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Each of the individuals highlighted below has received one of our prestigious alumni awards. We are inspired by their outstanding professional accomplishments as an emerging alumni, or through service to the University, community or country.

If you know someone who is especially deserving of recognition, please nominate them for one of our Homecoming Alumni Awards. Recipients are honored each year during the Alumni Awards & Honor Class Brunch.

The 2021 award nomination deadline has passed. All nominations submitted now will be considered for the 2022 program. Questions? Please contact the Alumni Office at [email protected] or 563-425-5388.

2020 Service to University Award


Jeff Stavnes

Class of 1976

Stavnes is credited for maintaining a close relationship with UIU since earning bachelor’s degrees in sociology and business management. As a UIU Alumni Association board member, Stavnes not only regularly attends alumni events but plays an essential role in organizing them. He is highly engaged in projects that relate to alumni engagement and boosting enrollment at the University; he recently planned and hosted an alumni social in Storm Lake, Iowa, and was among those who spearheaded the Acacia Fraternity 45th Reunion at Fayette Campus during Homecoming 2019.

Earlier this year, the Postville, Iowa, native reached out to the UIU Admissions Office and inquired about volunteer opportunities that may be available to him and his fellow Alumni Association board members. A one-time employee of the UIU admissions office, he and other board members assisted in recruiting future UIU students at several college fairs. Stavnes volunteered to work at a Storm Lake High School College Fair in March 2020. He is also a regular visitor to UIU’s Iowa State Fair booth. Jeff and his wife, Janis, reside between Storm Lake and Greeley, Colorado.

2020 Professional Accomplishment Award


Rick McGeough

Class of 1968

Rick McGeough is recognized for a distinguished career and exemplary service in the stewardship of Iowa’s natural resources. Graduating from UIU with a biology degree, McGeough served one-tour of duty in the U.S. Army before being employed as an environmental biologist at Corning Labs in Cedar Falls, Iowa, and as the first-ever natural resources coordinator for the Black Hawk County (Iowa) Conservation Board.

In 1973, McGeough accepted a position as an Iowa Conservation Officer with the Iowa Conservation Commission. He was assigned to Warren and Marion Counties. Seven years later, McGeough was promoted to chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Bureau. McGeough served in this position for 18 years until his retirement at the age of 55. Under his leadership the bureau was expanded to include oversight of the state’s boating, snowmobiling, ATV programs and related safety programs.

McGeough also participated on the bureau’s pistol team. In addition to winning a national championship, he was recognized by the President of the United States seven times as one of the best 100 police marksmen in the nation, received the NRA’s Distinguished Badge for revolver, and was a member of a four-time national championship four-officer team.

Rick and his wife, Beth, own and operate Edge of the Woods Raspberry Farm near Indianola, Iowa.

2020 Service to Community Award


Larry Kaberle

Class of 1965

Larry Kaberle taught for 13 years after graduating from UIU with an elementary education degree. During part of his career, he served as an assistant teacher and mentor to young adults at Four Oaks in Independence, Iowa. Kaberle served as a United States Postal Service carrier for 23 years before retiring in 2005. He also served as the city clerk in Rowley, Iowa, where he now lives, for 13 years.

A third generation UIU student, Kaberle was active in Science and Environmental Club, National Honor Scholastic Recognition Society and Philosophy Club while attending UIU. The honored alumnus continues to attend the University’s Kissing Under the Arch, International Cultural Night, President’s Christmas Open House and Ugly Sweater Party, President’s Fundraising Ball, and other Homecoming activities.

Kaberle regularly attends and supports many organizations, including the Independence swimming pool and recreation center, North Linn School District alumni meetings, Rivers Edge Sports Complex, and Bender Pool in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. An active member of the United Methodist Church for over 50 years, he has or continues to serve as a member of the church board, choir, bell choir, band, Sunday Community Lunch Bunch, Bible study and Sunday school programs. The Strawberry Point, Iowa, native has performed in choir concerts and directed bell choirs at care centers, assisted seniors with transportation and yard/housework, and served as a mentor to bereaving parents.

A current Buchanan County Historical Society member, Kaberle is a former Lions Club member, and Cub Scout and 4-H leader. Joining Larry in the majority of his volunteer activities is his wife of 51 years, Janice.

2020 Service to Country Award


John Welch

Class of 2017, 2020

John Welch served in the U.S. military for 20 years, including 14 years as a member of special operations and 13 deployments overseas. A recipient of the Bronze Star with the Combat “V” device on three occasions, Welch continued to serve the nation as a member of the State Department’s High Threat Protection Detail for U.S. ambassadors in Iraq and Afghanistan, a position for which he was deployed five times.

After completing several rotations of service with the State Department, Welch attended the Louisiana Police Academy where he was named the president of his class. He enrolled at UIU during this time and soon after became a Louisiana Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST)-certified law enforcement officer.

Welch served three years on several task forces for the City of Alexandria before accepting the role as the Tulane Healthcare System director of security and emergency management in New Orleans. A graduate of UIU’s Master of Public Administration degree program in emergency management and homeland security, Welch is dealing with the ongoing COVID-19 health and emergency-related issues on a daily basis in the Louisiana city. A Destin, Florida, native, John is currently engaged to Aradhana Saini of Peru, Illinois.

2020 Emerging Alumni Award


Matthew Beatty

Class of 2015

Matthew Beatty strives to cultivate opportunities for growth and establish a stronger future for all within his school district, community and beyond.

An English Language Learner (ELL) teacher at South Tama Elementary in Tama, Iowa, Beatty played an integral role in launching South Tama’s ELL graduation recognition night and arranged monthly Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (PBIS) awards for students. During his five-year teaching career, he has been part of South Tama’s summer school program and is involved with its after-school tutoring program.

Beatty helped lead the school district’s Professional Learning Community (PLC) team efforts to conduct more formative assessments. As a Professional Educators of Iowa member, he is an advocate for its increased membership and visibility. He also coaches middle school football and track at the school district.

Beatty was the recipient of the KIX 101 radio station Back Pack Award after being nominated for using his own money to purchase classroom supplies. In addition to volunteering at the South Tama Booster Club Carnival and other school fundraisers, he plans various social activities for staff, including teacher potlucks and craft/game nights.

Outside of school, Beatty is a Tama City Council member and volunteers with the Meskwaki Friends Church Kids Club. The Dyersville, Iowa, native grew up in the Edgewood and Colesburg, Iowa, area.

While some of this year’s activities have been canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the University is excited to offer opportunities for alumni and the entire UIU community to safely enjoy several new interactive Homecoming offerings through October 1.

UIU’s Peacock Strong Homecoming event schedule, Facebook Live link and other information can be found at Be sure to join the UIU Homecoming 2020 Facebook event page to follow the excitement and enter to win daily prize giveaways, sponsored by the UIU Alumni Association.

Wall of Fame

We honor past recipients of our prestigious alumni awards.

Service to Community Award

NameAwarded YearGraduate Year
Larry Kaberle20201965
Jason Zilk20191994
Cheryl (Dale) Hand20181971
Daniel Bencivenga20172013
Freddie Northern20161976
Lowell Tiedt20151971
Edie Sieg-Reed20142008
Mike Aschinger20132011
Leota (Morgan) Didier20121943
Brad Mattear20101995
Fred Tully20091963
Lon Butikofer20081983
Jacquelyn (Bowers) McTaggart20071964
Wacinque Amistad Kaizen BeMende20061996
Pamela Whitmore20051965
Scott Lebin20041964
Warren Mitchell20031942, 1976
Richard Smith20021952


Professional Accomplishment Award

NameAwarded YearGraduate Year
Rick McGeough20201968
Bill DeLauro20191978
Kathleen (Kerrigan) Horstmeyer20181966
Marcia Anderson20171972
Veryl Sell20161960
Urmilah Dass20152003
William Daniels20141962
Teri (Vanderheiden) Salmons20121976
Jamie Bunn20121992
Michael Prochaska20101989
Harry Maue20091976
Mark Ebetino20081998
Victor Miller20071969
David Vaudt20061976
Michael Daniels20051978
Derek Mosley20041992
Bill Ites20031988
Kris Hansen20021992


Service to Country Award

NameAwarded YearGraduate Year
John Welch20202017
Tito Reed20192013
Bob King20181987
Michael Knight20172001
Wacinque Amistad Kaizen BeMende20161996
J.R. Richardson20151981
Robert Betz20141989
Lawson Coapstick20131983
Benjamin Cooper20121998
Angie (Kimball) Joseph20121982


Service to University Award

NameAwarded YearGraduate Year
Jeffrey Stavnes20201976
Pamela Whitmore20191965
LaVerne McCoy20181998
Jann (Schellhammer) Henkes20171978
Becky (Anderegg) Wadian20161972
Sabrina Schmitt20162000
Shankar Thiruchelvam20152003
Raleigh Amyx20131974
Roger Bowen20121955
Foster Cass20111941
Lewis Churbuck20101967
Betty (Follett) Andres20091946
Bob Firth20081989
Jim Day20071967
Bill Prochaska20061963
Bruce Campbell20041969
Cabby Caballero20031956


Emerging Alumni Award

NameAwarded YearGraduate Year
Matthew Beatty20202015
James Ebert20192011
La'Mont Williams20172010
Jeremy Johnson20162008
Dano Grayson20152010
Dave Wenger20142006
Natalie Brown20132005
Narthreza Abdullah20122004
Scott Michels20092003
Ryan Kramer20082001
Matthew Snitkey20072001
Neil Wilkinson20061999
Matthew Cowley20052000
Amy (Peterson) Hayek20042002
* Previously known as Young Alumni Award.


Founder's Day Award

NameAwarded YearGraduate Year
Cabby Caballero19951956
Dick Clark19941953
Louise P. Herring1994
Mary (Moore) Kimball19931956
Lawrence Pande1993
Church Williams1992
Stan Lee19921946
Consuela Washington19911970
Grace Meyer 1991
Bill Andres19901948
Eugene Garbee1990
Bill Hiller19891950
David Bolger1989