AMES, Iowa -- Barbara Riedesel Iverson, president of Weber Shandwick's financial services industry practice and 1976 Iowa State University journalism graduate, has been chosen as this year's recipient of the James W. Schwartz Award for Distinguished Service to Journalism and Communication. Iverson will be presented the award on Friday, Oct. 26, in Hamilton Hall as part of ISU's homecoming activities.
Iverson works with Weber Shandwick offices around the world to serve clients ranging from MasterCard Worldwide, ADP, Ernst & Young, TIAA-CREF, U.S. Bank and Federated Investors to LIFE, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, MassMutual, Cerberus and numerous federal government agencies.
For the past 10 years, she has led a major Weber Shandwick initiative to secure and serve key federal government accounts including the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Reserve Bank, the U.S. Treasury's Financial Management Service and Bureau of the Public Debt, the 2010 U.S. Census campaign and FDIC.
Iverson is viewed as an industry leader on financial education.
"I'm honored to be recognized with the Schwartz Award," Iverson said upon learning that she'd been selected for the honor. "Jim Schwartz chaired the journalism department during my years at Iowa State, and I had deep respect for him."
Schwartz, longtime journalism chair, passed away on July 12, 2011. The award bearing his name is Iowa State's highest recognition of achievement in journalism and mass communication.
"I remember how Jim stopped me in the hallway just before I graduated," Iverson said. "He had heard I landed my first job out of college as a weekly newspaper editor in a small town in eastern Iowa. He reinforced my decision to begin my career in newspaper journalism. He, too, had been a newspaper editor earlier in his career, and he understood the value of community journalism and the amazing training ground it provided ISU journalism graduates. He was right.
"It launched an extraordinarily rewarding career for me."
Michael Bugeja, professor and director of the Greenlee School, noted Iverson's leadership on the Greenlee School's Advisory Council. "She knows so much about journalism, public relations, social media, finance and corporate culture, including entrepreneurship," he said. "She has been an incredibly valuable counselor who helps guide our program.
"The faculty also appreciated the opportunities she has created for Iowa State alumni and students," Bugeja added. "Barbara exemplifies the qualities that the faculty and staff so admire in our Schwartz Award honorees" including zeal for the profession and love of lifelong learning."
Iverson, who grew up in Glidden, Iowa, and still maintains connections there, joins the ranks of former distinguished alumni who have received the Schwartz Award. They include Hugh Sidey, former White House bureau chief for Time Magazine; Terry Anderson, former Middle East bureau chief for the Associated Press; Ann Cooper, National Public Radio; Roy Reiman, founder of Reiman Publications; Jack Shelley, World War II combat reporter and newsman for WHO radio and television; Robert Bartley, Pulitzer Prize-winning editor of The Wall Street Journal; and Christine Romans, CNN anchor.