ISU Alumni Association Awards
The Distinguished Alumni Award, established in 1961, is the highest honor given to alumni by Iowa State University through the ISU Alumni Association. This award honors ISU alumni who are nationally and/or internationally recognized for preeminent contributions to their professions or life's work. Up to five awards are granted annually.
The Alumni Medal, established in 1948, recognizes ISU alumni for long, loyal service to the university through alumni-related activities. Up to three medals are granted annually.
The James Hopson Alumni Volunteer Award, established in 1999, recognizes ISU alumni, age 40 and under, who demonstrate early volunteer leadership in the ISU Alumni Association or alumni-related activities and who are members of the ISU Alumni Association.
The Alumni Merit Award, established in 1932, recognizes ISU alumni for outstanding contributions to human welfare that transcend purely professional accomplishments and bring honor to the university. Up to three awards are granted annually.
The STATEment Makers award honors alumni under the age of 32 who have made personal, service, entrepreneurial, business or scholastic statements that reflect the spirit of an Iowa State education.
2011 Alumni Medal
Choy Chun Leow
BA 1985 / MArch 1988 Architecture
Apple Valley, Minn.
Choy Leow is a true university champion whose impact has been felt globally. He first came to ISU from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to study architecture and quickly found not only a professional calling, but a personal passion for the people of Iowa State University. As he has carved out a successful design career in the Twin Cities, he has never forgotten his Malaysian roots—nor his Iowa State ones.
Leow was president of ISU's Association of Malaysian Students, through which he founded the Guanghua Lion Dance troupe that he continues to mentor today as the organization's honorary co-adviser. As an alumnus he has also helped foster the ISU Alumni Association’s international outreach efforts in Malaysia, which are arguably the most successful on the globe. In fact, during the Ames flood of 2010 Leow worked with ISU alumni in Malaysia to provide a $1,000 gift for the flood relief effort back "home."
Leow spent eight years as a member of the alumni association's board of directors, including a stint as president in 2004-2005. He was a key member of the board’s building planning committee that paved the way for construction of the ISU Alumni Center.
Leow has also been extremely active as a College of Design alumnus; he established an architecture scholarship, has served on the Architecture Advisory Council, and mentors ISU Malaysian graduates and architecture interns in the Twin Cities area.
Currently the director of design and construction for Allina Hospitals & Clinics in Minneapolis, Leow is a member of the Minnesota AIA and Minnesota Architectural Foundation's board of directors. He received the Minnesota AIA's presidential citation in 1997 for his work on the AIA intern development program. He also serves as president-elect of the Hunter Woods Association and as a member of the Apple Valley High School Site Council.
Leow is an ISU Alumni Association life member and a member of both the ISU President's Circle and ISU President's Leadership Council. He and his wife, Connie S.K. Cher, have two daughters—Szumei and Szuyin, an ISU mechanical engineering student.
2011 Alumni Merit Award
Scott E. Olson
BArch 1969 Architecture
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Scott Olson is an outstanding example of the power of community service.
Olson has been a real estate broker/architect with Skogman Commercial Group since 1993, and prior to that (1979) he was the co-founder/principal of OPN Architects, Inc. In 1973, he helped establish the nonprofit child welfare agency Four Oaks, Iowa's largest children's agency, which today helps more than 14,000 children and families throughout the state. In 1995, he helped establish the Ecumenical Community Center (ECC) to provide humanitarian service to the core neighborhoods of Cedar Rapids. And in 2008, after Cedar Rapids was devastated by severe flooding, Olson donated space and real estate/architectural services to help those affected.
On campus at ISU, Olson has given back to the ISU Alumni Association, where he is a past board of directors president; to the ISU Foundation, where he is a governor and was a member of the Campaign Iowa State: With Pride and Purpose national committee; and to the College of Design, where he has served on the Architecture Advisory Council, dean's Advancement Council, and as a member of the college’s campaign committee. In 2005, Olson created a leadership and community service scholarship to recognize architecture students for activities outside the college.
Besides continuing service to Four Oaks and ECC, Olson is active with such organizations as Rotary, Methwick Retirement Community, International Facility Managers Association, the Cedar Rapids Chamber of Commerce, Discovery Living, Westminster Presbyterian Church, and many, many others. Among the awards he has received are the Cedar Rapids Jaycees' 1977 Distinguished Service Award, the ISU Alumni Association's 1978 Outstanding Young Alumnus Award and 1996 Service Key Award, the Iowa Association of Realtors' 2003 Good Neighbor Award, the ECCF/Green Square/Witwer Senior Center 2009 Pillar of Community Achievement Award, and ISU’s 2010 Beardshear Medallion. This list of honors is only a small sample of Olson’s many professional and community service awards.
Olson is an ISU Alumni Association sustaining life member, as well as a member of the Cyclone Club and Order of the Knoll. He and his wife, Penny Olson, have two children: Scott E. Olson II and Jill Olson.
2011 Distinguished Alumni Award
William D. Chilton, FAIA
BA 1976 Architecture
Jon Pickard, FAIA
BA 1976 Architecture
Jon Pickard and William Chilton have led the design of some of the world's most widely known buildings, creating iconic structures that have defined institutions, corporations, communities, cities and countries.
As co-founders and principals of Pickard Chilton, the two Iowa State alumni and classmates believe that architecture can affirm a society's best aspirations and a client's cherished goals. They strive to create projects that offer their clients, and the public, measurable advantages—whether that means a building that stands out in the skyline and attracts the best tenants, or one that embodies the beauty of using resources lightly. The architects at Pickard Chilton give the art, function and impact of a building their closest attention, believing that excellence in each facet of building design supports an inspired whole.
Pickard and Chilton have been recognized internationally for their achievements in architecture. The two have designed, collaborated in the design of, and directed some of the world's most recognized buildings, including such prominent projects as the Devon Energy World Headquarters in Oklahoma City; Eaton World Headquarters in Cleveland; 1180 Peachtree in Atlanta; Wells Fargo Financial Headquarters in Des Moines; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Headquarters near Washington, D.C.; Four Seasons Place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and the CalPERS Headquarters Complex in Sacramento. Their leadership in sustainable design has resulted in buildings representing over 22 million square feet of LEED Gold or its equivalent currently in design, under construction or completed since 2006, one of the highest volumes in the U.S. In recognition of their significant contributions to the profession, Pickard and Chilton were elected to the American Institute of Architects College of Fellows.
Before co-founding Pickard Chilton, Chilton was Ellerbe Becket's President of Architecture and led such notable buildings as the Science Museum of Minnesota and Kingdom Centre in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which, when completed, was the tallest mixed-use complex in Europe and the Middle East. He earned a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Minnesota and served as a professor in practice at that institution's College of Design last spring.
Prior to co-founding Pickard Chilton, Pickard collaborated with Cesar Pelli in the design of numerous landmark and award-winning projects, including two of the largest commercial developments ever built: the World Financial Center in New York and Kuala Lumpur City Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia which includes two of the world’s tallest buildings—the Petronas Towers. Pickard earned a Master of Architecture degree from the Yale School of Architecture and continues to serve as a visiting critic at that institution.
Pickard and Chilton individually received the Christian Petersen Design Award as well as the Design Achievement Award from the Iowa State College of Design. Chilton resides in Guilford, Conn., and is a member of the Order of the Knoll President's Circle and a lifetime member of the ISU Alumni Association. Pickard and his wife, Cassy, also reside in Guilford and are members of the Order of the Knoll President's Circle and lifetime members of the ISU Alumni Association.
2010 Impact Award
Iowa State University gained substantial visibility in October 2009 with its presence on Washington, D.C.'s National Mall: The university's team was one of only 20 in the world to participate in the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon, an event showcasing sustainable residential innovation on college and university campuses. Those who were involved in the extensive project agree: Iowa State's celebrated Interlock House would not have been possible without the tremendous leadership of Ulrike Passe.
An ISU assistant professor of architecture, Passe served as the team’s principal investigator for more than two years. She brought faculty and students from four different colleges together to create the 800-square-foot solar-powered residence, which created substantially more energy than it consumed and earned 12th overall place in the competition—including third in market viability, fourth in communication, fifth in engineering, and sixth in net metering. Passe was a passionate advocate and spokesperson throughout the project and was instrumental in securing more than $220,000 of in-kind donations.
Following the competition, ISU's solar decathlon team, including Passe, was honored with the 2010 Iowa State Live Green! Excellence in Sustainability Award for its efforts in the areas of awareness and innovation.
Passe, one of the 1998 Bund Deutscher Architekten Berlin Young Architects of the Year who earned her architecture degree from Technical University Berlin in Berlin, Germany, also received the 2009 ISU College of Design Faculty Award for Extraordinary Performance.
2010 James Hopson Alumni Volunteer Award
Tanya Davidson Skelton
BFA 1998 Graphic Design
Tanya Skelton is one half of an incredible leadership team that has worked tirelessly to make the ISU Alumni Association Club of Chicago as vibrant and active as it has ever been. Through her work as club co-president with Katherine Hallenbeck (BS 2002 MIS and Finance), Skelton has brought dedicated leadership and passionate enthusiasm to Chicagoland in the name of Iowa State University.
Skelton coordinates Chicago's annual "Game Before the Game," which pits alumni of the University of Iowa against Iowa Staters in flag football just days before the college football rivals' annual showdown. She coordinates the club's website and marketing materials. Other events on which she has placed her Cardinal and Gold touch include monthly happy hours; gamewatches; outings for miniature golf, bowling and broomball; and events surrounding last year's Iowa State vs. Duke men's basketball game at Chicago's United Center.
But perhaps Skelton's most valuable skill as club president, her nominators say, is her warm and inviting nature and enthusiasm for connecting Cyclones with one another. In fact, it's how she met her husband, Ben (2002 Mechanical Engineering).
In addition to her work with the ISUAA Club of Chicago, Skelton is the co-leader of MetroCeliacs, a group she co-founded to offer support to Chicagoans with gluten-free dietary restrictions. Skelton is employed by RBC Wealth Management in Chicago and is a lifetime member of the ISU Alumni Association.
2010 STATEment Maker
BArch 2001 Architecture / MBA 2009 Business Administration
Dallas Center, Iowa
Entrepreneur Matt Ostanik is the founder and president of Submittal Exchange, a company that offers comprehensive online systems for the exchange, review and archiving of construction submittals, RFIs and other construction communications. While an MBA student at ISU, Ostanik submitted the business plan for Submittal Exchange to the Pappajohn Center's statewide business plan competition in 2004 and won $5,000 to get his business off the ground. Three years later, he won an 80-entry statewide business plan competition and $25,000 more after demonstrating his plan's success. Today, Submittal Exchange does business in 48 states with more than 15,000 construction professionals, and the "green" company is steadily growing.