An adventure from student to CEO

ISU alum Ric Jurgens.

By the time Ric Jurgens ended his career, he was chairman of the board and CEO of one of the biggest grocery store chains in the Midwest -- Hy-Vee. But where did his passion for food marketing begin? Right here at Iowa State. Said Jurgens, "Basically, the important things I'm passionate about started while I was a student." And now that he's a recipient of Iowa State's highest honor, the Distinguished Alumni Award, Jurgens has come full circle.

Jurgens says his classes at Iowa State helped him prepare for his future. Said Jurgens, "Little did I know that I would become CEO of Hy-Vee someday and need to know virtually everything I'd been taught." And he's put all he learned to good use -- serving as the chairman of the Food Marketing Institute for two years, along with being on the Partnership for a Healthier America board and more.

Not only did Jurgens start working at Hy-Vee while he was a student at Iowa State, but he also met his wife, Carol, here. So to say Jurgens looks back at his time at Iowa State fondly is putting it lightly. "Virtually every important happening in my charmed life began at Iowa State. Meeting Carol led to our wonderful family, and starting to work for Hy-Vee gave me a life's work and a more exciting life than I could have dreamt of."

Ric Jurgens found his passion during his Iowa State adventure. And with more than 100 majors to choose from, we have no doubt you will, too. After all, helping students discover who they're meant to be is just what we do at Iowa State -- and we've been told we do a good job of it. Said Jurgens, "Really, it should have been me giving Iowa State an award."

Thank you, Ric. We're blushing.

This story is one of a series featuring Iowa State Distinguished Alumni Award winners.