Iowa State will graduate more than 4,600 students this spring


Editor's note: This story was updated May 26 to correct a systems error in the estimated number of graduating students.


Four female students in graduation garb sit on the ISU wall

Friends and graduates-to-be (l-r) Nora Sullivan, Claire Waletzki, Maddy Lakomek and Lizzy Cabitt are all smiles as friend Meagan Jones takes their photo Tuesday afternoon at the ISU wall on central campus. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

More than 4,600 students are completing degrees at Iowa State this spring, and many of them will participate in one of five commencement ceremonies on May 11-13. All of the ceremonies will be held in-person and also livestreamed on the university registrar's YouTube channel for those unable to be on campus.

An estimated 466 master's and 119 doctoral candidates will be honored during the Graduate College ceremony Thursday, May 11 (7 p.m., Hilton Coliseum). Kevin Schalinske, Morrill Professor in the department of food science and human nutrition and an active member of the graduate faculty since 1999, will address the graduates. He received the university's Margaret Ellen White Award in 2019, which recognizes exemplary mentoring of graduate students.

The College of Veterinary Medicine will honor its 156 Doctor of Veterinary Medicine candidates on Friday, May 12 (1 p.m., Stephens Auditorium). Dr. Ruby Perry, dean of the Tuskegee University (Alabama) College of Veterinary Medicine and professor of radiology, will be the featured speaker. Perry's visit concludes the Iowa State college's centennial celebration of Dr. Frederick Douglass Patterson, who earned DVM and master's degrees from Iowa State and served as Tuskegee's third president (1935-53). Patterson, founder of the United Negro College Fund, also founded Tuskegee's School of Veterinary Medicine, which remains the only veterinary medical program at a Historically Black College or University.

The university will hold three undergraduate commencement ceremonies for an estimated 3,940 bachelor's degree recipients Saturday in Hilton Coliseum, honoring graduates from two colleges at each:

  • 9 a.m., Agriculture and Life Sciences, Business
  • 2 p.m., Design, Engineering
  • 7 p.m., Human Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences

Two of the speakers at the undergraduate ceremonies are receiving honorary degrees from Iowa State.

At the morning ceremony, Temple Grandin, Distinguished Professor of animal sciences at Colorado State University, Fort Collins; animal welfare pioneer and activist for people with autism, will receive a Doctor of Science. Iowa State is honoring Grandin for an outstanding career in humane animal handling, animal welfare and related facilities design, and using her experience living with autism to influence her understanding of animal behavior.

At the evening ceremony, Trudy Huskamp Peterson, a 1967 alumna (English, history, speech communications) and first woman archivist of the United States, will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters for her advocacy in maintaining and preserving archives that involve the human rights of individuals around the world and her commitment to publicly sharing, in documents, as much of the nation's heritage as possible. She authors a monthly newsletter on archives and human rights.

Mechanical engineering alumnus Jahmy Hindman, who serves as chief technology officer at Deere & Co., Moline, Illinois, will address the audience at the afternoon ceremony. Hindman joined the Deere company in 1996 as a test engineer, and has served in other leadership roles, including global manager for architectures, systems and modules; and general manager and engineering manager at Deere's construction equipment factory in Tianjin, China.

More celebrations

The six undergraduate colleges also will honor their graduating students at their own convocations and receptions scheduled for Friday or for Saturday morning.

  • Agriculture and Life Sciences, 9 a.m. Friday, Hilton Coliseum
  • Human Sciences, 1 p.m. Friday, Hilton Coliseum
  • Business, 4 p.m. Friday, Hilton Coliseum
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences, 7 p.m. Friday, Hilton Coliseum
  • Design, 9 a.m. Saturday, Stephens Auditorium
  • Engineering, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. start times Saturday, by department, various locations (software engineering, 5:30 p.m. Friday, Troxel Hall)

Parking for graduation guests

Due to ongoing construction of CYTown, some parking lots located between Hilton Coliseum and Jack Trice Stadium are unavailable graduation weekend. Additional parking is designated for graduation visitors: Lots east and south of Jack Trice Stadium and lots east and north of the Maple Willow Larch residence complex. Graduation guests who park at the residence complex are asked to cross Lincoln Way at the pedestrian walkway, not in the middle of the block. All graduates and guests are encouraged to arrive early to find parking, and carpooling is encouraged.

Handicap parking is available in the lot directly south of Hilton, C2.




Catt Hall review committee prepares a draft for fall comment

The committee considering requests to remove Carrie Chapman Catt's name from Catt Hall will release its draft report for public comment in the fall semester. The draft will include the committee's initial recommendation on whether the building's name should stay or be removed.

The committee will determine the length of the public comment period, which, according to policy procedures, may run as long as 60 days. While anyone can comment on the draft report, university policy specifically requires the committee to seek feedback on the draft from those who submitted Catt Hall naming requests and from stakeholders and university units that will be affected by the committee's decision.

The draft report will be available to the public on a university website with instructions on how to submit comments electronically.

"Our committee is well prepared for the deliberations that remain prior to the fall semester, which include how we assess a renaming decision's impact on the university, a key principle outlined in the university's policy," said Carol Faber, chair of the Standing Committee for the Consideration of Removing Names from University Property and associate professor of graphic design.

After reviewing all feedback from the public comment period, the standing committee will finalize its report. It will take a final vote on a recommendation to keep or remove the Catt Hall name and deliver the final report to the president's office.

ISU's policy requires a two-thirds vote of the committee to recommend removal of a building name.

The standing committee was appointed by President Wendy Wintersteen in 2021 and has since been engaged in meetings, interviews and reviewing hundreds of well-sourced historical materials, most of which were supplied by History Associates, Inc. a Maryland-based firm.


Related stories

Regents propose tuition, fee increases

On the heels of the Legislature's adjournment last week, the state Board of Regents will hold a special meeting Thursday, May 11 (3:30 p.m., board office in Urbandale) to have a first reading of proposed tuition and fee increases for the 2023-24 academic year. A vote on the proposed rates would occur at the board's June 14 meeting.

The proposed rates include a 3.5% increase ($304) for resident undergraduates and 4% tuition increases for nonresident undergraduates and all graduate students. Professional students -- those enrolled in the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program -- would experience tuition increases of 3.8% (nonresidents) to 5% (resident students).

Since state appropriations and tuition are the two key funding pieces for Iowa's public universities, the regents set tuition rates for the coming year once they know what the state's support will be.

The agenda item notes that the regents requested $32 million in additional operating funds for the fiscal year that begins July 1; Iowa State's portion of that request was $12 million. The Legislature voted to not increase the general fund operating appropriation, but did approve special purpose funding totaling $7.1 million (subject to Gov. Kim Reynolds' signature), $2.5 million of which would go to Iowa State to support additional degree and certificate programs in high-demand areas.


Proposed tuition* and mandatory fee increases: 2023-24


Proposed tuition

Proposed tuition

Proposed tuition
and mandatory fees







$304 (3.4%)

$10,497 (3.6%)



$1,006 (4.0%)

$27,683 (4.0%



$1,078 (4.0%)

$29,523 (4.0%)







$424 (4.0%)

$12,451 (3.9%)



$1,072 (4.0%)

$29,303 (4.0%)



$1,142 (4.0%)

$31,141 (4.0%)

Professional (DVM)






$1,322 (5.0%)

$29,261 (5.0%)



$2,150 (3.8%)

$60,987 (3.8%)

*base tuition rates, doesn't reflect supplemental tuition rates


The Ivy College of Business will seek board permission to phase in, over three years, differential tuition rates for its sophomore students to align with rates for junior and senior business students. If approved, implementation would start this fall with a differential tuition increase of $1,010 for resident sophomores, $1,192 for nonresidents.

Mandatory student fees

As proposed, all Iowa State students would pay an additional $60 (4.1%) next year in mandatory fees, bringing total fees to at least $1,515 (students in specific programs pay a higher technology fee, according to the demands of that program). The proposed increase would be applied to these specific fees:

  • Technology, $14 increase for higher software license fees
  • Health, $15 increase to support a fulltime psychologist, rising costs for medical supplies and professional salaries necessary for market competitiveness
  • Student activities, $10 increase to support student government's inflationary costs and the Iowa State Daily student newspaper
  • Student services, $11 increase to CyRide for fuel and labor increases
  • Building fee, $10 increase to the Memorial Union to keep up with inflation

University and program fees

The universities have a second set of fees that students pay only when they use that service. Iowa State is asking for:

  • A $15 increase to the undergraduate application fee (to $55 for all U.S. applicants and $65 for international students).
  • A 3.5-4% increase in the per-credit-hour rate for continuing education courses, to keep pace with general tuition increases.
  • A $95 increase (to $290) to the New Student Programs fee, to continue to offer online and in-person programming choices and increase the hourly wages for student tour guides. This fee hasn't changed since 2008-09.
  • A $120 increase (to $250) to the one-time university records and documents fee for degree-seeking students, to help cover inflationary costs for personnel, commencement ceremonies, and transcript and diploma production, and to implement the new student information system.
  • A $25 increase (to $75) to the university records and documents fee for non-degree-seeking students.

Learning community pilot for term faculty focuses on leading

Assistant provost for faculty development Tera Jordan drew on her experience to develop a pilot for a term faculty learning community this year. For a group that makes up more than one-third of faculty at Iowa State, assuming leadership roles takes a backseat for many term faculty early in their career.

Term faculty learning community participants

Matthew Tancreti, computer science

Alissa Stoehr, women's and gender studies/sociology

Jenny Sturgill, accounting

Zhimin (Sherry) Xie, marketing

Amber Baughman, food science and human nutrition

Kevin Duerfeldt, horticulture

Corinna Most, ecology, evolution and organismal biology

Saul Abarca Orozco, horticulture

Mohamed Selim, electrical and computer engineering

Elnaz Ebrahimi, agronomy

"We know there is a desire to have more community among term faculty, but what would get them to come out is an opportunity to learn about leadership on this campus," said Jordan, who began her career as a term faculty member at Athens Technical College, Georgia. "Right now, they see a whole lot of opportunities not available to them."

The learning community functioned as an extended orientation, especially for term faculty who began their careers on a part-time basis, she said. As a co-director of the Emerging Leaders Academy, Jordan knows educating faculty on how the university works and breaking down silos is key. Term faculty often have significant teaching loads, making it difficult to learn about university-level issues outside of their department or college.

Marketing assistant teaching professor Zhimin (Sherry) Xie -- one of 10 participants in the learning community -- said she appreciated seeing how other term faculty are making their mark on campus. Xie said she feels fortunate to have college leaders who keep faculty informed, but that may not be the case for everyone.

"The learning community really helped me see how many term faculty are having the same experiences. We can be there to help each other," Xie said.


The project began with orientation on Oct. 4. Eight one-hour meetings, about one per month, featured a presentation and discussion. The sessions were:

  • Nov. 10: Agency, leadership and faculty development, Monic Behnken, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences associate dean; and Awoke Dollisso, ag education and studies associate teaching professor
  • Nov. 29: Meeting management, Amanda Knief, lectures program director
  • Dec. 15: Term faculty honors, awards and recognition, Kirsten Abel, faculty honors and awards coordinator
  • Jan. 12: Leadership and the Faculty Senate, Carol Faber, graphic design associate professor and Cullen Padgett-Walsh, philosophy and religious studies teaching professor
  • Jan. 31: Book discussion on leadership and term faculty collegiality, with Adrianna Kezar, co-director of the Pullias Center for Higher Education, University of Southern California
  • April 13: Resource management model and university budgeting, Ellen Reints, chief academic business officer; and Siti Sabtu-Schaper, budget and planning analyst
  • May 8: University general counsel, Heather Smith, associate general counsel; and Payton Clerc, intern
  • May 9: What leaders in academic affairs need to know about working with students, Toyia Younger, senior vice president for student affairs; Term faculty serving in administration, Sarah Bennett-George, apparel, events and hospitality management, associate teaching professor; Marc Kinsley, executive director of the veterinary teaching hospital; Elijah Stines, mathematics teaching professor

Getting involved

Adjunct assistant professor of ecology, evolution and organismal biology Corinna Most splits her time between teaching and research and was intrigued by professional development that didn't focus on instruction.

"Learning about those leadership groups was very important because for some term faculty, those can be spaces they don't feel they belong," said Most, who began attending Faculty Senate meetings regularly this year. "Not only do I know how things work now, but I realize I can participate and benefit Iowa State."

Building a learning community

The idea of a learning community for term faculty dates back to 2021 when Iowa State began a partnership with the Pullias Center for Higher Education at the University of Southern California. The center has national experts in term faculty professional development and helps universities establish programs to support them.

"We were looking at building better leadership pathways at Iowa State for our term faculty," Jordan said. "We surveyed our early-career term faculty and found what really interested them was learning more about organizational structure, university structure and ways to cultivate leadership."

Jordan chaired a committee of members representing all seven colleges to design the learning community. More than 275 term faculty were invited to apply for the pilot.

What's next?

Jordan is reviewing data -- both an analysis of ISU's learning community by Pullias Center staff and a survey with participants -- to determine whether the term faculty learning community could become an annual offering by the provost's office.

Two faculty members elected to National Academy of Sciences

Two faculty members -- Jonathan Wendel and Dan Shechtman -- are among the 143 scholars elected this year to the National Academy of Sciences, a prestigious honor that recognizes contributions to scientific research.

"Iowa State University is extremely proud to have two faculty members elected to the National Academy of Sciences," said president Wendy Wintersteen. "Dr. Wendel and Dr. Shechtman have a long history of extraordinary achievement through their scientific research and scholarship. This recognition enhances the overall excellence of our university and highlights our research efforts."

Jonathan Wendel and genome doubling

Jonathan Wendel head shot


Wendel, a Distinguished Professor in Liberal Arts and Sciences who has been a member of the botany and then ecology, evolution and organismal biology departments since 1986, is an evolutionary biologist who has helped shed light on the process and importance of genome doubling in plants. His election to the National Academy of Sciences is his second significant major honor announced this spring, as he also was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences last month.

The back-to-back accolades have been a stunning surprise for Wendel, who emphasized that recognition of his research also reflects the collective efforts of colleagues, collaborators and students during what he considers the "golden age" of biology.

"Science is a humming beehive of activity where we're all working collaboratively without even necessarily knowing what the other bees are doing. In unpredictable ways, we advance the field. It's such a privilege and pleasure to be part of the process, and I'm grateful to have such a long career filled with so many opportunities to do my bit for the beehive," he said.

Wendel's research on genome doubling -- known as polyploidy -- has included being part of the international consortium that mapped the cotton genome a decade ago. Scientists have long been aware that some organisms and most plants have more than two sets of genomes in their chromosomes, but new research continues to show how essential polyploidy is to genetic changes in plants over the vast sweep of evolutionary time.

"That's my guiding light now, figuring out the dimensions of the wondrous cycles of polyploidy," Wendel said when his election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences was announced last month.

Dan Shechtman and quasicrystals

Dan Shectman head shot


Israel-based Shechtman, an Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in Engineering who's also affiliated with the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames National Laboratory, accepted the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his discovery of quasicrystals, a material that science said couldn't exist.

In fact, there was push back against his 1982 discovery of crystalline materials whose atoms didn't line up periodically like every crystal known at the time. But Shechtman did follow-up experiments to confirm his findings, published his work and stood up for it.

"For a long time, it was me against the world," he said at the time of the Nobel announcement. "I was a subject of ridicule and lectures about the basics of crystallography."

But he prevailed. And in his notes for a lecture at Iowa State, he noted how common quasicrystals are today: "QCs (quasicrystals) are quite abundant – hundreds of quasi-periodic crystals have been discovered by now. They are easy to make -- practically all the techniques for metallic alloy making can produce QCs, and they are made of simple frequently used elements -- aluminum, iron, chromium and manganese, to name a few."

Shechtman also is a Distinguished Emeritus Professor at the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, the home base for most of his career. He joined Iowa State's materials science and engineering department and the Ames National Laboratory in 2004.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit institution established by Congress in 1863. It recognizes outstanding achievement in scientific research, and members are elected by their peers. The academy works with the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine to provide science, technology and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations. Including Wendel and Shechtman, 14 Iowa State faculty members have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences.


Council learns more about first rollout of Workday Student

WorkCyte Phase II co-lead Steve Mickelson spoke to the Professional and Scientific (P&S) Council about upcoming rollouts for Workday Student and Receivables during the May 4 meeting.

Mickelson directed council members to the May 4 memo from President Wendy Wintersteen and university leaders on the progress and implementation of the project. The first of six rollout periods is from June to September, impacting primarily financial aid and admissions. A small number of staff will begin using the new software on June 5, and ISU will start accepting applications from prospective students in the Workday Student software on June 15. The other five rollout periods begin this October and continue through November 2024.

The first rollout adds the ability to view experimental courses in the catalog, evaluate graduate program applicants and calculate financial aid in Workday. Faculty and staff training will be delivered primarily through online self-paced modules and knowledge base articles that provide step-by-step instructions. A few trainings will be instructor-led in person or virtually, Mickelson said.

"The timing for training still is being worked out because we found out from the first phase that if you train people too early it is not as effective," he said. "We will email and reach out to the people when they need to begin training."

For more information, Mickelson directed employees to the WorkCyte website, FAQ and WorkCyte Digest.

New business

Council members will vote at the June meeting on revisions to its bylaws to make better use of councilors' time and align standing committees with the needs of P&S employees. Key revisions include:

  • Adding a communication liaison to each committee to work with the secretary/ treasurer to ensure accurate minutes are kept and help the vice president for communications and community relations disseminate information to the proper channels.
  • Ensuring the vice president for compensation and benefits chairs the compensation and benefits committee and will select a vice chair for continuity.
  • Combining the policies and procedures and peer advocacy committees to become the peer advocacy and policy committee to address overlap.
  • Renaming the representation committee the governance committee to deal with election activities and changes to the rules and bylaws.

Councilors raised concerns about defining the role and responsibilities of a vice chair.

State funding

Senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert summarized funding approved by the Iowa Legislature hours after its session ended. Iowa State will receive $18 million toward the $66.5 million second phase of the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) at the College of Veterinary Medicine campus. This will come from Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure funds.

"The governor has already committed $40 million from her federal stimulus money, the Legislature has appropriated another $18 million and we believe there is a very good path forward to complete the funding plan for that building," Wickert said.

Iowa State will receive an additional $2.8 million in education appropriations to expand the number of degree and certificate programs in high-demand areas such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, computer science, computer engineering, data science, software engineering and others related to innovation in the areas of digital agriculture, manufacturing, water quality, vaccine delivery technologies and the biosciences. 

Provisions in the education appropriations bill prevent the regent universities from increasing spending on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs, training and hiring while the state Board of Regents reviews DEI programing and efforts at the three public universities.

"This is a process, and people should continue their good work," Wickert said. "Our culture on campus today is exactly the same as it was before."

Successful conference

The professional development conference drew 281 P&S employees in February. Among the 138 participants who completed a post-conference survey, 98.5% were satisfied or very satisfied overall. The 2024 conference will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 21.

Radiation safety team supports first responders

Scott Wendt with radiation meters

Radiation Safety Officer Scott Wendt shows a pair of radiation meters available at the Radiation Calibration Facility inside the Environmental Health And Safety Services Building. Photos by Christopher Gannon.

The university's radiation safety staff is helping first responders and health care providers around the state prepare for radiological emergencies. The team, which is part of the environmental health and safety unit, received a $75,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to purchase new equipment and train firefighters and other emergency personnel.

"A radiation incident is a low probability but high consequence event," said Scott Wendt, the university's radiation safety officer. "Even though it's not very likely, we still need people to be prepared so they can respond appropriately and help people stay calm."

Training lifesavers

In addition to the FEMA grant, the radiation safety staff are working with Iowa's health care coalitions to develop radiation emergency plans. From February through June, they will have conducted training with most of the coalitions in the state, which bring together small and large health care providers to share ideas and resources. Training for firefighters and first responders also is ongoing -- Wendt said they have provided radiation training for more than a dozen Iowa first response teams.

Radiation safety staff use a combination of experiential and tabletop exercises during training. They start with radiation basics -- like how to minimize risks and the different types of radiation like alpha, beta and gamma -- before moving onto hands-on activities with the equipment.

"One of the big advantages we have as a university that is licensed to use radioactive materials is that we have radiation sources we can take to the training," Wendt said. "Part of the training is showing them how to use the instrument and then having them try to find the source that we've hidden, so they get to practice."

Hypothetical situations -- such as a terrorist threatening to use an explosive laced with radioactive materials -- are posed during the tabletop exercises. Wendt said unlikely scenarios like this are used so team members can discuss how they would prepare for potential contamination and its effect on the local population.

Scott Wendt with new and old radiation meters

Wendt shows a new digital self-reading dosimeter (top) alongside its analog predecessor.

Though large-scale radiation incidents are rare, the training also prepares first responders and health care staff for more probable situations such as a vehicle delivering radiation treatments to a hospital getting in a traffic accident.

"We'll show firefighters what packaging and labeling of the radiation look like," Wendt said. "We'll say, 'If it's this kind of accident, your turnout gear will protect you from contamination so don't panic, get out your meter and figure out if any of it has spilled.'"

Bigger impact 

Radiation meters must be calibrated annually, and the ISU radiation safety team has been providing this service for years to researchers and staff using radiation for their work on campus. In 2021, Wendt approached the state's radiation calibration facility with a proposal to combine their efforts after the closure of Iowa's nuclear plant in 2020 led to funding challenges for clients relying on the state's radiation safety services.

The state agencies agreed and relocated their radiation calibration facility to Iowa State, opening up new avenues for Wendt's team to serve first responders and health care coalitions. Wendt said ensuring safety for those working with radiation equipment has become even more fulfilling since acquiring the state-level facility and engaging with new partners across the state.

"One of our goals is to work on a way to be part of the collaboration between health care coalitions and fire departments moving forward," he said. "If they're in the room at the same time and they're talking to each other, that relationship is going to be good for everybody."

Learn more

The news service team covered the radiation calibration faclity in 2021. Watch the video below or visit its website.