowa State's land-grant mission.

"They are the people of Iowa State -- young, old, students, accomplished, less accomplished, our many faces," she said. "The intent is that this also will be a continuing tradition over a long period of time."

Artist's talk

Frantzen is not painting on March 4 because she will discuss her recent studio and public works of art during a public lecture that day, beginning at 4:30 p.m. in the Kingland Hub, 1450 Gerdin. Frantzen also was the artist selected by the Ivy College of Business' public art committee to create a large-scale mural inside the east entrance to the Gerdin building addition, which opened in November. Three 5-foot tall panels that extend for 50 feet will be installed later this year. Preregistration is required and the in-person audience will be limited to respect physical distancing guidelines. A recording of the program will be archived on the museums' YouTube channel.

Frantzen previously worked with the Business college in 2018, when she painted dean David Spalding's university portrait.