Adventurers for life

Group photo of alumni Gary Griswold, DeRionne Pollard and Jonath

An attorney who has spent his career transforming intellectual property law. A college president who’s shaping future generations. A chemist who holds 26 world-impacting patents. While the careers vary greatly for these 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award winners, one thing’s the same -- they all say they wouldn’t be where they are today without Iowa State.

Take, for instance, Gary Griswold (chemical engineering, ‘67). Griswold, a renowned patent attorney who was inducted into the Intellectual Property Hall of Fame, credits Iowa State for setting him on his course. Said Griswold, “How I got launched into my career all comes back to Iowa State. (Iowa State provides) great values, a great education, and an ability to figure out your direction.”

Fellow Distinguished Alumni Award winner DeRionne P. Pollard (English, ‘93; MS ‘95) also remembers her time at Iowa State as one that would prepare her for her future. As the president of Montgomery College in Maryland, Pollard knows the importance of encouraging and challenging students to become their best. Just like Iowa State did with her. “What I know for sure is that Iowa State University co-authored me,” Pollard said. “Iowa State changed the trajectory of my life.”

Another recipient even goes as far as to say that without Iowa State, he “wouldn’t exist.” No, it’s not entirely an exaggeration -- because Jonathan Rich’s parents met at Iowa State. In his career, Rich (chemistry, ‘77) has invented technological breakthroughs and led a successful Fortune 500 global packaging company. “I’ve been very fortunate in my business career and in life,” Rich said, “and I owe much of that to Iowa State.”

As lucky as they feel to have gotten an education from a premier land-grant institution, Iowa State is even luckier to call them alumni. The way these Iowa State graduates have impacted their communities and the world throughout their successful careers surely distinguishes them as adventurers for life.

Learn about other Cyclones and their adventures and nominate a Cyclone whose adventure story needs to be shared.
Watch the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Awards Celebration.