Iowa State University commencement set for Dec. 14-15

AMES, Iowa -- An estimated 1,688 students will receive degrees from Iowa State University during winter commencement events Dec. 14-15.

The undergraduate ceremony will begin at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, in Hilton Coliseum where an estimated 1,325 students will receive bachelor's degrees. Gov. Chet Culver will deliver the address, and entrepreneurship champion John Pappajohn will receive an honorary degree.

Culver was inaugurated as governor of Iowa in January. Previously, he was Iowa Secretary of State (1999-2006), and a government and history teacher and football and basketball coach at Des Moines Roosevelt High School (1994-1998). He began his career as an environmental and consumer advocate in the state Attorney General's Office.

Des Moines businessman Pappajohn will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in recognition of his leadership in entrepreneurship and his generosity in supporting entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial education programs in Iowa. He also will speak briefly.

Pappajohn founded Guardsman Life Insurance Co. in 1962 and sold his interest in the company in 1969. He is president of Equity Dynamics Inc., a venture capital company; and owns Pappajohn Capital Resources, a capital firm that develops high-tech ventures in health care.

Pappajohn and his wife Mary's gift of $10 million in 1996 started the Pappajohn Centers for Entrepreneurship at Iowa State, the University of Iowa, the University of Northern Iowa, Drake University and North Iowa Area Community College, Mason City. These programs have helped start 2,100 new companies employing 4,400 people. Pappajohn's personal involvement with ISU's programs contributed to the university being recognized for having one of the country's top university entrepreneurship programs.

The graduate commencement is set for 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14, in Stephens Auditorium, honoring 256 master's students and 107 doctoral students. Karl Gschneidner, Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in Engineering (materials science and engineering) and senior scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory, will give the address.

For more than 50 years, Gschneidner has conducted research on the magnetic and electrical properties of rare-earth metals. His most noted work has been in magnetic refrigeration. Gschneidner was elected to the National Academy of Engineering last February, and in March he will receive the 2008 Acta Materialia Gold Medal, one of the top international awards in materials science.

Tickets are not required for either graduation ceremony.